Surprising Things You Can Recycle

Surprising Things You Can Recycle
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    Spring cleaning, moving or just shoveling out the closet or the junk drawer may present you with items that raise a question about whether they are recyclable.

    Recycling centers can handle more kinds of materials than you might think.


Here’s a list of surprising things you can recycle. Your local public solid waste agency may take these items, or if they don’t, there are several non-profit organizations that specialize in recycling some of them.

Local food and electronics stores may have specialized recycling bins, or the original manufacturer may take them back. They might even send you a replacement or a refill.


As streaming replaces physical media for playing music, you may find yourself with a stack of old CDs that you don’t use anymore.

Scratched CDs can be refurbished, and those that are beyond repair or that you just don’t want anymore can go to a recycling center that accepts them, or to the CD Recycling Center of America.


Most textiles are reusable in some way. If the item is still wearable, donate it to a shelter, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army.

Stained or torn clothing might go to a pet shelter to use as animal bedding. Some local solid waste agencies have drop-off bins for textiles.

These clothes will ultimately be repurposed as material for furniture batting, insulation, or other such uses.


Some batteries can be recycled. Contact your local agency or an electronics recycler in your area to find out if they’ll take what you’ve got.


Pharmacies that participate in recycling programs may take your empty inhalers. Tens of millions of people use these every day, and recycling them saves an incredible amount of waste.


Don’t forget to recycle broken staplers with your other office recyclable office supplies. Metals and plastics in some of these handy tools are recyclable and the metal staples themselves don’t break down in landfills.

There are, however, different kinds of staplers, so make sure to determine if your stapler is recyclable. Find a recycler or a scrapyard that will take your staplers when they’ve lost their punch.

Holiday Lights

There’s always that one string of lights that winks out every year, even though you just bought it last year. Take it to your local recycling center or big-box hardware store, where they may have a bin for them. Online retailers of LED holiday lights may give you a coupon or a discount in exchange for recycling your old lights.

other valuable tips:

Wine Corks

Check your local wine store and ask if they recycle corks. Natural cork is getting rarer, and an organization called ReCORK runs a large program to recycle natural cork into other useful products like insoles for shoes and yoga blocks.

Makeup and Toothbrushes

You might find it surprising that these items can be recycled, but makeup comes in plastic containers, and non-electric toothbrushes are usually made of plastic. These can go for recycling.

Before you toss something in the garbage to head for the landfill, do a little research and find a way to reuse or recycle it. The earth appreciates it.

Image Credit: recycle by Pixabay

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Krayton M Davis

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