As the habit of recycling at home steadily gained traction in Singapore, you might be familiar with the usual recyclable items around the house such as cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and how to go about recycling them. There is certainly more to the list and you might be surprised by some unexpected ones. Here are some additional items at home you never knew you could recycle as well.
Light bulbs and lamps
Light bulbs are considered a form of e-waste and can be recycled. Due to the nature of the product, they cannot be deposited into the common recycling bins located within the residential areas. With most lamps and light bulbs being mostly made up of glass, metal and limited amounts of mercury, improper disposal could lead to contamination.
What to do: Check in with your neighbourhood community centres if they have a collection point for faulty light bulbs and lamps to be recycled by professionals.
Face mist, paint sprays, insecticides and hair sprays – these everyday household items can come in the form of aerosol cans. Aerosol containers or spray cans are pressurised products that can start a fire or cause injuries when you dispose them in the trash where they can be punctured and explode.
What to do: Empty the aerosol cans before recycling them in our common neighbourhood recycling bins. An empty spray can is safe for disposal if you no longer hear air being released from the container when the nozzle is pressed.
Portable chargers and electrical cables
With our phones constantly by our side all the time, you can imagine how important it is for it to have sufficient battery life. As such, portable chargers and electrical cables have become almost indispensable in our everyday lives.
With daily use, wear and tear is expected much like any other household items. Consider if it is possible to have it repaired with your local repairman or to do an exchange with the manufacturer.
What to do: Should throwing out be the only available option, don’t be too quick to bin it as these items can be recycled as e-waste. Check out these locations where cables and portable chargers can be recycled!
According to the World Health Organisation, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented. By recycling your unused glasses, it is a great way to put your old glasses to good use while making a difference in enabling the vision of those in need.
What to do: Do a quick check for local optical shops which collect or trade in old spectacles. One such optical shop is Visio Optical, who runs an eyewear collection programme where everyone is encouraged to donate their old or new spectacles and sunglasses that are in usable conditions. The glasses will then be reworked and offered to people with financial difficulty unable to access or afford quality eye care, providing them with proper prescription glasses.
Being able to recycle these unexpected household items, it broadens the perspective of how we view recyclable items to not just be confined to the usual suspects. The next time before you bin something, do a quick check with this list if it can be recycled.
As sustainability becomes more of a necessity with the increasing urgency of climate change, it’s time we practice more mindful habits to leave the world in better hands for the generations after us.
 (2019) World Report on Vision. World Health Organisation. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/documents/publications/world-report-on-vision-accessible-executive-summary.pdf?sfvrsn=d159ec9f_2
- By Geneco
- 24 September 2020