Filed in by on August 17, 2010 27 Comments

Here are some of our most common FAQs. Please read through these before sending us a contact us form.
If you send a contact form with one of these questions on, your email will be deleted without response.

Plastic milk bottle tops

How can I recycle plastic milk bottle tops for charity?

Find out with our “how to recycle plastic milk bottle tops” article.

Recycling crisp packets

Where can I send my empty crisp packets for recycling?

Unfortunately we no longer collect crisp packets for charity. There is still a way to send these to the Philippines for them to be made into products which help lift people out of poverty but you will have to pay the cost of shipping yourself. Please contact the Philippine Community Fund for more details:

The Philippine Community Fund,
PO Box 294,
Hedge End,

Tel 01489 790219
Email: [email protected]

Recycling 35mm film negatives

How can I recycle 35mm film negatives?

Jackie, an art student was collecting 35mm film negatives for recycling until March 2012. She now has all she needs. You can read about her project on our “How to recycle 35mm film negatives” article.

If you still have 35mm film negatives you would like to recycle, please contact another of our readers – [email protected] who can use them for art projects and teaching resources for her photography students.

Recycling empty toothpaste tubes

Where can I send my empty toothpaste tubes for recycling?

Unfortunately we no longer collect toothpaste tubes for charity. There is still a way to send these to the Philippines for them to be made into products which help lift people out of poverty but you will have to pay the cost of shipping yourself. Please contact the Philippine Community Fund for more details:

The Philippine Community Fund,
PO Box 294,
Hedge End,

Tel 01489 790219
Email: [email protected]

What is this packaging?

I have bought something and the packaging is unmarked, so I don’t know how to dispose of it – what should I do?

Contact the manufacturer via letter, email or telephone and ask them. Feel free to use this letter template and tell the manufacturer all about us, our website and how wonderful we are.

Dear xxxx

I recently bought your product xxxx and am concerned about how I can responsibly dispose of the packaging. I have looked on your product for information but not found any information to help me.

Could you please tell me two things:

1- WHAT the packaging is

2- HOW to dispose of it responsibly.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully


Return to sender

The manufacturer have told me my packaging cannot be recycled. What do I do now?

Off with their heads!
Alternatively; if you’re of a more pacifist persuasion, return to sender. Feel free to edit this letter and tell the manufacturer all about us, our website and how wonderful we are.

Dear xxxx

Thank you for your letter / email / phonecall of [insert date and ref]

You mentioned that the packaging was [insert type of packaging]. This means you have chosen a non-sustainable material for packaging your product and in today’s climate, where people are very concerned about the environment, I find this unacceptable.

I feel you are not taking this area of your business seriously. In essence, you are passing on the responsibility for disposal of your packaging to the consumer – and the only option you are giving, for this particular product, is landfill. Responsible Trading covers the end disposal of your packaging and if you cannot offer your consumers a way to recycle or compost the packaging, you have no right to be producing it.

I am returning the packaging for YOU to dispose of and urge you to consider swapping the packaging you are currently using for something more environmentally friendly.

Yours sincerely,


Talks, Presentations, Interviews

Can you come and give a presentation about zero waste?

Fill in a contact us form and we’ll get back to you!


I’m doing a creative writing course / am a radio broadcast student / am a freelance writer / am a TV presenter – can I interview you?

Sure, send your questions via our contact us form and we’ll arrange a mutually convenient time to talk

What media work have you done?

Take a look at our media page to find out.

Brita cartridges

Where is the nearest place to recycle my used water cartridges?

Find your nearest Brita Recycling location with the database on this page:


Tetra Pak Cartons

How can I recycle my Tetra Pak cartons?

Find your nearest Tetra Pak carton recycling location with the interactive map on this page:


Guest posts

I’m a wonderful person / company / non profit / charity who fully endorses the zero waste philosophy. Can I write a guest post?

We welcome guest posts from people who are passionate about zero waste and have a story / tips to share. However, we no longer accept guest posts from companies. We are happy to work with products and brands in other ways, so please contact us for further details.

In order to write a guest post, you need to meet some requirements:

First – make sure you’ve been reading the site for at least a month so you understand the tone and style of our content.

Second – Contact us and tell us what you want to write about and how you think it fits into the theme of our site.

Third – If we agree to publish your work, we’ll need 200-500 words about your topic sent in the body on your email (no attachments please). Please include a high res image of yourself, (minimum size 300px x 300px and the photo to be sent as an attachment, not in the body of the mail) along with a couple of sentences bio about who you are, what you like doing – make the bio personal as our readers like to know a bit about you. If you don’t include the photo and bio, your guest post won’t be published. Please ensure your work is original and unpublished – no previously published work or press releases please.

Fourth – Do the good deed and ensure you social network, blog, blag and talk about your article when it is live to encourage some reader feedback.

If you are a company selling products or services which will help our readers, please contact us about our advertising rates rather than submitting a guest post.

Review products

Can I send you a product for review?

You can my lovely; as long as it will enhance my zero waste lifestyle. Will it help me save waste? is it a product that reduces my need for plastic? Will it come in zero waste packaging? Then bring it on – send me a contact form and ask for my postal details.

Sending me a review product does not automatically mean I will like it or talk about it favourably but my review will be fair and honest. I mean, do I look like the sort of woman that can be bribed? (well yeah, ok then, an electric Mercedes in pink might just sway me)
See this review which only scored 2 out of 5. See this review, where I felt like I was staring in the Emporer’s new clothes. And see this review which was just lovely.

Be warned: If the product comes in non recyclable packaging; I’ll send it back to you to dispose of and write wicked things about you on the website.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Bethany Watson says:

    Medication Blister packs: Does anybody have ideas about how to recycle or reuse the packaging used by pharmaceutical manufacturers and vitamin suppliers? I contacted Boots several weeks ago but have not received a reply!
    Many thanks.

  2. Poppy says:

    I’d also love to have an answer to this problem, so if anyone has one …. do please share. I already take off as much of the foil as I can. I was told previously that all these tiny bits are useless because they fall through the machinery, but I always put them into a foil pie dish and scrunch it all up together.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Poppy; good idea to scumple up all the foil – I do this with tiny bits too. As to the plastics, you’ll have to contact the individual manufacturer to find out what it is and then see if you can recycle it.
    No magic answer I’m afraid.

  4. Lindsey says:

    How do you recycle crinkly cellophane please….

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Lindsey: Hi Lindsey, unfortunately, cellophane is a difficult one because there are 2 types – real cellophane is made from cellulose which can be composted at home. The other type is made from synthetic plastics which don’t break down and currently need to be landfilled; so you need to know which type you have before you can dispose of it. A letter or call to the manufacturer should sort this out…

  6. Karen Mattos says:

    I have just put 6 items in my bin as I have no idea how to recycle them and am wondering if we have to be resigned to some things we use/need/buy going to landfill.

    An old child’s plastic place mat that has been reused by the dog already!!!
    A plastic hair clip
    Nylon shower scrubs
    Decorators caulk/silicone empty syringe and nozzle
    Ink pad and its plastic box
    A piece of very old wire attached to christmas lights.

    Any ideas would be welcome.

    I had the empty toothpaste tube on my list too but found that these can go to a charity so will be saving them up to give to someone who goes to Sainsburys shopping.


  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen Mattos: Hi Karen, those are exactly the sort of items I would end up throwing away too. I wish I had a magic answer, but unfortunately I don’t! I think it’s a case of prevention wherever possible in the future – perhaps metal hair clips and swapping the nylon shower scrubs for a loofah etc…

  8. Tracey says:

    @ Mrs Green
    Are loofah’s compostable (unlike the nylong shower scrubs)?
    I can’t see any reason they shouldn’t be, but thought I’d better check what you can do with them before I swap… 🙂

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Tracey: Hi Tracey, that’s exactly why we use them – they last for about a year – unbelievably AND you can compost after use because they are basically the skeleton of a cucumber type plant.

  10. Tracey says:

    *adds loofah’s to her shopping list and deletes off the plasticy-ones! 😉

  11. Jennifer Foulds says:

    What can i do with a ton of paper thats printed/written on one side.
    Now ive finished college I have loads of it 🙁
    Im planning to use the blank sides as scrap paper, but theres only so much scrap paper I can use.
    Any ideas?

    • Louise Thomas says:

      Do you know anyone with small children who like to draw? Could pass it onto them so they can use the blank side, my lot always use the one side junk mail as drawing/painting paper.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Jennifer Foulds: Hello Jennifer. I would keep what you can use, and if it’s ok for other people to read what’s printed on the other side, someone from Freecycle might take the rest from you. An artist might be able to use it to make notebooks for example. Otherwise you could print on the otherside for non-important documents you print from your computer. Not sure what else. I can put it out to our community for ideas if you like?

  13. Jennifer Foulds says:

    @Mrs Green:
    Thanks for that, yes it would be nice if you could put it out to the community.

  14. Leonidas says:

    I have a huge old pile of VHS videos + boxes from a bygone age before DVD’s were available. My old VHS player is now fairly defunct, so any ideas how these plastic heavy VHS tapes can be recycled. Feel free to laugh and point if I can just whack them in my plastic recycling bin.

  15. Teresa says:

    Most local authorities will not take them for recycling as they are made out of polypropylene and have the number ‘5’ inside the recycling symbol. The Recycling People in Ross on Wye will take them as long as they are taken apart and the tape inside removed and you will have to pay for postage and packaging. http://www.therecyclingpeople.co.uk.

  16. Teresa says:

    @Jennifer Foulds: I have more scrap paper than I can use, even though I was running out of it, before I started on decluttering hoarded paper work. I get especially annoyed with people or organisations sending out documents that aren’t printed on both sides of the paper and this is why I have so much scrap paper. Using the blank sides for printing out on is OK for draft print outs to be kept temporarily but not for long documents I want to keep or letters I want to send off.

    I shred anything with contact details on or that is embarassing and take down the allotment for composting with horse manure and put some shredded paper in my worm bin for fibre content. I make lists all the time so use it for that otherwise the surplus is placed in the green bags for the council’s door to door recycling.

  17. Teresa says:

    I had a foam frisbee with a hole in the centre that I picked up for free as it was handed out by a Council department for promotion purposes. A small bird or dormouse could get trapped inside the hole so I found another use for it as a trivet for hot saucepans and frying pans.

  18. Mrs Green says:

    @Leonidas: Hi Leonidas; you’ll find all the information you need on this page: http://mzw.wpengine.com/2010/02/how-to-recycle-audio-cassette-tapes/ Although it talks about cassette tapes, it covers VHS video tapes too 🙂

    @Teresa: Loving that reuse idea 😀

  19. GRAHAM says:

    We have recycled for years despite our council Sefton MBC only taking cans ,paper,glass and food in separate containers. We are fortunate in that we can drive to Tesco to dispose of cardboard and plastic in their facilities.Work has a facility for plastic bags so i get rid of them via there. A ferral cats eats all the food waste.

    The point about recycling is that it should be easy for people to do it. I have always been of the opinion that plastic manufacturers should be compelled ( fined if they do not comply!) to make the triangular recycling logo the size of 25% of one side of the item. This will aid recycling as it is very difficult see the logo in order to to separate plastics for kerbside collection as only certain types are wanted. Tesco will take most plastics (not sure if all are recycled?) but what about people who do not have3 access to such facilities?.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    @GRAHAM: Hi Graham, thanks for sharing your experiences of recycling. Yes, figures will improve if we make it as simple as possible; perhaps making it easier to recycle than throw things away even! Great suggestion about larger recycling symbols…

  21. Jane says:

    @GRAHAM: Larger recycling symbols (especially the plastics No) is something that I have campaigned for. We don’t want to have to go and put our glasses on and find a magnifying glass!

  22. Janine Chamon says:

    Temos por aqui muitos produtos em latas. Como aproveita-las?

  23. Mo Kendall says:

    Hello 🙂

    I’m really sorry if the answer to this is on your site – I have searched through but can’t find it. I’m wondering if baking parchment paper can be recycled? The packaging does not day, but does state that it is coated with a silicone-based material. What do other people do with theirs? Many thanks!
    Mo ♥

  24. Catherine Sultana says:

    Hi Mrs. Green,
    I’m in the US and found your blog by way of Bea Johnson and my own initiative. I’m thinking it would be a great article/video if you and she could have a conversation about ZW, doing the freen thing, thoughts on the wave of Baby boomers in our countries, future, etc. I know you’re both busy, but is there a chance? Maybe get Oprah to run it? Good thing you’re doing here!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hey Catherine,

      Good to hear from you – thanks for checking out the site and taking time to leave a comment. Well your idea sounds really interesting. How about you put together 10 questions for us to take a look at?

  25. Helen D says:

    Baking parchment, I wash off the cake bits, dry it and sometimes it keeps whole and I can reuse it, but usually I use old marg and butter wrappers

Leave a Reply to GRAHAM Cancel reply