Most people know the basics of recycling, but some items seem to slip through the cracks. Here are 8 items that you probably didn’t know are actually recyclable…
Eyeglasses. You know that drawer of junk in your house that has 3 or 4 pairs of unused eyeglasses just sitting around? Well, those can go to better use. There are many people in developing countries that need eyeglasses in order to avoid unemployment. Incredibly, 4 million pairs go into the landfill each year in North America alone. By dropping off your unneeded pairs at your local Lions Club or lens dealer, you can reduce waste and help out someone in need.
Athletic shoes. Did you know Nike has a Reuse-A-Shoe program that recycles old athletic shoes into Nike Grind, a material for tracks, gym floors, and the like? Stop tossing your well-worn shoes into the landfill. Even they can have a second life. Currently, only Nike stores offer these bins — you can’t send them in the mail — so hold onto those old dogs until you’re near a Nike location.
Used motor oil. According to the EPA, “If all the oil from American do-it-yourself oil changers were recycled, it would be enough motor oil for more than 50 million cars a year.” You can actually recycle the spent oil from your lawnmower, car, truck, or boat, and recycle it so it can be re-refined into new usable oil. While it takes 42 gallons of crude oil to create 2.5 gallons of lubricating oil, all it takes is 1 gallon of spent motor oil to do the same job. Don’t let your used oil contaminate the groundwater, recycle it today!
Bicycles. People the world over need transportation. If your bike is outdated and broken, the frame metal can be recycled and scrapped for parts. If your bike is still functioning or you’ve simply outgrown it, it could help someone desperately in need. Check out freecycle.org if you’re looking to give away or find a second-hand bike.
Brita water filters. You may have heard of the company Preserve. They make a line of 100% recycled items, including toothbrushes. Well, they’ve teamed up with Brita to recycle spent water filters. The filters are used in the creation of Preserve razors, toothbrushes, cups, and even cutting boards. Your local Whole Foods has collection bins, or check Preserve for more locations.
Crayons. Crayon stubs — who would have thought that they could be recycled? While in the grand scheme of things, crayon waste isn’t a huge issue, there is no need to make waste when it can be reused. You can send those broken, stubby crayons, at your expense, to Crazy Crayons. It’s a small price to save that bit of petroleum based wax from ending up in the landfill. And next time, maybe consider buying more sustainable beeswax crayons.
Pantyhose. If you wear pantyhose, you know how disposable they seem to be. But instead of tossing them after they’ve served their purpose, why not recycle them? Believe it or not, the average pantyhose take 30-40 years to decompose, so they can add up in our landfills quick. But, if you cover shipping charges (consider saving used pantyhose and packing tight a flat rate shipping box) No Nonsense will recycle them so they can be used for running tracks, playground equipment, and even park benches. Who knew old pantyhose were so multifunctional?
Plastic film. Plastic sandwich bags, the plastic film that comes on your toilet paper, plastic bags from the grocery store — all of these can actually be recycled. Stop throwing them out. Just collect them in your house, and use plasticfilmrecycling.org to find a drop off location near you.
Celebrate the Earth! Recycle everything you can and lighten your footprint on the planet.