Monthly Archives: July 2014

5 Home Improvements to Keep You Busy This Summer

DIY

With the days now longer and the weather much warmer, the season for home improvement is well and truly upon us. Here a handful of projects for your house that are certain to keep you occupied this summer.

1. Maintain your garden

British winter can cause no end of damage to a garden, with flooding and bitterly low temperatures wreaking havoc on your lawn and plant beds. Spend some time rejuvenating your grass and planting new flowers as well as weeding and fence repairing. A rewarding project to undertake whose benefits are immediate to behold.

2. Paint a room in your home

Redecorating a bedroom or lounge is a relatively easy way to revitalise an element of your home. Whether updating the current colour scheme or embarking on a total change, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the aesthetic look of a room, and it is a summer task to carry out indoors if the heat becomes unbearable.

Sun hand

3. Install solar panels

Solar panels are an incredibly sensible and efficient addition to make to any household. With the potential to provide hot water and heating all year round, solar panels are becoming almost a must have in contemporary society. A great project to undertake that gives huge benefit for a fairly low difficulty process.

4. Install a patio or decking

It’s a large operation, but committing to adding a patio or decking can really open up your garden to an array of possibilities. A separate space to your lawn can house a BBQ area, a set of comfortable garden furniture, or even a dedicated outdoor area for growing fruit and vegetables.

5. Renovate your bathroom

The bathroom can sometimes be an under-appreciated room in the home with regards to routine maintenance. When you consider how much time an entire family must spend in there, it adds up to being one of the most used rooms in the house. A total revamp of wall and floor tiles as well as the possibility of new facilities can really add value to your home and is an immensely rewarding project to carry out.

Regardless of the project you choose, make sure to have a skip on hand ready for the mess. And most importantly, have fun with your project! 

How to Recycle Your Old Useless Computer

Computers - Old and broken

Nothing lasts forever and even the most reliable of computers will need to be replaced some day. The problem many people face when that day comes is what to do with their old machine.

Electronic waste is becoming a major landfill issue as computers contain toxic substances and metals. If you care about the environment, then you really should consider recycling your old computer rather than throwing it away.

In 2007, new legislation was passed which requires users to store, treat, dispose of or recycle electronic goods separately from other waste. Most people do not understand these requirements so it’s easy to feel frustrated.

However, disposing of computers isn’t as difficult as you may believe. Here’s three ways to recycle your devices safely as well as an important step you must take.

Manufacturer disposal

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive states that manufacturers now must contribute to the recycling of goods. Most have counted the cost of collecting goods and recycling them in the price you paid originally for your computer and can easily arrange collection.

Typically, the items are de-manufactured, with materials such as metals being melted down and remoulded for new products and plastic being used in things such as toys.

The schemes help to reduce the amount of computers being sent to landfill sites as well as provide raw materials for new items.

Find a professional waste disposal company

If you do not wish to contact the manufacturer then you should consider using a professional waste disposal company.

There are a number of skipping companies around the country that carry Waste Carriers Licences and can recycle items on your behalf in the same manner as manufacturers. They provide a very convenient and WEEE compliant way of disposing of computers, leaving you to concentrate on more pressing areas of your life.

Make a charitable donation

Just because your computer seems useless to you, doesn’t mean it won’t be good for someone else.

A number of charities now collect old computers so that they can be used again in developing countries. Even machines that are at death’s door are worth donating as the charity may be able de-manufacture them or re-use some of their parts.

Security

Before recycling any computer you must ensure that it no longer contains any of your personal information. The last thing you want is for your credit card and bank details to fall into the wrong hands and merely deleting files isn’t enough as traces will still exist on the hard drive.

Thankfully, there are number of programs out there which can complete this task for you. Software like VCOM SecurErase and Active@Killdisk will work through the drive and erase all the data.

When Did We Start Recycling?

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Recycling as a practice has existed for hundreds of years. The first recorded example of what we know of as recycling was in Japan in 1031 with the recycling of old paper to make new paper. Recycling as a more personal concept has existed for thousands of years though. Family units in pre-industrialised societies have always looked to reuse and recycle as production was much harder prior to the industrial revolution and just throwing things away was not a viable option. Whether it was mending and passing on clothes or making new furniture out of old, recycling was happening all year round.

In terms of modern recycling methods one of the earliest examples is The Ritten House Mill just outside of Philadelphia PA where old cloth and linen rags were turned into paper as early as 1690. This process was revolutionised in 1801 at a mill in England where Matthias Koop managed to extract the ink from paper and make it serviceable for reuse. The venture didn’t last long but it had all the markings of modern recycling.

Throughout the 19th Century recycling was used in a multitude of ways. Whether it was The Salvation Army collecting and recycling unwanted items or Peddlers in America making money of the resale of discarded good, recycling continued to grow. In 1897 New York created the first materials recovery facility, a recycling centre to us. This facility allowed people to drop of their rubbish where it would be sorted, categorised and picked up for reuse where possible. They would take in and look for everything from common materials such as glasses, metals and papers as well as more unique things such as burlap bags and horsehair.

It’s really in the 20th Century though that the world got it’s recycling game together. With materials like aluminum coming into more common use and greater modernisation, the world finally had the means and opportunity to recycle in an exceptional fashion.

Through World War Two an enormous amount of materials were reused and recycled to help
with the war effort. After the war and up until now we’ve seen not only the availability of recycling services grow but also the knowledge of how important it is as well.
With an ever growing population using more and more resources I think we can all see how important it is to be as mindful of what we throw away.

Looking After Your Garden This Summer

garden hose

 

British summers are more renowned for their rainfall than their sun, but summer weather can play havoc with your garden. A few basic preparations and a maintenance routine, however, can protect your plants and keep your garden looking lovely right through to the end of the year.

You can prevent damage from drought without getting caught up in hosepipe ban arguments by preparing the ground around your plants with additional mulch or gravel. These conserve water and prevent drying out.

Work out the longest you can bear your lawn to be, and only cut it to this length. Long blades of grass dry out much slower, and they also retain their colour better in hot weather.

If you’re a green fingered greenhouse owner, fit shades to your greenhouses and cold frames to cut down on direct sunlight that can burn and wilt plants. If possible, ventilate them daily to allow heat to dissipate.