When you hear the word recycling, you probably think about common recyclable items like cereal boxes, soda cans and plastic water bottles. But what if there were other recyclable items in your home, right under your nose, that you simply didn’t know about?
At BLINQ, recycling goes hand in hand with our mission is to extend the lifecycle of products through recommerce. By making the most of the items we use, we can all contribute to a more sustainable environment. And in the end, recycling can help us conserve natural resources, save energy, and reduce the amount of waste that gets sent to landfills.
So, if you’re at a loss for what to do with items you no longer want or need — and you can’t donate or repurpose them — don’t automatically dump them in the trash. Check our list to see if you have any of these recyclable items in your home.
According to Energizer, old batteries are one of the easiest things you can recycle! Start by checking your town’s recycling web page. They may offer a pick up or drop off day for batteries. If they don’t, check out Earth911. They offer a handy recycling search engine to show the nearest location that will take all sorts of recyclable items.
Light bulbs, especially Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs), are great recyclable items. Recycling CFLs prevents mercury from being released into the environment. Since almost every part of a light bulb is recyclable, you may be able to throw these in with your regular home recycling. If not, most Home Depot stores have drop-off bins for used CFLs.
No idea what to do with all those old electronics lying around? Laptops, cell phones, and old gaming systems are all things you can recycle. Many electronics retailers, like Best Buy and Apple will take your old electronics for repurposing.
Small appliances are things that can be recycled at any community electronics recycling location. While you might think these locations are only for old laptops or printers, they will usually take anything that runs on batteries or has a power cord. If your city doesn’t have one of these recycling centers, check directly with brands. Hamilton Beach, for example, offers a recycling program for its products.
Larger appliances are recycled in much the same way. Occasionally there may be a fee for large appliance removal. On the upside, you could qualify for rebates on new appliances when you recycle your old ones!
If you’re one of the 64% of Americans who wear glasses, chances are you have some old pairs lying around. Old glasses are 100% recyclable items; plastic and metal frames are refurbished, and lenses are ground down to make new ones. The Lions Club has drop-off collection boxes, or you can mail them in as well.
If you have kids (or if you’re into the adult coloring craze), you may be at a loss for what to do with broken crayons. Crazy Crayons has a National Crayon Recycling Program that recycles old crayons into new ones that are donated to nonprofits and other charitable organizations for kids.
Reusable Sandwich Bags
You may not realize it, but these are among the easiest things you can recycle! Any grocery store that takes your used plastic grocery bags will also take resealable sandwich baggies. Just make sure to remove as much of the food waste as possible before recycling.
Instead of dragging your tree to the curb after the holidays, how about recycling it? Check your city’s recycling website to see if they offer a treecycle program. They’ll often recycle old trees into mulch for public parks. Here are six other ways to recycle your old Christmas tree.
There’s nothing worse than cleaning up after a big party, and not knowing what to do with all those ubiquitous red cups. Because Solo cups are made with #6 plastic, they can’t be put out with your regular household recycling. However, you can still recycle them through TerraCycle. While they don’t have physical drop-off locations, the shipping is free.
CDs and DVDs
If you’ve switched to streaming media and downloadable music apps, don’t automatically send your old CDs and DVDs to the landfill. They’re definitely recyclable items, if you know how to do it. One way to recycle these items is to send them to the CD Recycling Center, a company that specializes in recycling CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and even their cases! If you’d like your CDs and DVDs to have a second life, try donating them to a thrift store like Goodwill.
First, consider donating gently-used athletic shoes to a charitable organization that can use them. If your old sneakers are just too worn to donate, consider recycling them. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program will take any brand of athletic shoes in-store and recycle them into sustainable products.
Brita Water Filters
I’m addicted to my Brita pitcher, but I didn’t know that old Brita filters are things that can be recycled! Like Solo cups, you can mail your Brita filters to TerraCycle to be recycled. Or simply drop them off at any participating Whole Foods near you.
Holding on to expired prescription medicine can be just as dangerous as throwing it into the garbage, where it could leach into the soil. Instead, find a medicine disposal location that will safely dispose of your medications.
Ok, so you can just put all those greeting cards into your regular household recycling. However, these are recyclable items that you can recycle for a good cause. Consider recycling all your used or unused greeting cards to St. Jude’s, where they’ll be repurposed into new cards. The proceeds go to fund St. Jude’s programs all year long.
There are so many things you can recycle, if you just do a little research. And for perfectly good items you may no longer want or need, why not donate them? BLINQ has partnered with Give Back Box to help make it easy for you extend the lifecycle of your products. So with every BLINQ purchase you make, you can use your box to give back to a local charity by filling it with items to donate. The best part is, donating with Give Back Box is completely free!
What items in your home do you find trickiest to recycle? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
And if you’re ready for even more ways to improve your eco-friendliness, take our quiz to find out how green you are, and learn new tips to incorporate into your daily routine.