I'm not keen on making loads of New Years Resolutions which fall by the wayside come the end of January. One I am planning on sticking to is making an attempt to declutter our house.
This plastic jug pictured above just about sums up my problem. It sits tucked away under my toilet cistern, in our bathroom. Everytime a toothbrush gets too worn out to be used on our teeth, I put it in the jug where it might 'come in handy' for something. My husband thinks I'm mad, but tolerates these things. Whilst I am not a hoarder on this type of scale, I do hate to throw things out. The thought of all the waste making it's way to landfill in this country alone on a daily basis makes me shudder.
Kerbside recycling has improved dramatically over the past few years and we can easily put out paper, cardboard, certain plastics, food waste and garden waste to be picked up from our doorsteps. I'm also keen on passing on sellable things and regularly fill bags for charity. We've also used Freecycle on many occasions and I think it's a fantastic site and must help to prevent more waste going to landfill. We've passed on old TVs, a stereo, old toys, plant pots, boxes of tiles and even a double mattress. The fact that someone is willing to collect from your house is fantastic. I think since we've lived in our current house, we've been to the local rubbish dump about 5 times over 5 years, which is pretty good going and I think Freecycle has been a big help in keeping those trips to the dump to a minimum.
But what about the jug of toothbrushes? There are just some things that don't fit into the kerbside collections and noone would want these in a charity shop and I think they are even beyond Freecyclers, yet I can't bring myself to chuck them in the bin...I know one of the golden rules on recycling is not to buy items in the first place if you can possibly help it, which is something I try to stick to, but as far as toothbrushes go, I don't want to lose my teeth, so I'm going to keep on brushing them. Which leaves the problem of what to do with the old brushes.
And there are lots of other household items that fall into that category, video tapes, old CDs, wine bottle corks, plastic spoons...the list goes on.
Which is why am I so glad I stumbled across this website when trying to find ways to recycle my growing collection of toothbrushes.
How can I recycle this? is a fantastic source of ideas for all those hard to recycle items. It's run by two people who were in exactly the same position as I am now when faced with waste which could be reused if only they knew how. The site works by taking suggestions for items to be reused, then it's up to the good people of the internet to post their suggestions underneath said item. The site also likes to promote people's clever, interesting and creative ideas for recycling something.
A quick search of the site throws up this post on "How can I reuse or recycle … old toothbrushes?". There are some interesting suggestions, including using a Terradent toothbrush, which helps to eliminate the need to keep buying new toothbrushes in the first place. Apart from toothbrushes there are so many other clever ideas, in fact the site has over 14,000 suggestions for a plethora of items. It's definitely a site I will be bookmarking for later use!