During lockdown, many people who are not keyworkers or homeshchooling their children are finding themselves with time on their hands.
In the UK we’ve had amazing weather and gardens and homes are finally getting the TLC we’ve all been meaning to get around to ‘one day’.
Here at Zero Waste Towers, we’re growing more food than usual, have chopped and stacked piles of wood for winter fuel and have been repurposing old materials into new projects. And there are other things too – I’ve been making sourdough bread, growing microgreens and have finally switched to reusable handkerchiefs! Read more about those adventures here.
I’ve been eager to declutter too, but it’s difficult at the moment because both charity shops and Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRC) are shut.
However, I’ve come up with five solutions so you can declutter to your hearts content, without creating landfill!
Although HWRCs are closed, bring banks are still open and kerbside collections are still operating in most areas. A quick check of your local authority website will tell you which collections are up and running. So while you might not be able to responsibly dispose of all items you declutter, there are still some opportunities.
For example, my local council will accept clothes, shoes and small electrical items from kerbside. You can also type your postcode into Recycle Now to find out what facilities are available in your neighbourhood.
Although charity shops are closed at the moment, I still have a tip for you!
We have a couple of independent charity shops locally. One is run by the church and another collects money for small animal shelters such as a rabbit rescue centre and local cat home.
I contacted them both via Facebook and they are still taking donations of items, ready for when they can re-open!
They ask that we let them know when we are going, to drop off in a designated area, let them know it’s all there, and then someone goes to pick it up for a complete ‘no-contact’ drop off.
So I can get rid of children’s games, books, DVDs and household items, which is a huge relief!
Grab a man with a van
Fortunately some removal and bulky waste disposal companies are still running. Our neighbours have hired two skips during lockdown and turned their garden from a jungle into a haven.
I used to think that hiring a skip meant everything ended up landfilled, but that’s not the case.
For example, AnyJunk – a nationwide bulky waste removals company who diverts 96% of waste collected from landfill, uses Uber-style technology to partner with established, local waste businesses all over the UK. Their digital platform matches jobs to the nearest operator with spare capacity who then connects to us via an app as they undertake the work, so they’re able to track what’s happening and keep customers updated in real time. Not only does this divert waste from landfill, but it reduces vehicles on the road and distances driven.
So if you’ve got a bit clearing project to do, this could be your answer.
One man’s trash…
Our road has become a kind of street market of late! Countless neighbours are leaving things they no longer need at the ends of their driveways with a ‘help yourself’ notice.
I’ve seem children’s toys, plant pots of varying sizes, garden tools and even a barbecue! In the past we’ve given away a small bathroom sink, assorted kitchen items and books. It’s lovely to be able to pass things on to neighbours.
If you don’t live in an area with passing people / traffic then you could try Facebook marketplace (I’ve picked up gym equipment from there) or you could sell on eBay and use a courier to pick up your items, if you’re self isolating.
Repurpose what you have
Lockdown is a brilliant opportunity to get creative, as hinted at the beginning of this article.
As well as sorting the garden out, we’ve repurposed some items into new things.
- I’ve turned worn sheets into handkerchiefs and cloths (remember the early days when there wasn’t a roll of toilet paper, kitchen towel or box of tissues to be seen in the shops?!).
- I’ve used tetra pak cartons and yogurt pots to grow carrots (this is an ongoing experiment which I’ll share my success / failure with later in the year)
- Old wood has been used to make containers to grow food in or make frames to support taller plants.
- It was my birthday during lockdown, so being the big kid I am, I asked my husband to make me a swing – which he did from old wood and rope!
- We’ve even made a water filter jug from two old plastic bottles, as our jug broke and we couldn’t get a replacement to fit our existing filters.
What about you. How have you managed to keep your home clutter free without creating landfill during lockdown?
Yogurt pot used to grow seedlings
old wood used to make boxes for onions, leeks and my all-important birthday swing!
Water filter made from old plastic bottles