Unfortunately, plastic waste is a problem that hasn’t yet gone away.
Until there is a total shift in attitudes towards plastic production and waste, right across the globe, responsible recycling needs to remain a top priority.
Even more unfortunately, not all plastics are created equally which means we are faced with the issue that there are certain plastics still in production that cannot be recycled!
As frustrating as this is for those, like us, campaigning for real change, there are ways that we can continue to help and make a difference to the problem of plastic waste.
With a little thinking outside of the takeaway box, we’ve explored 5 fun ways that non-recyclable packaging can be recycled and reused.
Much of the plastic recycling in the UK is dependent on where you live with regional councils operating slightly differently to the next.
Be sure to check out your local council website for more information on what can and can’t be recycled.
Once you’ve got your trusty list of non-recyclables, it’s time to stockpile and put them to good use!
Yoghurt Pot Planters
Good for your gut and good for your garden, yoghurt pots make great containers for planting your seedlings.
Try growing your own herbs and salad leaves, the kitchen window is a good place to start.
The best time to begin is January to March.
Give them a good clean and don’t forget to poke a few holes in the bottom to prevent water getting trapped inside.
This can be a great way to get children involved in gardening, cooking with homegrown ingredients and teaching them about responsible recycling.
Multiple Uses for Plastic Lids
In the majority of cases plastic bottles are recyclable but their lids are not and should be removed first.
Most recycling facilities are unable to process the type of plastic that lids are made from and if mixed with the plastic from the bottle, the value of the plastic as a whole is reduced which means it has a smaller resale value for recycling centres.
That’s particularly bad news because it means that the net recycled plastic is potentially nothing as opposed to just the bottle.
Here’s a few things you can do with plastic lids that are great for children – and big kids!:
Use the lids to teach children by having them sort color and/or size.
You could practice counting and basic maths skills by organising the lids into groups of multiples as well as adding and subtracting.
Once the maths fun runs out, lids make perfect game markers e.g. ‘snakes and ladders’.
Why not try making children’s jewelry by drilling little holes in the lids and stringing them to make necklaces and fancy dress items.
Lids work well as general craft supplies which can be added to the box and called upon later for art activities such as pop-out eyes for children’s art or even used in mosaics, for something a little more daring!
Plastic Bottle Tidies
It’s often said that a happy home is a tidy home… but rarely by children.
One ingenious use for plastic bottles, where they can’t be recycled, it to cut off the top third of the bottle, just as it begins to narrow into the neck, and use them as tidies.
How many pens, pencils, crayons, paint brushes, paperclips, blobs of blu-tack and mini monster figures do you really need scattered all over the house?
Here’s your answer, make little tidy-pots to store all these bits and pieces and your house will start to look home again, in no time.
What’s more, if the bottles are transparent, you’ll still be able to tell exactly where you put that weird green monster thing with 4 eyes and yellow hair that your child absolutely must take to the supermarket!
Build A Car Or A Plane
You could try your hand at building a car from a plastic spray bottle and using plastic lids as wheels.
Get stuck in, and with a little fiddling and creativity, challenge yourself to make it so that the wheels turn; make two of them and you’ve got yourself a race!
Children can take part in the preparing of the plastic materials, the making of the cars, the painting and decorating them in their favourite colours and patterns, and of course, the big race!
Check out this example below
Make A Jellyfish In A Bottle
For something a little different, you could make your own pet jellyfish in a plastic bottle.
Very simple yet effective and oddly calming.
Using up plastic bags, plastic bottles and lids, this one ticks a few boxes.
Try it in different colours with different types of bottles – check out this video for instructions.