What to do with fridge magnets

Every year, we seem to receive a deluge of fridge magnets advertising discounts from electricians, plumbers, appliance repairers, general tradesman services, and from politicians, real estate agents, etc etc etc.

I find it hard to throw them away since, after all, they are magnetic and I always reckon that there must be some use that I can put them to. Indeed, I already use a few to hold notes onto my various fridges in different parts of the house but I am accumulating more than I need for the few paper notes that I need to remind me of something or other.

So, I would love to find some other use for them. Has anyone got any creative ideas for finding a useful purpose for all of these soft pliable fridge magnets, please?

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I use a few as temporary labels on leftovers in the freezer in jars with steel lids.

A couple of the full page sized ones have been turned into inch-wide strips for holding bills etc onto the fridge door.

But one side of our fridge is entirely covered in unused bits of plastic magnet because I don’t like to just throw them in a bin, either.

I’m fed up with the constant barrage of the confounded things, especially full-year fully magnetic calendars from real estate companies and politicians. Not content with foisting those on us in December, some of these jerks even gifted us with financial year calendars last month. :angry:

I’d like to see them banned, just as single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic cutlery, etc have been.

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A possible suggestion: kindergartens or primary schools may be able to use them. Paint the surface white and draw letters on them. I’m sure other uses come to mind.

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We attach pictures, badges we have collected in our travels, use them on magnetic notice boards, we hold pins and needles on them, screws when working on laptops and other devices. We find lots of uses.

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A no junk mail notice on the letter box has resolved the problem for our household. We do have a collection of fridge magnets, purposeful and with greater pull than the average promotional magnetic card or calendar.

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If you don’t want them, approach your local kindergarten or prep school, as they will most likely be interested in receiving them

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Might be useful getting in touch with:

https://reversegarbage.org.au

they accept all kinds of materials for reuse.

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Here’s an idea I just came across online - create magnetic jigsaws. Cut up the bits of plastic magnet and stick them to the backs of jigsaw pieces.

If you also made a jigsaw frame with a steel surface, the jigsaw could be set aside on edge, taking up less space, while in progress / completed. It might even be mildly cat-resistant.

Mind you … the pieces of a disassembled magnetic jigsaw could turn into a worse tangle than a bunch of electrical or network cables tossed into a drawer. :slightly_frowning_face:

The idea needs some work.

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If you have chooks you can use the magnets to make them fox proof.

Chop up the magnets and put them in their chook food. They will be able to hang from the roof of the chook house like bats and the foxes will not be able to get them. Don’t let them near the lawnmower however.

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From another topic some time back. For those who have run out of options.

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Cardboard calendars with a small magnet is different to business card type magnets where there is printing on the front of the magnet. The later can’t be recycled.

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No, the magnet – even the small ones on the back of a piece of paper or card – cannot be recycled along with the card or paper it’s attached to. For example,

Recyclopaedia - Magnets | ACT Government

Magnets such as fridge magnets and other small household magnets are not recyclable in ACT recycling bins.

Any plastic magnets that make it to the recycling processing centres might be picked up by the large magnets used for extracting steel items such as cans, but they’d simply be tossed out from there because they can’t be recycled with the metal. Similarly if they get past the steel-catcher to the manual sorting section. They’d just be tossed out, like other items that can’t be automatically sorted (small lids and pieces of cardboard/paper smaller than a credit card, for example).

So if you do put them in the recycling, you’re sending them to landfill anyway.

I found similar statements on various other state/territory government/council websites. Unfortunately, I also found many such entities that provide a recycling calendar / what-goes-where info sheet with fridge magnet attached. :worried:

I saw this statement on one of those, https://cdn.canning.wa.gov.au/media/5w0nzbrp/waste-guide-2024.pdf

Remove magnet before placing this guide in the recycling bin.
Reuse the magnet or place in the general waste bin.

I don’t think I saw the petition below when it was (presumably) circulated in 2021, but I would’ve signed it if I had. Mind you, nothing has come of it yet.

Petition EN3208 - Ban mass distribution of Fridge Magnets | aph.gov.au

Petition Reason

The delivery of fridge magnets via Australia Post mass mail outs (or hand delivery) is environmental vandalism as the vast majority end up in landfill, without ever being used. On average, our household receives 1-2 per week, nearly every week of the year. At 10g each (assuming only 1 per week) that is 1/2 kilo of plastic/magnetic waste our household adds to landfill every year! With 40 households in our street we are contributing 20kg per year or, as a nation of over 8 million households, this equates to over 4 million KGs per year in Australia alone! The production process is also unsustainable as Magnets are made from non-renewable rare-earth metals which are mined causing significant destruction and degradation of natural ecosystems. Even if companies are using recycled materials the energy and resources used to create an item that generally is thrown straight into landfill is irresponsible and completely unnecessary.

Petition Request

We therefore ask the House to make the mass distribution of Fridge Magnets illegal as the vast majority end up in landfill and are an unnecessary burden on our fragile environment.

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Steel cans are sorted after paper/card, so not an issue.

If it is a small vinyl/flexible magnet (say about the size of a postage stamp) on the back of a card calendar (about the size of an envelope), these can be recycled. The magnet is removed through the paper/card recycling process no differently to plastic tape or envelope windows (or even staples). These plastic materials are removed and go to landfill while the paper/cardboard is recycled into new products.

As you have outlined, to prevent the magnet going to landfill, one can remove and repurpose them.

Most business card type fridge magnets are smaller where printing is applied to the whole of the magnet surface. I have seen one calendar of similar construction rather than that outlined above from a local real estate agent. These are smaller and can’t be recycled in a recycling bin. These can easily be repurposed/reused until they lose their magnetism.

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At which point in time - landfill or recycling?
Ultimately we own the problem. My first choice is to minimise acquiring an endless supply.

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I understand when working in the industry, they can’t be recycled. I haven’t checked, but there might be someone willing to accept vinyl magnets for recycling by sending them directly to them.

If one can’t find one, they will go to landfill in the general waste bin.

I agree, but they appear in sent letters, samples from businesses, in bags given away at events/conferences etc. We try not to acquire them, but still get a handful each year from local MP, real estate and odd tradie which send them by post - to bypass junk mail signage.

When we get to many, we give them to a local kindergarten or school.

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My opening comments previously. We agree on that.

Perhaps I was misunderstood. I was previously referring to those which are printed solely onto the face of the material. No separate card.

It’s great that a kindy etc may find a use for the used magnetic material. Ultimately it becomes their problem, to dispose of. Better not to IMHO.

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  • glue photos of family members onto the magnets
  • Print out “Clean” and “Dirty” labels and make a dishwasher magnet to show your household what’s what
  • Decoupage (How to Make DIY Fridge Magnet with Decoupage Technique - GreenLOG)
  • Make a fridge magnet tangram
  • Tote bag magnetic closer - glue on magnets to tote bag opening
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There are some great ideas there. Thanks!

I have a box of adhesive labels that comprise two labels to an A4 sheet that are for use in a printer. it would be dead easy to print things on those labels at the right size and stick them on to the fridge magnets. Maybe pictures of animals rather than family members. Or maybe, the instructions as to how to transfer calls on our telephones that can go on the bar fridge beside my computer desk. ( I already have those instructions there but not in a very neat way.)

There is no shortage of fridge magnets that arrive in our letterbox several times per year.

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Hopefully no more than one can find space for on the fridge door. What next when there is no more room left on the fridge door? The option of buying a second fridge could be one solution? :joy:

More seriously is there a point in time at which one already has more fridge magnets than one can use or find recipients for as giveaways? And what for those in the community who see the plasticised strips as nothing more than another ecological waste disaster we don’t really need?

  • They are a product if one follows the discussion in the topic unable to be readily recycled by home owners.
  • Can they go into the same processing stream as used car tyres?
  • If so should the businesses using/producing the magnetic products be legally required to take the used magnetic material back at no cost with the responsibility for recycling?
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Once you run out of pets photos to stick onto the magnets the problem
still remains of what to do with the inordinate amount of magnets you receive @CharlevilleCharlie
It seems to me that the problem needs to be tackled from the perspective of minimising the number of magnets being placed in your letterbox in the first place and hopefully the following article from ‘clean up’ will help.
Please note that Political, religious, charitable, material is exempt from No Junk Mail signage. But, it could be forwarded ‘Return to sender’ free of postage.
Anything political, including magnets, coming from a local office or an address of a politician in our suburb, could be personally returned to that address to be disposed of by them.

From cleanup.org.au

Junk Mail

By taking the following steps to reduce the junk mail that ends up in your letterbox you are helping to minimise water and paper resource waste:

  • Place a No Advertising Material sticker on your letter box. The stickers are available free of charge from the Distribution Standards Board. Call 1300 083 241 for more information.

  • Report irresponsible distribution of junk mail. Report any junk mail which is littered, delivered in duplicate or delivered to a letterbox with a No Advertising Material sticker on it. Report offenders to the Distribution Standards Board on 1800 676 136. For more information about the board visit: DSB Standards - The Real Media Collective

  • Register your details on the Consumer Do Not Contact Opt Out Service. Including yourself on this list will ensure that you are not contacted by 500 members of the Australian Direct Marketing Association. These members include banks, insurance companies, publishers, catalogue and mail order companies and charities who contact consumers via: mail, telephone, direct response television, the internet and mobile phones.

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