Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s a phrase everyone is familiar with, but how seriously do you take it? Even if you’re particularly waste-conscious, you probably throw away more than you would like to, which is why you make an effort to recycle whatever you can.
Now, everyone knows you can recycle newspaper, aluminum cans and glass bottles, but there are plenty of other things you can recycle that might surprise you. Clean up your act and start recycling more than just the basics.
- Appliances: Take working appliances to Goodwill for a nice tax write-off. Even if the appliance is no longer functional, a steel recycling plant can recycle it for you.
- Computers and electronics: Many responsible recyclers will take old electronics off your hands.
- Batteries: Both rechargeable and single-use batteries are recyclable. Don’t just toss them in the recycle bin, however; you need a special recycle container specifically for batteries.
- Ink and toner cartridges: Many new ink packages come with an envelope for you to return your used cartridge for recycling. Some places even pay you to recycle empty ink and toner cartridges.
- Cell phones: Contact a local agency or drop old cell phones off at electronics stores to be reprogrammed and given to the needy.
- CDs/DVDs: Instead of giving up on scratched disks, send them to a CD refinishing company to get them working like new again.
- Compact fluorescent bulbs: This is not only something you can recycle, but something you should recycle. Proper fluorescent bulb recycling prevents mercury from being released into the environment. Plus, components in the bulb can be reused if you recycle them. Contact your local waste collection agency for recycling information.
- Cardboard: Never toss out old cardboard boxes again. Instead, plan to leave them at the curb for the recycling truck. Even cereal boxes and other packaging are things you can recycle. You can also stack used cardboard boxes in a cardboard-only dumpster, donate them to local nonprofits, or offer them to friends for moving or storage purposes.
- Packing peanuts: These and other foam packing materials are often accepted by local pack-and-ship companies for reuse.
- Clothes: Donate gently used clothes your family either grew out of or simply no longer wear to Goodwill or a homeless shelter. A clothing swap is a great way for your friends and colleagues to save on school clothes for the kids.
- Eyeglasses: Donate them to an eye care chain to be reground and given to those in need.
- Toothbrushes and razors: Start by purchasing a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor. When you’re done with it, return it to the company to be recycled back into plastic lumber.
Clearly, there are many things you can recycle that you never thought about before! Consider contacting manufacturers who make things that can’t be recycled and ask them to close the waste loop by rethinking their manufacturing process. Together, producers and consumers can create a more waste-free world.