Recycling is just the beginning

Recycling is a good start for any person wanting to reduce their impact on the planet but it’s only part of the story. As well as recycling, we also need to buy products made from recycled materials so there is a market for our recycling. Once you start looking around, you will find that recycled products are becoming more widely available. I’ve bought a fleece jumper made from recycled plastic bottles in M&S.

Everyday starter items for your home

Here are some everyday household items which you could replace with recycled products next time you go shopping:

  • Toilet paper – think about what you use this for! Is it really worth cutting down more trees?  I'm not suggesting you go back to the tracing paper loo roll of my school days but do you need it to be coloured, patterned, scented or whatever other ridiculous gimmicks these companies come up with to get you to spend more? These little extras all mean more energy and resources are used in the production process.
  • Kitchen roll – see above
  • Foil
  • Bin bags – you can buy ones made of recycled material and also biodegradable ones but if your waste goes to an incinerator there is no point buying biodegradable ones
  • Paper and notebooks such as this recycled map one or a book with a cover made out of an old car tyre

Many supermarkets, such as Sainsbury's and The Co-op, also sell recycled products.

Buy secondhand or preloved

Buying secondhand is also a good idea to extend the life of things other people don’t want. Try:

  • charity shops – use the Charity Retail Association's locator
  • car boot sales  – see Car Boot Junction's directory
  • jumble sales
  • Preloved celebrates the “Joy of Secondhand” and their website allows you to buy and sell for free online

The Recycled Products Guide is a UK database of products made from recycled materials including gifts and products for your home, garden or office.

Recycled products for your workplace

Your workplace, whether its in an office or the great outdoors, can also spread the recycled love:

  • British Recycled Products – I really like what this company is doing in the UK using plastic waste to manufacture a range of 100% recycled landscaping and construction products and outdoor furniture suitable for home or work. The range includes picnic benches, fencing, planters and gates. (Twitter: @britishrecycled)
  • The Recycled Products Guide (RPG) is owned and administered by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme). The aim of the Guide is to provide a national database of products made from recycled materials.  Find gifts and products for your home, garden or office.

Buy recycled products

Your help

Please let me know of any other shops or people selling goods made from recycled materials by leaving comments below. I plan to write another post about recycled gifts for Christmas shortly.

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