You’ve poured the last of the cornflakes into your bowl and topped them off with the final few drops of milk.
Do you put both the cardboard cereal box and the plastic milk bottle straight in the bin? Or do you separate them into their proper recycling boxes, ready for the council to pick up later in the week?
If it’s the latter, hurrah! You’re already doing your bit for the environment. Why not go one step further, though, and make recycling fun rather than a chore?
Here are my 4 suggestions – some stranger than others – for recycling your food packaging.
There are hundreds of sites on the internet dedicated to upcycling (the art of turning trash into treasures) and many have come up with beautiful, bespoke pieces of costume jewellery. How about a necklace made from beer bottle caps, or a bracelet of woven chewing gum wrappers?
For the more adventurous, there are crisp packet brooches that really make a statement. Get your thinking cap on and design your own jewellery range – that’s your Christmas presents sorted out for this year.
Plastic bottles lend themselves well to outdoor recycling. Collect a hundred or so fizzy pop bottles, fasten them together and, following better instructions than these, you’ve got the makings of a pretty nifty greenhouse.
That plastic milk bottle we were talking about? Pop a few holes in the lid and, hey presto, an instant watering can. You can also turn them into bird feeders, planters… the possibilities are endless.
It might seem unbelievable but glass bottles can be used as building materials. Surely not, I hear you cry, but monks in Thailand have been using beer bottles for the past 26 years in their mammoth construction project, The Million Bottle Temple.
So now you don’t have to do the clinking walk of shame to the recycling bank, you can just construct your own temple in the back garden. Maybe on a slightly smaller scale, though.
This is where our cereal box comes in handy. Blue Peter tried to tell us but really, who knew there were so many uses for an empty box?
A few careful scissor cuts and a little sticky back plastic can result in a dolls house fit for, well, a doll. Bookmarks, postcards, fridge magnet, magazine racks – the only limit to the possibilities is your imagination.
In a world where most things come pre-packaged, we’re always going to be left with excesses of plastic, paper and cardboard. Now, at least, you can make the most of it and entertain yourself at the same time.
Are you an avid recycler/upcycler? Let us know about some of your creations.