Recycling has certainly been one of the watch words of the 21st century and something that has affected most of us on a daily basis with so much impetus placed on being green and environmentally aware. However, for many the urge to recycle, well just about anything, is too much to ignore. This blog explores some of the more unusual things that people recycle.

  • Pets – No you haven’t misread that. A facility was opened in Mannheim in Germany where rather than burying your departed faithful friend you can take them to have their ashes turned into fertilizer! We can only imagine that the thought is that your beloved pet lives on through the flowers and plants that will eventually spring forth.
  • False teeth – Hopefully this won’t lead to an increase in the theft of false teeth but apparently a man-made set molars can contain a small amount of precious metals including gold and silver. In Japan there is a non-profit organisation who recycle dentures and then donate the proceeds to Unicef.
  • Hair – A venture in Thailand can apparently offer a fine range of “eco-friendly, durable, aristocratic, and quality furniture and household goods”, all made from human hair. Seemingly materials are sourced from remnants from barber shop and salon visits. A case of hair today, chair tomorrow?
  • Coffins – Yes, really! You can actually hire rather than buy a casket from a funeral directors if you so wish or, if you want to be totally at peace with the earth on your celestial journey, opt for a coffin made from recycled cardboard.
  • Old socks and underwear – Rather than darning those old socks to extract a little more life out of them why not recycle them instead? Apparently there are people out there fashioning stylish furniture from old socks and underwear these days. So instead of leaving them lying about, you could end up sitting on them instead!
  • Sheep poo – if you think about it sheep are pretty recycle friendly anyway but a company in Wales, it had to be really I guess, has gone one further and found a use for their droppings too. So, the next time you’re jotting down your shopping list it just might be on paper recycled from sheep poo. It’s certainly an ingenious process which you can actually do at home if you’re so inclined!
  • Chewed gum – Southampton airport claims to be the first airport in the world to house chewing gum recycling bins. The collected masticated matter then goes on to produce products such as car tyres, toys and mobile phone covers.
  • Aprons – With people taking the 3 r’s, reuse-reduce-recycle, to heart and using car boot and garage sales to move on unwanted items, your old apron could come in very handy. By turning up the bottom of the apron and stitching the pockets you suddenly have the perfect garment for separating coins and notes whilst earning all that extra cash!
  • Aquariums – How many people have got an old aquarium gathering dust in the attic, garage or potting shed? One possible use for it is to turn it into a herb garden. All you have to do is to spread a layer of gravel and add potting soil. Then transfer herbs into the transparent new home.

Whilst some of these suggestions might represent the extreme end of recycling, there’s certainly some truth in the old adage that ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. It is worth at least considering what alternative use you might possibly get from an otherwise redundant old item. Just make sure the item really won’t be used again and don’t go stealing grandma’s false teeth, snipping bits off the kids hair and chasing after the dog too soon!