Most of us know that items like paper, plastic and aluminum can be recycled. But what about ink, computers and cell phones?
In recognition of Earth Day 2013, here’s a list of recyclable materials that may surprise you.
- Shipping Styrofoam. Save the packing peanuts from your next delivery – they can be reused if you move to a new home, box up items for storage or ship a holiday gift.
- TV sets and other electronics. You can donate your television to charity or contact a company like Manufacturers Recycling Management (founded by electronics companies Toshiba, Panasonic and Sharp) to find a recycling location in your area.
- Bricks. Used bricks are popular due to their durability and distinctive look compared with new bricks, which are machine- rather than hand-made. They can be used in new building projects, street paving, patios and more.
- Barbecue grills. Large items like grills can be recycled for scrap metal. For gas grills, the propane tank also can be used for scrap metal or disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.
- Curtains. Window coverings can be recycled into pillows, and shower curtains can become aprons or drop cloths. Reusing these items is a fun way to recycle while also redecorating!
- Tires. When replacing your vehicle’s tires, ask the store manager how they recycle customers’ tires. Or visit the Rubber Manufacturers Association website for a list of tire recycling procedures by state.
- Roofing shingles. Maybe you’re replacing the roof after a hail storm, or perhaps you’re just doing a patch job. Either way, recycling used shingles can reduce waste and give them new life as a component of asphalt.
- VHS tapes. The film itself can be used to make yarn, handbags and even dresses. Or if you’re a little less crafty, you can sell VHS tapes online, give them to a charity or take them to a plastics recycler.
- Prescription bottles. After removing the labels, you can recycle prescription bottles in numerous ways. Keep them to store small items like loose change, seeds or craft supplies. Donate them to free clinics and animal shelters, which reuse them for medications. Or paint them and repurpose the bottles as mini-vases, pencil holders and more.
- Carpet. As long as they are clean, carpet pads can be recycled. The carpet itself can be made into an area rug, a pet crate liner, car floor mats and gardening mulch.
As you can see, the possibilities for recycling are practically endless—as are the benefits to our environment.