Top 50 Things to Recycle and Re-use
But in reality, you can recycle almost anything. Here is a list of 50 common things you can recycle.
1. Cars – Instead of selling your car or sending it to the junk yard, donate it to a charitable organization. Not only will you keep the car out of the landfill, you will receive a tax deduction as well.
2. Clothes – Clothes are one of the easiest things to recycle as so many charitable organizations will accept them such as Goodwill, Veteran’s Support Groups and most churches. In addition, you can possibly sell them at a consignment shop if they are still in good shape and in style.
3. Christmas Trees – Most local city governments set up Christmas Tree recycling drop off’s across the community after Christmas. They will accept the trees free of charge. The trees are generally turned into mulch which is then used in city parks.
4. Food – yes food. Start a compose heap in your backyard. Instead of throwing old food in the trash, throw it in the compost heap. You can use it to fertilize your garden.
5. Food Containers – Before throwing a food container in the trash, check the label to see if it is able to be recycled. Glass jars and bottles, cardboard boxes such as some cereal boxes and paper wrappers can all be recycled in many cases.
6. Computers – If your computer still works, you can donate it to a local library, school system or charity. If it no longer operates, contact your local recycling center. In addition, you can contact a local electronics retailer to see if they have a computer recycling program.
7. Cell phones – There are numerous charities that accept cell phones – notably many charities that assist women. In addition, many companies that can be found online will pay you for your used cell phone if it still works. Finally, cell phone can be recycled for their parts which are re-used in new cell phones.
8. Smoke detectors – Some smoke detectors can be returned to the manufacturer. Check with your manufacturer to see if the recycle your particular model. Some smoke detectors are considered hazardous waste because they contain small traces of Americium 241. If this is the case the manufacturer will recommend they’re disposed of as hazardous waste.
9. Ink Cartridges – Many office supply stores will take these. Some pay per cartridge. Check with you local office supply store.
10. Tires – Tires are horrible for landfills as they take up a lot of space, can leach dangerous chemicals over time and can pose a fire hazard. Tires are taken by local recycling centers and can be used for a variety of purposes such as be shredded for rubber mulch, recycled into new tires, and recycled into rubber containers.
11. Telephones – There are places willing to buy back or accept donations of old telephones. These places refurbish old phones or use the parts and casings for other things. To find out how to dispose of your old telephones, do an Internet search.
12. Magazines – Since magazines are made of paper, all recycling centers and local curbside recycling services will accept them. You can also donate them to local schools or libraries.
13. Foam Packing Material – Most shipping businesses will take your old foam packing material. They will not pay you for it, but the material will be reused.
14. Fluorescent Bulbs – Fluorescent light bulbs contain Mercury which is considered hazardous waste. The mercury in bulbs can be used to make new bulbs. Don’t throw your bulbs in the trash, contact your local recycling center to ask for their hazardous waste recommendations. Also, many hardware and home improvement stores will accept fluorescent bulbs for recycling.
15. Paint – Paint is considered hazardous waste. You cannot dispose of paint by dumping it down a drain or storm sewer. Many recycling centers accept paint which can be blended into some fuels at different manufacturing facilities.
16. PDAs – Recycling PDAs is similar to cell phone recycling. They can be given to charities, exchanged for cash on some sites, or truly recycled for their parts.
17. Motor Oil – If you change your own oil, please don’t pour it down the drain, into a storm sewer or onto the ground. Most oil change and auto parts store will take your used oil for free. They use it to convert back into usable oil products.
18. Bathtubs, toilets and sinks – Many salvage stores will purchase old bathroom fixtures. Contact your local recycling organization to learn how to drop off used fixtures.
19. Books – Books can be donated to schools, libraries and other charities. They can also be recycled at your local recycling center or in your local curbside recycling program.
20. Carpets, Rugs, Padding – There are places that will try to recycle used carpets and rugs rather than toss them into landfill. Check online with the Carpet America Recovery Effort, UGA Carpet Recycling Resource, the California Integrated Waste Management Board or any other number of organizations geared towards recycling.
21. Batteries – If you’re not already using rechargeable batteries, please consider doing so. Most recycling centers will accept batteries, depending on the type. Most auto parts stores will accept car batteries. If you buy a new battery from them, they will give you a discount off the new battery if you bring in your old battery.
22. Plastic Bags – Every supermarket has a bin located at the front for dropping off your plastic bags, even those that are torn. You can also make things from old supermarket plastic bags.
23. CDs/DVDs/Game Discs – There are various for profit businesses that buy or trade used CDs and DVDs and game discs. There are also some businesses that will take scratched discs and refurbish them for resale. Even if they do not pay you for the discs, they will not go into a landfill.
24. Clothing Hangars – Most dry cleaners will accept used clothes hangers. That is the easiest way to recycle them to be used again.
25. Mattresses – Mattresses can be recycled. They’re cleaned, sanitized, re-stuffed and resold or donated to charitable organizations and homeless shelters. For a mattress recycler near you do an Internet search, they’re all over.
26. Leaves – Use your leaves for compost and mulch.
27. Barbecue propane tanks – When refilling your propane tank, most refillers will use your old tank. If you must get rid of a tank, contact your local natural gas and/or propane supply company as they will take them free of charge, even if they are rusted out and/or leak.
28. Sewing machines – Sewing machines can be recycled anywhere that takes scrap metal.
29. Styrofoam containers – Can be recycled at local recycling centers and or local curbside recycling pickup.
30. Televisions – Old TVs fill landfills and can leak dangerous chemicals harmful to animals and humans. If the TV works, you can sell it or give it to charity. If it does not work, most local recycling centers take them free of charge. If you buy a new TV, most TV retailers will also dispose of the TV free of charge.
31. Fencing – Contact your local recycling center or bulk waste center to learn how to dispose of your old fencing material.
32. Fire extinguishers – Contact your hazardous waste center to learn how to recycle your fire extinguisher.
33. Grass clippings – Use your old grass clippings for mulch and compost. Dried grass can also be used to line certain small animal cages.
34. Aluminum cans. What? People have been using their foreheads to crush cans for recycling for, well, a long time. Surely they know what to do with them after that. (I know YOU do!)
35. Old Toys – Toys for Tots collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. http://www.toysfortots.org/
36. Fluorescent Bulbs – Fluorescent light bulbs contain Mercury which is considered hazardous waste. The mercury in bulbs can be used to make new bulbs. Don’t throw your bulbs in the trash, contact your local recycling center to ask for their hazardous waste recommendations. Also, many hardware and home improvement stores will accept fluorescent bulbs for recycling.
37. Paper – Paper of all kinds can be recycling including notebook paper, newspapers, food packaging, etc… All recycling centers take paper and most communities now have recycling programs with curb side pick-up for paper.
38. Cardboard boxes – Many local non-profits and will take them for their personal us. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, UsedCardboardBoxes.com accepts them for resale.
39. Shoes – Charities and thrift shops will accept shoes which can still be used. Nike also has a used show program that sends used athletic shows to Africa and Latin America.
40. Clothes – Clothes are one of the easiest things to recycle as so many charitable organizations will accept them such as Goodwill, Veteran’s Support Groups and most churches.
41. Toothbrushes and Razors – Plastic ones can be recycled back into plastic or plastic lumber.
42. Scrap Metal – Not only can you recycle it, you can earn from it. Scrap metal from construction projects, home remodeling, demolition, etc…
43. Glass – Recycling glass containers of any type is generally about 33% more efficient than producing it from scratch. This saves energy consumption which reduces carbon emissions.
44. Old Jewelry – Most jewelry can be melted down and refashioned into something new for you. Recycle your jewelry and get a new fashion piece at the same time.
45. Wine Corks – Some flooring companies will take used wine corks and turn them into cork flooring. Help build a house with your old wine corks.
46. Old Christmas Lights – How many times have you pulled out the Christmas lights from last year and they did not work? Instead of throwing them away, recycle them. Some lighting companies will take them.
47. Appliances – Washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators are accepted by local thrift shop or charitable organizations of they still work. If not, take them to your local recycling center. They will tear them apart to recycle the various parts such as the metal.
48. Eyeglasses -Old glasses can be donated to many charitable organizations. If you do not know of any, your eye doctor will also take them and send them to a deserving charity.
49. Phone Books – Most recycling centers will accept phone books. If not, when new phone books are delivered each year, the phone book company will set up recycling areas around the community to take the old phone books. Otherwise contact the closest Project ReDirectory center.
50. Hearing Aids – Like eyeglasses, there are many people in need of hearing aids who can’t afford them. Donate your old hearing aids to a variety of charities.
To learn more about Recycling in general, visit http://www.RecyclingCenters.org
RecyclingCenters.org has information on recycling and provides maps of local recycling centers in your area