The GREEN Frog Blog

14 May 2021

GREEN Frog Blog - Recycling & Upcycling


In the third blog of our GREEN Frog Blog series, we look at ways in which the Frog team are recycling and upcycling items to ensure they get fully utilised and to reduce the impact on the environment.

Trash to treasure projects can be very rewarding. Knowing that you are reusing items to avoid them ending up in landfill, repurposing objects that will save you money and also being able to admire the fruits of your labour!


Upcycling


A fantastic way to recycle items is to repurpose them. It is now commonplace to find alternative uses for objects from the home and office, with some fun and quirky products being created.


Revamp your furniture


Instead of disposing of old furniture or household objects, why not give it a new lease of life with some paint or decoupage, even using old newspapers or comics. Some of the transformations of tired furnishings can be quite amazing, and inexpensive! Revamp a dated wooden sideboard with some modern paint colours and new handles into a fresh contemporary statement piece, it’s simple to do!

One of the team commented Use Pinterest for everything! It gives you lots of ideas and inspiration about what can be done with items by seeing what others have created.


Green gardening


Yoghurt pots and other plastic pots can be used for so many things, including storage for small objects, candle & soap moulds, kids crafts, freezer containers or lunchboxes.

Sandrine, Marketing Executive for France and Benelux commented We grow a lot of plants from seeds and reuse different sizes of yoghurt pots to grow them in with a few holes at the bottom for drainage. Yoghurt pot tops make great saucers. I also use the plastic tray fruits and vegetables come in as seed trays. With so many pots labelling is essential so we save our ice lolly wooden sticks and use them as labels, they then go in the compost at the end of the season. I also transform our old tee shirts into yarn which I use in the garden to attach plants to their supports.


Thrifty gifting


Collecting ribbons, bows, boxes and gift bags from presents you receive and reutilising them for other’s gifts is a great way of reusing these items. Some will last for many occasions!


Fashion refresh


There are many ways of upcycling old clothing, even the items that have visible wear and tear can be cut, sewn and transformed into something else, including toys and teddy bear clothes. Clothes can be bleached or dyed to create fresher versions, or you can add buttons, ribbons, bows, sequins or embroidery to liven them up.

One of the team suggested, Use old t-shirts to rip into rags to clean your bike chains with and keep a small ripped up rag in your saddlebag to wipe your hands after mending a puncture!

Another member of the team recommended Make children’s clothes using fabric from old shirts. Although there may be worn areas, a big part of it will be fine and it'll be soft due to it already being worn and washed a lot.

And if you’re an avid gardener and like shoes, you can repurpose them as planters, whether it’s a pair of old boots or some wellies, they make for a good talking point!


Fruitful cleaner


Did you know that you can turn some of your food waste into an all-purpose cleaner? Fruit and vegetable peels can make a great eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner, by simply adding sugar and water and fermenting for a few months, then put the mixture into a spray bottle. This option is much better for the environment, as many commercial cleaners contain harmful chemicals.


A right corker

Leftover wine corks can be repurposed into new items, including vases, coasters, placemats, picture frames, stamps, candle holders… the list goes on!


Convert your cans

Tin cans are quite versatile objects and can have many new uses once they’ve been cleaned out and the labels removed. You can transform them into pen pots, hair accessories storage, cutlery holders, vases, candle holders and with multiple cans you could even create a fun wine bottle holder.


A top-glass transformation

Before you go and recycle your glass jars and bottles, there are some great ways of upgrading them to brighten up the home or turn them into something more practical. By removing the labels and adding some decorative touches like paint and ribbon they can be transformed into vases, candle holders, apothecary storage containers, or knot some jute string around them to turn them into hanging lanterns.


Recycling


Now that many of us are at home more, the mountain of packaging is becoming increasingly large. Cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, glass, cans, and some other packaging can easily be recycled in your regular household recycling collection.

Ian Thomas, Decarbonisation Project Leader suggests You can make recycling more convenient at home by getting organised with a set of recycling bins. This way it’s quick and easy to sort the materials as you go.

But what do we do with the other items?

ITEMSWHERE TO RECYCLE
BatteriesSupermarket battery recycling bins
GlassLocal collections, supermarket recycling bins, local bottle banks
TextilesSupermarket recycling bins, sell on used goods websites, charities, retailer recycling schemes
FurnitureFurniture charity shops, furniture recycling schemes, local recycling centre
Large PackagingLocal recycling centre
ElectronicsRetailer recycling schemes, local e-waste collection, local recycling centre

As we know recycling is a simple and effective way to help the environment, here are some tips from the team on how to recycle more effectively:


  • ✔ Compress plastic bottles and put the lids back on

  • ✔ Undo and flatten cardboard packaging

  • ✔ Keep recycling materials clean

  • ✔ Take a packed lunch to work and coffee in a reusable cup to avoid unnecessary waste

  • ✔ Re-use reusable carrier bags wherever possible

  • ✔ Create a dedicated recycling spot in the house or garage for convenience


Furniture


Many of our team use freecycle.org for furniture, toys and other items that they no longer need, this website allows you to advertise the item and then local people can collect it for free.

Alternatively, you can advertise items on Facebook marketplace and either offer them for free or at a reduced price. Local people can choose to collect the items or request them to be shipped. There are many other websites and apps available that offer a similar service.


Retail recycling


There are now many high street retailers and fashion brands offering unwanted clothing drop-boxes in stores. Companies such as M&S, Sweaty Betty, Calvin Klein, Adidas and Primark are all taking the eco-friendly option by partnering with recycling experts to help find unwanted clothes a new home or recovering the materials to aid in preserving the environment.

But also keep a lookout for smaller businesses that want to make a difference too. One of the team commented My local spin studio collects cycling kit and sends it to a charity in Africa that redistributes it to cycling clubs. And our local running shop has a dropbox for unwanted running shoes that also get sent to be reused in Africa.

Whatever route you choose to take, it’s definitely fun trying something new!


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