Unusual ways of recycling

by Phil Gaughan

For me, clearing clutter is not just about throwing stuff in the bin. I go by the maxim, ‘One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure.’

As a professional declutterer I’m always on the look-out for new ways of recycling – when I help someone declutter I want to make sure the clutter is disposed of ethically and without harming the environment.

I regularly use the network www.uk.freecycle.org to pass on unwanted items. Freecycle works by matching people who have something to get rid of with other people in the same area who want the item.

But if you want to find out other ways of being a better recycler check out www.recyclenow.com, which even has information on making musical instruments out of rubbish. You can also try www.recycle-more.co.uk to find out where to recycle your clutter.

Unexpected ways of recycling

Here’s just a few of the more curious ideas I’ve come across.

- Even leftover paint can be found a home. Projects like the social enterprise www.seagullsreuse.org.uk in Leeds will take your unwanted paints and will also sell paints for a small donation. Why not find a similar project in your area?

- Used flooring can seem a problem but coir carpet, for instance, is biodegradable and can be used for things like making a garden path. Non-foamedbacked carpets are also great for keeping down weeds. Try www.carpetrecyclinguk.com for more ideas.

- Old bikes can be donated to the numerous bike recycling community projects across the country. Go to www.bikerecycling.co.uk to find your nearest project.

- Why not preserve your fence with used chip-pan oil, or make your own biofuel?

- You can use a lot of recycled items in the garden. My sister tells me people are growing potatoes in old car tyres with fantastic results. You can find out more ideas at www.greenyour.com.

- Try businesses or vocational skills training projects in your local area – your local garage may be happy to take spray paint, for instance.

And it can always help to talk to people. One recycler I met makes trailers for motobility scooters using the top half of broken swivel office chairs. On the east coast, I’m told, it’s all the rage to use these trailers (off the road) to pull feline or human passengers.

I also came across some people who cleared their local beach of rubbish and then made a dolphin sculpture out of the waste and plastic bottles. Go to www.recyclingexpert.co.uk for other examples across the country.

Phil Gaughan is a professional declutterer based in south Yorkshire. For more information go to www.cluttercleared.co.uk