The hot new trends in recycling

There are more ways to save resources than simply putting your plastic bottles into a recycling bin. Here are five innovations that are turning the recycling business on its head.

Recycled fashion has gone global

Ever wondered where old clothes go? Nowadays, they’re likely to be shipped to somewhere such as India, where workers sort through an ocean of cast-offs from rich nations. Valuable items such as designer-label jeans might make another journey to be sold in a developing country. Less marketable clothes are given away, or salvaged for their zips and buttons. Anything that’s left goes into a shredder, which re-spins fibres into yarn to make blankets for aid organisations.

You can help by donating your unwanted clothes rather than throwing them away.

Tinder for clothes

Person A has a warm coat to donate. Person B needs a winter wardrobe. Sure, they can both make use of a Vinnies store, but that means Person A doesn’t get to make a difference face-to-face. Enter WeCount, an app developed in Seattle to help the homeless.

WeCount allows Person A to alert app users they have a coat (or sleeping bag, or anything else that could be useful). Person B then claims the donation. The app gives both people directions to a safe public drop-off location. There’s no WeCount style app in Australia, but it can only be a matter of time.

Plastic-waste-powered 3D printing

In the future, rather than going to the shopping mall for a new suit, you’ll be able to log onto your computer, check out some options online, then have your 3D printer act as a cyber seamstress.

While waiting for that happy day, you can back the Kickstarter project Renegade. 3D printing requires (usually expensive) raw material to print with. But what if there was a technology that allowed you to slice up used plastic bottles and use the resulting slivers to 3D print things? That’s the vision Renegade is trying to make a reality.

Robot recycler

Recycling might be important but it’s often also tedious. Wouldn’t life be easier if you could just throw things in a big container equipped with sensors, cameras, metal detectors and motors that would sort your garbage into the correct compartments? Start-up CleanRobotics has invented the Trashbot to do just that. It’s currently being beta tested in the US and will hopefully go into commercial production soon.

The new minimalism

Many of us now have too much stuff. Tubs full of clothes we never wear and drawers full of gadgets we never use. Unsurprisingly, there’s a growing trend for people to sell or donate things they no longer use, and to think twice about purchases.

Whether it’s Marie Kondo urging people to declutter or Buy Nothing New Month encouraging people to avoid purchasing anything in October other than second-hand items, there’s a growing awareness that it makes economic and environmental sense to extract the maximum benefit from every item we own.

Whether you’re looking to pass on your unloved goods to someone who’ll appreciate them (and make some money in the process) or snap up a bargain on quality electronic goods or sporting equipment, check out Cash Converters’ online and be part of the recycling revolution.











Elicia Murray

Elicia Murray is veteran journalist and expert bargain hunter. She has written and edited for titles including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and The Huffington Post Australia. After watching too many Scandinavian crime series, she has also developed an obsession with Danish homewares and design. When she's not writing, she can often be found attending open homes. For fun.


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