I admit it — sometimes, I’m lazy when it comes to recycling. I don’t want to take the extra ten minutes a week to clean and sort my recyclable items. Most of us already know which items to recycle every day, our paper, plastic, and glass. But what about all of the other things we collect and eventually throw away? Which of those should we be recycling? Here’s my list of the ten things you should always recycle… some of these may surprise you!
Photo Credit: JustABigGeek
Whether you’ve got a drawer full of old cell phone batteries or just used-up AA’s from your TV remote, it’s always a great idea to recycle them. Batteries contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and they’re relatively easy to recycle. Here in the States, most post offices and office supply stores have bins where you can just drop off your old batteries. If you don’t think you’ll take the time to recycle your batteries, then invest in the kind you can recharge. Brilliant!
Photo Credit: bitsandbobbins
Every few months, I clean out my closet and get rid of everything I haven’t worn in a year. There’s usually nothing wrong with these clothes; I just don’t wear them anymore. So rather than throwing them away, I donate them to a charity or host a clothing swap with my girlfriends. Why should clothes end up in a landfill, unless they’re too ugly to go on?
Photo Credit: Richelle Ludwick
Like batteries, appliances contain chemicals that are poisonous and dangerous. Also, they’re made of materials that can easily be recycled. They’re also gigantic, and can take up unnecessary space in a landfill. There are hundreds of scrappers who are delighted to make pick-ups… take the extra time to find one, and recycle your appliances! That goes for computers, printers, and other electronics, working or not, too!
Photo Credit: craigmdennis
Glass is easy to recycle and to reuse, so you never have to throw it away. Small jars and bottles can be used to store little craft items like beads and sequins, and larger ones can be used as flower vases and to collect coins. If you can’t figure out what to do with that empty pasta sauce jar, then rinse well, peel off the label, and recycle it.
Photo Credit: snowingindoors
We use so much cardboard… think about it! Cereal boxes, shoe boxes, the box from our granola bars and Pop Tarts… and cardboard comes from trees. So save a tree and recycle your paper products, including cardboard. Go a step further and buy products that use as little paper packaging as possible, or ones that use recycled cardboard.
Photo Credit: willycoolpics.
Each year, I host a book swap, where my friends and I trade books we no longer want for books we really want. The ones that have been passed over are then donated to a used book store, where someone else can buy them for a steal. Books are made of paper, so they really should never end up in a landfill!
Photo Credit: surlygrrrl [ELBfoto]
For years, I kept my old prescription eyeglasses because I didn’t know what to do with them. Then I saw an ad from my local Lions Club, asking for donations of old eyeglasses. They evaluate them to get the prescription, clean them, then give them to low-income people who need them. Much better than throwing them away, or letting them take up space in your accessories drawer, right?
Photo Credit: Reclaim2Fame
According to Waste Management, one of the largest recycling companies here in the States, the most valuable item that often gets thrown away, rather than recycled, is metal. Metal, as in tin cans. Most municipalities that offer curbside recycling accept cleaned, flattened cans, so take the extra time to recycle them. If you don’t want to, or can’t, then try making something out of your old cans, like this adorable little dog…
9. Water Bottles
Photo Credit: Megan Caros
A whopping 90% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills, where they take thousands of years for the plastic to decompose. That’s almost sinful, isn’t it? So either recycle your water bottle, or stop buying them altogether. If you’re not able or inclined to recycle, opt for one of those reusable stainless steel bottles, instead.
10. Home Improvement Items
Photo Credit: gogo159
What to do with your old ceiling fan, light fixtures, doors, windows, flooring, décor, and even furniture? Recycle it! There are dozens of charities that would be delighted to have your old décor and furnishings, and Habitat for Humanity would love your unused (or gently used) improvement materials.
Most of us don’t even think before we toss some of these things into the trash bin. But now we will! What things do you make sure to recycle, and how? What other ways do you know in which we can help our environment? Please let me know!
Top Photo Credit: Shot By Sarah Photography