Recycle: The Essential Guide

Editor: Ziggy Hanaor
Pub: Black Dog Publishing
Price: £19.95


Recycle; The essential Guide bookcover‘When it comes to suspicion and conspiracy theories, recycling rivals the assassination of John F Kennedy’, writes Lucy Siegle in her introduction to this refreshingly accessible guide to recycling.

The book seeks to address such suspicions and answer all the simple questions you never asked for fear of sounding stupid: where do my lovingly-rinsed peanut butter jars go? How does my office paper turn into eggshell boxes? It’s all in here, with a detailed glossary and colourful images to make everything just that bit easier to digest.

The guide is conveniently divided into sections: paper, glass, metal, plastic, household and office waste and compost. Each material is defined (What is it? Where is it from? Why do we use it?), and its recycling journey explained (Why is it recycled? How is it recycled? What’s the future of its recycling?). The chapters close with advice about how you can ensure you’re recycling the material correctly.

Eighteen innovative and exciting case studies from around the world are also featured, creating a wider sense of responsibility when it comes to the three Rs. Appropriate waste disposal miraculously becomes an enthralling participatory activity. For example, you can read about volunteers in Dakar who are helping women to construct their own houses using old cans and tyres, or learn how to make your own wormery from bits of old carpet.

It’s true I came over all Blue Peter whilst reading the guide: ‘Why on earth have I never made my own composter before?’, I thought, before considering the practicalities of extending the kitchen using only empty milk bottles and sticky-back plastic... Perhaps a little ambitious, but this is why the book is such a success; it makes recycling transparent and understandable, and therefore full of opportunity.