If being kind to the environment is important to you, it’s likely that you already recycle several objects, like plastic, glass, metal and cardboard. It’s possible that you even recycle your food waste and that you have a compost pile in your backyard. However, you’re just scratching the surface of everything you can recycle. Add these ten items to your “To Recycle” list!
10 Things You Never Knew You Could Recycle
Guest Post by Jessica Kane
1. VHS Tapes
If you have old VHS cassettes lying around, it’s time to recycle them! There are plenty of companies out there that will recycle technological trash for you. One of these companies is Green Disk, a Washington-based company that recycles all forms of e-waste. In Australia, you can go to Business Recycling to find a local company that recycles video tapes. Once they take the tapes apart, they shred them and then turn them into new items, like product packaging.
2. Packing Peanuts
You probably assume that styrofoam peanuts can’t be recycled, but they actually can! Packaging stores like UPS and FedEx will reuse your old styrofoam peanuts. In Australia, companies like the Perry Street Recycling Centre will recycle your packing peanuts which are comprised of polystyrene foam.
In the past, most people didn’t recycle batteries. Today though, stores like Office Depot and RadioShack will accept your old batteries to recycle them. You can also send your batteries to the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation to have them recycled. In Australia, you can visit the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI).
If your little ones love to color, you probably go through crayons pretty quickly. You probably also have a lot of small, broken and unusable crayons laying around. The Crazy Crayons organization will take these old crayons, melt them down and turn them into new ones! The same can be found in Australia through the Australian Crayon Recyclers.
5. Cell Phones
You may send your old cell phone back to the company every time you want to upgrade, but if you recycle it, you may be able to help out a person in need. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that less than 20% of cell phones are recycled every year, partly because people don’t actually know where to recycle them. The Wireless Foundation will take your old phones, refurbish them and give them to survivors of domestic violence. In Australia, the official recycling program of the Australian Mobile Phone Industry is through MobileMuster where you can rest assure that your old cell phones will be recycled and kept out of landfills.
Instead of chucking your old running shoes, send them into a recycling program, like the Reuse-a-Shoe program from Nike, which will take any shoe brand, not just their own. The sneakers are recycled and given to kids around the world, giving them the opportunity to play. Also, if your sneakers are in good shape still, you can donate them to One World Running and they’ll go to an athlete in the U.S. who’s in need of new sneakers. In Australia, the company Shoes For Planet Earth will recycle your shoes and give them to individuals across international communities.
Every year, over 46 million people throw out their inhalers. This is so much waste that can actually be recycled! The GlaxoSmithKline Complete the Cycle program will take used inhalers and bring them to pharmacies where they’ll be broken down into recyclable plastic and aluminum. This program is available in multiple countries including Australia.
8. Brita Water Filters
If you’re diligent about changing your Brita water filter every few weeks, you end up throwing out several throughout the year. The outer casing of the filters are made from polypropylene plastic, which isn’t frequently recycled, although it can be. The old filters can be donated at Whole Foods or mailed to Preserve Products, which turns them into toothbrushes. Unfortunately, at the time being, Brita Australia does not have a recycling program for their filters. But you can send them an email here to ask them!
9. Wine Corks
Love a glass of red after a long day? Don’t throw those wine corks out! They can be used in everything from flooring tiles and car parts to insulation and sports equipment. Ask your nearby Whole Foods if they have a drop box or send them into an organization like SOLE or ReCORK. In Australia, you can visit Reverse Garbage where they will recycle corks and other items for you.
10. Tights and Pantyhose
Hate the feeling of pantyhose? Get rid of them without creating more waste! Used pantyhose are used for things like carpets, toys, park benches, ropes and playground equipment. No Nonsense, a hosiery company, has its own pantyhose recycling program that accepts every hosiery brand and color. In Australia, there isn’t a recycling program or company that recycles tights and pantyhose but since they are so lightweight, mailing them internationally to No Nonsense’s recycling facility won’t be that expensive and it would help the environment. Or, if you are a bit crafty, here’s some handy tips for reuse that will help keep them out of landfill for longer and can act as a replacement for other items you may buy.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Econoheat., the world’s #1 leading waste oil boiler manufacturer.