Things You Might Not Know You Can Recycle, And Where To Recycle Them.


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Co-op America has a great list up today of 21 different things that you might not know you can recycle. Granted, some of them are pretty basic, but there are also a few surprises on the list. Here is the basic list:

1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them.

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions.

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local or on for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new.

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. Donate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling.

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national.

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.

12. Ink/toner cartridges: pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local or, or try giving them away at or giving or selling them at will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000,

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to someone in a developing country. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims. Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere.

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet.

17. “Technotrash”: Easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, cell phones, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees.

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups.

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.

If you don’t visit Co-op America often, you are missing out on some great eco-information. Be sure to bookmark them or sign up for their newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

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  1. thanks for the tip on techno trash. My husband is an IT guy and we have more techno gadgets and gizmos and cables and junk than anyone I know, of course he doesn’t think any of it is junk 🙂 but really, it’s just sitting around. I think i’ll email him the link as a little hint hint nudge nudge. 🙂

  2. This is one of your best posts! I had no idea some of these things (like “block” styrofoam, as opposed to packing peanuts) could be recycled.

    I do have a question for you and your readers. Non-corrugated cardboard (cereal boxes and the like) are a large component of our home waste stream. Our local curbside recycling program, which is otherwise good, recycles only corrugated cardboard. Have you heard of any places to recycle the non-corrugated stuff?

  3. Your recycling program doesn’t take empty cereal boxes? Weird, I thought all of them did. We just put ours out with the rest of the stuff and they take it all. I haven’t heard of anywhere that just takes that kind of stuff…readers? Anyone else heard of this?

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