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10 March 2016


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n this section you will find information on how to deal with carpets, CDs and cases, chemical waste, Christmas items, clinical waste, clothing and shoes, computers and IT equipment, and drinks cartons.  


Reduce: Consider using carpet squares, which can be replaced individually as and when necessary. Professional carpet cleaners are an affordable alternative to replacement flooring and are listed in the Yellow Pages.

Reuse: Good quality carpets and rugs can be sold second-hand or donated to charitable organisations, voluntary groups and pet shelters. Carpets that cannot be reused can be laid over compost heaps as a cover and heat insulator. Local allotment and gardening groups may therefore be interested in them.

Compost: Natural fibre carpets and rugs made from wool can be composted in small pieces or used as mulch. 
Disposal: Do not place unwanted carpets in your rubbish bin. Contact your local district or borough council for a special collection, for which there may be a charge, or take them to your local Essex County Council recycling centre and put them in the non-recyclables container.  

CDs and cases

Reduce: Use a memory stick to transfer files instead of burning data onto a CD. Free online storage allows you to store files securely online so you can access them almost anywhere in the world. Unlike CDs, hard drives can store your data in one place and can be recycled as electrical equipment once it has reached the end of its working life.
Reuse: Donate CDs, DVDs and computer games to charity or sell second-hand. Use old disks as coasters, make into bird scarers or hanging mobiles.  
Recycle: There are very few options available for the recycling of disks and cases. One option is Polymer Recycling, which accepts all disks and cases, (posters will have to pay for postage and packaging).
Disposal: Please place disks and plastic cases into your rubbish bin.  

Chemical waste

Disposal: Never mix different chemicals together; this can create toxic fumes or cause an explosion.
Never pour chemicals down the sink, toilet or drain. Please refer to the manufacturer's advice for disposal.
Alternatively, you can contact the Waste and Recycling Helpline on 0345 603 7625 for advice. 

Christmas items

Reduce: Consider sending electronic e-cards. Buy Christmas foods loose to avoid unnecessary packaging and remember to check use-by dates, freeze excess portions and use leftovers to avoid waste. See Love Food Hate Waste for more information. You could also swap clothes, decorations or unwanted gifts with friends.

Reuse: Buy Christmas cards and gifts made from recycled materials and cut up pictures from previous cards to use as Christmas gift tags. Ensure you buy a Christmas tree from a sustainable source, or buy a tree with roots so it can be replanted. Donate any unwanted presents to charity or list on Freecycle.

Recycle: Real Christmas trees can be recycled at all Essex County Council recycling centres in the green waste recycling container. Some district and borough councils run Christmas tree recycling schemes. Please contact your local council for details. Paper Christmas decorations can be recycled in cardboard banks at recycling centres.
Disposal: Damaged or unusable Christmas decorations can be put in your rubbish bin (wrapping any glass or sharp items in newspaper first) or placed in the non-recyclables container at any recycling centre.

Clinical waste

Disposal: Clinical waste includes any item which may be soiled by blood or bodily fluids. Syringes, sanitary products and soiled dressings / bandages must not be disposed of in your rubbish bin.
Most households do not produce clinical waste, apart from individuals who use large numbers of needles or change colostomy bags. For advice on methods of disposal, contact your local GP, hospital or whoever is providing your health care.
Although not required to do so, a few district and borough councils offer a clinical waste collection. Contact your local district or borough council for details.
Clinical waste produced by residential homes is classed as household waste and should be collected by your local council on request. There may be a charge for this service. Contact your local council for details.

Clothing and shoes

Reuse: Good quality items could be donated to charity shops, placed in clothing banks or re-sold as second hand. Consider holding a Swishing Party with friends or organizing a Give or Take day. Old wellington boots can be reused as plant pots (pierce the soles first to allow drainage).

Recycle: Clean clothes, towels, linen, curtains, handbags, belts, shoes and boots can be recycled at Essex County Council recycling centres or collected through some kerbside recycling schemes. Please tie pairs of shoes together beforehand.

Compost: Cotton and natural fibres can be cut up and placed in the compost.

Disposal: Wellington boots cannot be recycled, and should be placed with household rubbish.

Computers and IT equipment

Before disposing of a computer, take all steps to protect personal data by wiping clean hard drives or rendering them unusable.
Reuse: Unwanted computers, printers and fax machines in working order can be sold secondhand, advertised on Freecycle or donated to charity Computer Aid. You can find locations of sites that reuse electrical goods in Essex on Reuse Essex.
Recycle: Computers that cannot be reused can be recycled at any Essex County Council recycling centre in the electrical items container along with computer monitors, which contain cathode ray tubes and need special care when being disposed of.
Schools wishing to dispose of monitors may need to register with the Environment Agency under the Hazardous Waste Regulations.

Drinks cartons

Reuse: Cartons can be reused as plant pots, stationary holders, bird feeders or bird houses.

Recycle: Your district or borough council may provide a kerbside recycling collection for drinks cartons and Tetra Paks. Contact your local council for details. 

Cardboard drink containers designed to hold liquids such as milk and fruit juices must not be put in cardboard recycling banks at Essex County Council recycling centres; they are lined with foil or wax which cannot be separated from the cardboard.

Tetra Pak and drink carton recycling is widely available, please check the Tetra pak website or Recycle Now for your nearest recycling banks

Disposal: If you are unable to recycle drinks cartons and Tetra Paks through your local scheme, put them in your rubbish bin.