Plastic has been around and used since the start of the 20th century. It’s strong, hardwearing and non-biodegradable. An international study revealed that we have made so much plastic since the second world war that we could coat our entire planet in clingfilm. The need to look after our planet has never been so apparent.
According to The Guardian, “Plastic now pollutes every corner of Earth”, meaning our environment and oceans are suffering these consequences. Many were unaware just how much plastic was ending up in our oceans, until David Attenborough’s BBC documentary ‘Blue Planet 2’ came onto our screens at the end of 2017. People were shocked at the amount of plastic shown littering our seas and how much wildlife is dying because of it.
Attenborough states at the end of the series, “Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth now depends on us”.
But there are ways of causing less harm to the environment including cutting down on what we throw away and we would do well to bear in mind the mantra; Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.
Fabric can be quite difficult to recycle and it can be almost impossible to recycle curtains using a recycling bin on the street. However, there are ways we can dispose of curtains without putting them into landfill.
If they are still in reasonable condition you can donate your curtains to various charities, such as the British Heart Foundation, The Salvation Army, Age UK and Cancer Research UK. However, it is best to always check to see if your local charity will take your curtains, as the Age UK website has specifically said that they will not accept large bulky curtains. According to the British Heart Foundation website, you can organise a free collection so you wouldn’t need to go out of your way to drop the curtains at a local charity. You can also try selling your curtains on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, or even in person at a car boot sale or your local market place. Otherwise you could be creative with your curtain fabric to turn something old into something new.
If you have a problem with any of these, you could always consider keeping the old curtains and storing them out of the way somewhere. You never know when you might need a furniture/floor cover for your next painting job, or car job, or bike maintenance work that could utilise some fabric covering as a form of protection.
But if you are sure you want to throw out your curtains, you can check to see if your council collects clothes and textiles, including curtains to be recycled. Or you can drop off your unwanted items at recycling points or clothing and textile banks in supermarkets or local car parks. If you are fundraising for a school, church or other organisations, there may be some textile companies who can arrange a collection to help you raise money for the cause.
When it comes to recycling your old metal curtain poles or tracks you can look for a local recycling centre that will take metal. Make sure you take off any plastic that could be present and bear in mind that if your poles or tracks are all plastic then there is little chance of them being recycled. But again, always make sure to contact the local recycling centre first to check they will accept the poles or tracks.
If your curtain pole is wooden or simply in good shape, you can always use it in another part of your interior. For example, you could place it over your fireplace or another desirable place and hang photos and picture frames from the pole. You could also use it to hang pots and pans out of the way in your kitchen. Having a look on Pinterest would be a good idea to get inspiration for upcycling your curtain poles.
If you are wanting to recycle your wooden pole it can be put into your compost, or even burned for heat or energy, although something to bear in mind is that it can be difficult to recycle the wood if it has been threaded, varnished or painted.
Just following one of these ideas will go some way towards saving our planet from plastic waste and pollution. Even though it might seem such a small thing that you will have achieved, think what could be achieved if more people would recycle as much they possibly can. You will feel good knowing you have helped to make the world a better place.