7 Things you can recycle that will surprise you
Last updated: May 3, 2021
When trying to reduce the waste in your home, you notice just how many necessary household items don’t fit into the typical recycling categories. The local recycling center only takes a portion of the waste we produce, not everything comes in cardboard, paper, an aluminum can, or a plastic or glass bottle. As it turns out, there’s a lot of surprising recyclable items that we throw away every day.
Luckily, with a little research, much more of your household waste can be recycled, lightening the load on landfills and carbon emissions.
Of course, in a perfect world, everything would be compostable. However, recycling can drastically reduce the energy needed to create a new product. There has been some worry lately about where our recycled items go, now that some countries have stopped accepting our goods. In our minds, if we show ToDey that there’s a need and desire for responsible recycling, tomorrow we might have a better answer.
What Americans have historically thought of as the least environmentally friendly shipping material is now recyclable! In fact, the EPS Recycling Report found that 113 million pounds of it was recycled in 2018 alone. Check their site for drop off locations and mail in options to recycle your own packing materials.
These have long been considered items that were destined for landfills. What else can you do with plastic coated metals and complicated computer parts and screens? Now, a company called Greendisk takes the guesswork out of dealing with your technotrash. They will erase and send you proof of IP deletion, then refurbish what they can, recycling all the rest.
Recycle inhalers and medications
Though it’s not common knowledge, many local pharmacies and police departments participate in recycling programs for inhalers, medications and more. These items are then securely disposed of, minimizing hazard and waste.
I never considered the waste impact of a mattress until I had to get rid of one. While there isn’t a standard place for everyone to recycle their mattresses, ByeByeMattress has compiled a list of recycling facilities and collection sites that accept mattresses.
Recycle holiday lights
It seems that every year when decorating, a string or two of lights end up in the trash, having shorts in the line or too many bulbs burnt out. But what else can you do? The bulbs aren’t recyclable, and even if you went through and took all of them off, the metal is coated in PVC. Holiday LEDs minimizes holiday waste by doing the work for you. After removing the bulbs, the strings are ground and separated, and all recyclable items are sent to relevant recycling centers. You’ll also get a coupon to buy longer lasting LED holiday lights.
Recycle wine corks
This is another item you just don’t consider recyclable, but totally necessary. If you’re like me, there was a time you kept your wine corks thinking you would do something creative with them, but at some point dumped them all in the trash. ReCORK is an outstanding company that gives you the option to drop your wine corks into bins throughout the United States. ReCORK then turns your corks into shoes and other goods that are carbon negative. Wow – carbon negative!
Recycle aerosol containers
Because aerosol is considered a hazardous material, disposal depends on the resources where you live. In some places, they can be thrown in with steel recycling, in others they need to go to special facilities or be transported to areas with the infrastructure to handle it. Luckily, Earth911 has tools to find out exactly what you should do with yours.