RECYCLING is a small, simple action that can tackle the planet’s pollution crisis. You may already have an effective sorting and recycling system in your home. Most South Africans are aware of the importance of recycling and regularly recycle plastic, paper and glass items.
However, what happens to those strange objects, like batteries, old clothes, old cell phones and books? There are various local organizations that reuse or recycle old items which in most households usually end up in the trash. Instead of throwing away old items, donate them to a local environmental organization that will put them to better use.
“It’s old stuff that may be useless to you, but there are people out there who would really appreciate a donation,” said Lindsay Hopkins of national hunger relief nonprofit SA Harvest. in South Africa.
Hopkins says the reuse and reuse industry is an important societal structure and more people should use it.
“There are people who can do so many things with old stuff — to you it’s old, but to them it’s gold,” Hopkins said.
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There are plenty of household items that you might not even realize are recyclable. Here are some old items you should recycle:
Other paper items such as magazines, newspapers and paper pages can be thrown into a paper recycling bin, however, books must be donated. Local charities, libraries, schools and second-hand bookstores will accept old novels, as long as they are in relatively good condition. For damaged copies, there are still recycling companies that accept old books and recycle the paper from the book. So the next time you want to throw away your old Stephen King novel, donate it instead and share a classic thriller with the next person.
Throwing away old electronics can be harmful to the environment. Many of them are full of chemicals and heavy metals that can seep into the ground and harm our planet. Although you may be tempted to throw old electronics in the trash, consider not doing so as these items can always be recycled. There are recycling centers that deal specifically with electronic materials and items such as old laptops, televisions, and power cords.
Those once firm, freshly stained shoes end up getting old and tattered, and the easiest thing to do is throw them out and out of sight. But sports shoes in good condition must be donated and those that can no longer be worn can be recycled. Some shoe companies have recycling programs, and some even accept old shoes by shipment.
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It can be extremely harmful to the environment to throw old batteries in the trash. Batteries contain toxic chemicals such as lithium, cadmium, sulfuric acid, and lead, and if disposed of improperly, these toxic chemicals can leach into the ground and contaminate groundwater. In South Africa you can sign up to use a special battery collection service or you can drop off your old batteries at one of the various battery recycling centers across the country. Some Pick ‘n Pays have battery recycling bins at the entrance to their stores.
There are countless local organizations that accept old clothes. Many non-profit and second-hand clothing stores will sort your old clothes for you, dividing them into what’s reusable and what needs to go to a recycling plant.
Donate your old clothes and bedding, or cut them up to reuse as cleaning rags and washable dusters.
Local organizations to discover:
Robin Hood Foundation
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