Earth Day is approaching in a few days so we’re all thinking about ways to improve our relationship with the environment and reduce our impact on the globe. Recycling is one important step to reducing waste that ends up in landfills. Most of us are familiar with the basics of recycling, such as paper, plastic bottles and containers, and cardboard. Today we’re sharing some unusual things to recycle that you may not realize are even recyclable.
Batteries: With all of the portable electronics and toys most of us have in our homes, replacing batteries is commonplace. But don’t toss the batteries in the garbage can. Batteries are among the hardest materials to biodegrade. Instead take them to an electronics store or office supply store that has a battery recycling bin. Also, consider buying rechargeable batteries that will last longer and probably save you some money in the long run.
Prescription Medications: Tossing your medications can not only be bad for the environment, they can also land in the wrong hands and be misused. Participate in community take-back programs if they are offered in your area or talk to your pharmacist about how to dispose of them properly.
Bras: Your old bra may be just the “support” another woman needs. Bra Recyclers accept used bras. Some are distributed to shelters and other facilities for less fortunate women, and some are recycled so textiles don’t end up in landfills.
Greeting Cards: Most of us get many greeting cards every year but don’t know what to do with them when the season is over. Send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children where they can be recycled and sold for money that funds research for childhood diseases.
CDs, Cassette Tapes and VHS Tapes: As you update your music, movie and media collections, consider disposing of your old CDs, cassette tapes and VHS tapes in an environmentally-friendly way. Green Disk is a company that will disassemble these items and turn them into other useful things.
Keys: Keys are pure metal so most recycling facilities will take them. But there are also organizations like Key for Hope that take recycling profits from keys and donate them to charitable causes.
Cell Phones: When you finally spring for a new cell phone, find a way to help others by recycling your old one. First check with your mobile phone provider to see if they have a recycling program. Sometimes they offer credit to your account if you turn in your old phone. Otherwise look for charities like The Wireless Foundation that accept old cell phones to refurbish for people in need.
Sneakers: Donating your old shoes is helpful but for the pairs that are no longer usable by anyone, recycle them. Nike accepts shoes of any brand for recycling and use the materials to make sports courts for children’s play areas.
Plastic Bags: Most supermarkets have bins for plastic grocery bags and produce bags. You can also bring in your re-sealable bags (such as Ziplocs) for recycling.
Wine Corks: After enjoying a bottle of wine, help the environment by recycling your cork. Some grocery stores and wine shops also accept wine corks that can be recycled into shoes, flooring, automotive parts and more.
Cosmetic Containers: When you’ve finished your powder, lipstick or mascara, save the compacts and tubes for recycling. Some make-up brands will accept them back and may give you a freebie when you bring enough recyclables to them.
We hope you put into practice some of these unusual things to recycle. Happy Earth Day!