You Can Recycle Almost EVERYTHING!

You want to do the right thing for the earth, but sometimes trash is unavoidable. So what to do with those difficult to dispose of properly items like styrofoam, batteries, and toothpaste tubes? Well, it may take a bit more effort and a little extra change to get it to the right place, but that place is out there! Here I’ve compiled a list of difficult to dispose of items and how you can properly recycle them. Comment any other suggestions and I’ll add them to the list!
  1. Styrofoam
    1. Packing peanuts. Take them to UPS for reuse! Find a location near you here
    2. Local to Dallas? Take it to Recycle Revolution
  2. Batteries
    1. Call2Recycle is the only organization I found that recycled single-use batteries (AA, AAA, 9v, etc.) and only at participating locations: https://www.call2recycle.org/locator/
    2. Batteries Plus accepts
      • Cars, trucks, and emergency lighting (Lead-acid (Pb) Batteries)
      • Cordless phones, tools, and two-way radiois (Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries)
      • Camcorder, camera, and barcode scanner batteries (Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries)
      • Cell phone and laptop batteries (Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) & Lithium Polymer (Li-Poly) Batteries)
    3. Best Buy accepts all rechargeable batteries
  3. Electronic waste. Best Buy has run its e-waste recycling program since 2009 and accepts items such as wires, cords, CDs, cables, phone chargers, and cell phones for free at the kiosks inside the doors of every store.IMG_0058
  4. Gift cards/credit/debit/loyalty cards.
    1. These can also be recycled at Best Buy!
    2. Or they can be sent to Earth Works. A company that melts them down and recycles the PVC to make ID cards and the like out of the recycled plastic http://www.earthworkssystem.com/consumers.html
  5. Lightbulbs
    1. florescent/compact florescent CFLs
    2. Batteries Plus accepts the following, fees may apply
      • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, Fluorescent Tubes, Circular Fluorescent, U Bend Fluorescent, Plastic Coated and Shatter Shield, Spot/Flood Lamps, UV and Germicidal Lamps, Incandescent, Halogen, Cold Cathode, Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, Mercury Vapor, BallastsE8A988CF-0950-4CF8-BE4D-EC229D0E320A
  6. Toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes+caps, toothpaste carton, toothbrush outer packaging, and floss containers
    1. Find a local TerraCycle Oral Care Recycling box or suggest your dentist order one as a way for their business to help the environment and offer more value to their clients
    2. Download a free shipping label here, limited time only! https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/colgate
    3. Cut the top off your toothpaste tube, rinse and dry thoroughly before recycling. First check to see if your municipal recycling accepts them since not all equipment can separate plastic #4, aluminum, or plastic aluminum composite42FAE294-7192-4149-8C36-3E0EBCEFF997
  7. Medicine bottles (Prescription and over-the-counter pill bottles, large and small, with and without child-resistant caps)
    1. Matthew 25: Ministries is an international aid relief organization. Among the many things they send overseas are empty pill bottles to safely and securely distribute medicine in developing countries. For pill bottles to be reused in this way, they must adhere to these guidelines:
        • Bottles included in shipments of medical supplies must have an all plastic lid.
        • Sort bottles by color and type.
        • Remove labels, leaving no glue or residue.
        • Wash bottles in very hot water and dish soap.
        • Rinse and dry thoroughly.
        • Replace lids on clean, dried bottles.
        • Place clean, recapped bottles in large ziplock bags marked “Clean Bottles.” These will be blended with medical supplies.
    1. Otherwise, the bottles will be recycled for cash that supports Matthew 25: Ministries’ programs
    2. Send to: Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH  45242
  8. Prescription drugs. Prescription drugs pollute the waterways with our excrement. No body can absorb everything in those pills! Don’t make the problem bigger by flushing them! Instead, drop them off at a designated collections site. Find the closest one here
  9. Clothing/unusable fabric scraps/unusable shoes. These companies partner with I:CO to contribute usable items to the second-hand economy, renew unusable items with a second life like cleaning cloths and recycle all remaining materials into secondary products. Currently, most of the recycled textiles are spun into insulation for houses and cars. Recycling is the last resort option as the most resource intensive process. Just take your clothes and shoes in any condition into any of these stores and drop them off in the collection bin. Really, any condition. I find lots of clothing in my trash cleanups along Turtle Creek. No amount of washing I can do will eliminate the smell or dirt, so I drop them back off at the mall, right where they came from! As an added incentive, these stores also offer rewards towards new clothes
    1. American Eagle: text code for $5 off
    2. H&M: 15% coupon for every three items donated. Ask if they will put them all in one bag, otherwise, they put three items per plastic bag, and even one plastic bag is too many
    3. Levi’s: 20% off a single item
    4. The North Face+outlet stores: $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more
    5. If none of these stores is an option for you, check with this resource: http://www.weardonaterecycle.org/locator/index.phpFABA9666-60E3-418D-B0DA-BA8F15CAF656
  10. Wearable shoes. Soles4Souls is a charity that donates shoes and clothing for disaster relief and facilitates micro-enterprise in developing countries. Shoes that are in need of repair are sold in developing nations to be fixed up and resold by micro-entrepreneurs who benefit greatly from a stable stream of income in an economic climate where that is hard to come by. I am very privileged in my choice to not wear shoes because I don’t like them. Other people do not feel the same way and in many areas of the world, they are needed and necessary. I’m so happy to share this organization that facilitates this resource to those who need and desires it. The also take single shoes! Here’s how you can get your soles to the good souls doing this work
    1. DSW: Donate up to 20 pairs of shoes and receive 50 VIP rewards points
    2. Drop off locations: https://soles4souls.org/get-involved/give-shoes/dropoff-locator/
    3. Zappos For Good: will ship up to 50lbs of clothing and shoes for free1B0B4572-8B92-4226-843B-DA3FBBA3DA9C
  11. Tires. To be recycled, tires have to be removed from the rim, which requires power tools. The steel of the rim and weights have value and can be recycled at a profit. If you are purchasing new tires ask the shop to recycle them for you. Otherwise, you will likely pay a small fee to recycle the rubber component. It is then shredded and melted, turned into other products such as rubberized asphalt and playground mulch. Or burned for fuel in an incinerator, a less energy efficient use considering the resources used to extract the rubber in the first place. If you live in one of the 36 states that have banned tires in landfills, you will have an easy time finding a tire recycler near you
  12. Motor oil. Oil takes a lot of energy to extract and condition for use, so it’s best to reprocess and reuse it as much as possible! Check with your local auto shop or service station. They likely accept both oil and oil filters, which can also be recycled when broken down into their parts; paper, steel, and plastic. Check with your city and see if they host Household Hazardous Waste drop-offs. Dallas has a BOPA (batteries, oil, paint, antifreeze) event once a month!
  13. Chemicals. Chemical components in a wide variety of home and garden products have proven and suspected harmful impacts on human health and the environment. As you clean up your home you want to remove these items without harming where ever they end up. Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) include chemical products for home use, paint and home repair products, lawn and garden chemicals, aerosol sprays, pool chemicals, craft and hobby supplies, cleaners and polishes, batteries of all kinds, automobile fluids and oil filters. It is illegal to dump these substances outside or down drains. Check with your city to find the closest drop off location
  14. Plastic bags. Most grocery stores accept plastic bags. Look for these bins near the entrance. Just cram all the bags you can into one, tie it, and you’re good to go! They can also be recycled at Best Buy
  15. Glass. I included glass because the recycling company that services my apartment complex does not recycle glass. If your complex doesn’t provide recycling, Whole Foods Market has glass, plastic, and clean paper recycling.
  16. Printer cartridges. Whenever my printer runs out of ink, I trek up to Fry’s Electronics to get it refilled. It’s the only place around I know that does refills. It is possible to refill them on your own with a refill kit like this one. Staples, Office Max and Office Depot have recycling programs where you earn rewards for returning empty cartridges
  17. Anything I didn’t cover, search here! https://search.earth911

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