What do I do with burnt saucepans and my other junk?

Last week was mostly about bringing less packaging into our home – this week’s about dealing with your worthless junk with your sustainable manners in check. It’s certainly on the mind of one of our Susty subscribers, and probably many more of us!

Picture the scene: you finally get round to thinking, hmm, should probably get rid of that, but I can’t just bin it – so now what? To save you a wee bit of Googling, I hope that the below might help, whether you’re on the move or just having a feng shui blast.

Burnt saucepan

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It might look beyond repair, but try some intensive care before you, ahem, pull the plug. Boiling water and a tonne of salt is good. Soak overnight and it should be easy to deal with in the morning. No good? Try teaming a cup of vinegar with 2-3 tablespoons of bicarb with a little water – ‘recipe’ here. If you’re more likely to have Coca-Cola in your flat than vinegar, this is actually a great remedy thanks to its acidity. Simmer gently, while you contemplate on what it’s probably done to your teeth.

Electric toothbrush

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Speaking of teeth, occasionally we might update our electric brush and need to get rid of our old one. But batteries are dangerous for the environment and human health, so should be kept out of landfill. Who wants your smelly toothbrush, though? Well, you can recycle it with batteries – you can usually find recycling points at your local supermarket. But you might be surprised that some charity shops would take these as well. After all, while no-one wants your used toothbrush head, the electric bit could well serve someone else at a bargainas price. Probably want to include the charger, though. (If you’re ditching your electric brush in favour of a manual, you might want to try the bamboo kind).

Plastic carrier bags

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Putting a wetsuit on can be a difficult affair – but with a few plastic carrier bags on your paws, you’ll be zipping up in no time! You can also use them to put said wetsuit and salty swimsuit in for your way home. Summer fun, here we come. They’re great around the house as bin liners (bags, not your wetsuit), or to keep your lunch safe from leaking all over your bag (office faux pas avoided). Or what about a parachute for toys?(!) If you’re overrun with the things, consider taking some to market stall owners or charity shops – they might appreciate a few. Or take inspiration from this guy, who has used his trusty Tesco carrier bag some 2,000 times.

Waterlogged phone

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We’ve all been there. Whether it’s down the toilet, in the sea or in an old cup of coffee (what?), our phones like to find their way into the nearest body of water. If you’ve avoided trying to turn it on and bathed it in a bag of rice for a few days to no avail, you might be surprised to know you still can sell your phone on eBay – you might just get a fiver or  tenner for it. I sold one recently and with the power of what I can only assume is magic, the buyer managed to turn it on. I’m not disappointed – it means someone can get some use out of it. Alternatively you can recycle it 🙂 If you’ve got an iPhone/iPad, Apple will now accept waterlogged products as part of its recycling scheme. That means you can get a gift card towards a new product. I personally prefer getting them second hand anyways – much, much cheaper and since we’re in a culture of people getting upgrades all the time, you can get a nice model for a good price. I recently bought a 32gb iPhone 5s for £150 from Gumtree, and the seller even threw in a flowery case too. Aww.

Broken furniture, material scraps and other ‘worthless’ items

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As I noted in last week’s susty hack on zero-waste, you’d be surprised what kind of stuff is of value to someone else. Pop your broken wares on Freecycle or the Gumtree Freebie section – what’s bound for your recycling box (cardboard boxes) might just be what someone desperately needs (moving day).You can also pop them outside with a big sign saying ‘please take!!’ (where we live, these disappear very quickly). We’ve picked up a clothes horse, spice rack and dish drainer for free from our neighbourhood and its been so useful. I’ve also picked up random things like ceramic tiles (could be a good DIY door sign) and surplus cooking apples (made a few delightful apple crumbles out of those).

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