7 tips for a green spring clean

By Rachael Ridley 26 August 2020

Ready for a spring clean but unsure how to do it responsibly during a global pandemic? Never fear, we’re here to help! Here’s how to give your house a good spring clean safely and sustainably.

1. Reuse before recycling

To limit your environmental impact, Planet Ark always recommends following the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse and then recycle. Before you throw anything away, have a think about whether it could be repaired or reused in another way. Could you get those pants taken in or replace missing buttons? Could you cut up that old towel to use as cleaning rags? Could you clean out those glass jars to use as reusable containers? For more reuse tips, visit our Reuse Hub

2. Find recycling points near you

Have you been holding onto old electronics, mattresses, batteries, white goods and clothes? Visit Planet Ark’s RecyclingNearYou to find your closest recycling drop-off point. This free online directory can help you recycle all kinds of materials – simply select the material and search your post code to find your closest recycling point. Call in advance to be sure the facility is open and accepting goods, as some may have altered opening hours due to the pandemic.

3. Rehome your unwanted goods

Recycling unwanted items is great but keeping them in use is even better! Does that old TV still work? Instead of leaving it on the side of the road with a ‘Free’ sign (which is actually considered illegal dumping!), try giving it away or selling it on one of the many online community marketplace websites such as Gumtree. Free items will usually go like hot cakes. It takes minimal effort and you might just make your neighbour’s day!

If you’d prefer to give away your belongings to a charity, visit RecyclingNearYou for a list of items charities accept as well as a directory of charity shops near you. The golden rule is, only donate it if you would gift it to a friend. Be sure to give the item a good wipe down, wash your hands and wear a mask when delivering goods to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

4. Hire a recycling skip bin

If you’re planning a big clean out and will end up with lots of junk that can’t be recycled through charity shops or other recycling schemes, consider hiring a recycling skip bin. There are lots of companies that offer recycling services for your trash. If you’re located in NSW or Victoria, BINGO Industries is a trusted leader in the recycling industry and a proud partner of Planet Ark for almost ten years.

5. Working from home? Recycle your printer cartridges

This is a great time to start new recycling habits! If you’re working from home and using the printer more regularly, make sure you drop off your used printer cartridges for recycling through Cartridges 4 Planet Ark. The program has recycled more than 46 million cartridges already with zero waste to landfill. The materials are turned into new products like roadbase, gardening beds and artists’ ink. Find a drop-off point near you.

6. Get on top of food waste

Who doesn’t love the feeling of a freshly cleaned out pantry and fridge? A kitchen clean out is a great opportunity to take stock of what food has gone off and to rearrange your fridge and pantry so you can easily see what you have to cook with to reduce food wastage. If you have food you don’t want, you can donate it to a food rescue charity like OzHarvest. Learn more about how to reduce food waste in your home.

7. Kick start spring with a new compost

While we’re on the subject of food, did you know rotting food releases a gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide? Methane released from rotting food in landfill is a big contributor towards warming our planet. We can all help by starting a compost or worm farm – there are even products like Bokashi buckets for people living in apartments or small spaces. If you can’t start your own compost, search ShareWaste to see if one of your neighbours will take your food scraps.

Rachael Ridley
Rachael manages the Business Recycling and Recycling Near You websites. Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor, and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music, and patting dogs.