When it comes to recycling, most of us think the same thing: paper, aluminum and plastic. Much of the nation uses recycling bins provided by their refuse company, making it easy to recycle common household items. It’s time to think beyond soda cans; there are things that can be recycled that you may never have considered. Here are 10 of them:
What do you do with your old, dirty shoes? If you’ve got shoes that you don’t wear any more, you probably throw them away. Rather than adding to the close to 250 million tons of trash produced by Americans every year, recycle your old shoes. Shoes from Crocs to Nike’s can be recycled and put to better use.
Instead of tossing your broken-down bike into the trash, recycle it. If you have a bike shop in your area, find out if they accept old bikes. Many bike shops will refurbish your bike and, in turn, donate it to a shelter. If you don’t have a bike shop in your area, refurbish the bike yourself and give it to someone in need.
Don’t throw your broken, worn-down crayons away. The National Crayon Recycle Program will take your used crayons and recycle them into new ones. The program is so popular that it has saved close to 90,000 pounds of crayons from coloring landfills.
Sunglasses, prescription glasses, readers and frames can all be put to better use than filling your garbage can. There are groups who will take your glasses, sort them by type and prescription and give them to people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
Do you have a junk car sitting in your driveway? If so, it’s time to sell it for cash. Companies that purchase old cars piece them out and recycle them. Your tires may end up in a child’s playground, your windows could end up in someone’s new countertops, and your battery may end up in someone else’s car.
No, not the peanuts that you eat; those pesky packaging peanuts that end up all over your home when you open a box. Packaging peanuts don’t break down, making them horrible for the environment. Gather your peanuts and head down to your local UPS or FedEx; shipping companies will happily take them off of your hands.
7. Prosthetic Limbs
Because of legal issues surrounding medical devices, prosthetic limbs can’t be given to another patient once they no longer work for the original wearer. They can, however, be disassembled and shipped to underdeveloped countries. There, they will be reassembled and used for victims of disasters.
8. Sandwich Bags
Unfortunately, sandwich bags can’t be recycled with your plastics. Think of how many of these little bags you throw away each year. Instead of throwing them away, find an in-store recycling center and start collecting your rewards.
9. Wine Corks
If you’re a wine drinker, you can only save so many corks before you start throwing them away. People in America consume over 850 million gallons of vino each year; that’s a lot of corks. Recork.org is glad to accept as many corks as you would like to send in order to create new products with them.
If you use one of the many popular Brita pitchers, you can send your old filters in to a company called Preserve. The company will turn your filters into toothbrushes and other items made of 100-percent recycled materials.
The next time you have something that you think needs to go to the curb, stop a moment. You may have something that can be recycled. A simple Internet search will tell you if there’s a company that would be happy to take the item off of your hands.
Writer Norma Strother is an avid blogger. Interested in unique ways of recycling your useless possessions? Click here to see how you could recycle your old cars.