10 Things You Can Recycle You Didn't Know You Could

recycle-center.jpg

If you're like us you hate throwing anything in the regular garbage. It seems like such a, pardon the pun, waste. But there's some stuff you just don't know what to do with. Check out our list plus a refresher on what can go in your city's recycle bin, after the jump...


  1. Wine corks: Yemm & Hart (www.yemmhart.com), which produces recycled building materials, turns used corks into floor and wall tiles.
  2. Foam packaging: Lightweight "peanuts" made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) contain 25 to 100 percent recycled material. The Plastic Loose Fill Council (www.loosefillpackaging.com) has a "Peanut Hotline" (800-828-2214) you can call to find local recycling centers, including chain-store shippers such as Pak Mail and The UPS Store. To recycle large, molded chunks of EPS used to cushion televisions, air conditioners and such, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers (www.epspackaging.org).
  3. Potato chip bags and those other foil packaging that often are used to wrap up junk food can be recycled at Terracycle.net.
  4. 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.
  5. CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges: 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. 800/305-GREENDISK, www.greendisk.com.
  6. 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: 888/454-3223, www.auraltech.com.
  7. Phone Books: If your local recycling center accepts phone books, drop them off there. Otherwise contact the closest Project ReDirectory center. Find your local center with an Internet search or by contacting the company issuing the directories.
  8. CFLs: Many people already know that IKEA accepts your old CFLs. So do many hardware and home improvement stores though they may charge if you're not replacing an old bulb with a new one. LampRecycle.org lists businesses and organizations that will recycle these bulbs.
  9. Carpets, Rugs, Padding: There are places that will try to recycle used carpets and rugs rather than toss them into landfill. To recycle yours (depending on your area) try checking with the Carpet America Recovery Effort, UGA Carpet Recycling Resource, the California Intergrated Waste Management Board or any other number of organizations geared towards recycling.
  10. Old Medicine: Rather than tossing it into the toilet (where it can end up in the water supply) or in the garbage, why not recycle it? Some states have enacted drug recycling programs including: So far, the following states have recycling programs: AK, CO, IL, KS, MA, MN, NE, NM, NY, OK, PA, SC, WV. Check the National Conference of State Legislatures website for updated information.
  11. Paper Towels and Napkins: If you live in Canada and don't compost, Partners for a Green Hill has a program just for old napkins and paper towels. Click here for more info.

And, if you need a refresher on what can go into your city's recycling bin, click here.

Image: AT:LA via Living, Etc

16 Comments