Think You’re a Recycling Guru? 6 Things You Never Knew Could be Recycled

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Much of the Earth’s resources are finite. As more and more people inhabit the planet, the natural resources that we depend on are dwindling. Countries are scrambling for what is left and there are very few places left to find new supplies of the resources that we need to live. Because of this, recycling has become more important than ever. Each year, we find new ways to reuse items that we had previously thrown away and the number of items that we are able to recycle has grown. You may think you know all there is to know about recycling, however, you might be surprised to read about a few items that can be recycled that few people know about. Read on to learn about some cool things that can be given a second life when you recycle them instead of tossing them in the trash.

Electronics

Most people know that cans, glass and plastic bottles, and newspapers can be recycled, but the items that cannot be put into your recycle bin can also be recycled. Electronics, sometimes called e-waste, are a valuable resource and should be recycled. In fact, computers are 100% recyclable, including the mouse, keyboard, speakers, and many other computer peripherals. In addition, cell phones, circuit boards, DVD players and VCRs contain many reusable parts. Check with your city’s waste management services to find out where to take e-waste for recycling.

Tires

You might think that once a tire goes flat, gets shredded, or totally smashed in an accident that it is useless and is going to be tossed into an old car junkyard. The truth is, your car tires (and many other types of tires) can be shredded and recycled into usable materials for other things. According to the professionals of Eco Green Equipment, these recycled tires can actually help make a type of fuel that takes ingredients derived from tires. These tires can also be used to make rubber substances that are used for roads and other industrial uses. So next time your tire blows out, don’t just toss it—recycle it!

Foam Peanuts

Packing peanuts can be reused and recycled, but due to their light weight, it may not be appropriate to leave them in your curbside recycle bin. Most states have a mail back program, such as the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers and another option is the Plastic Loose Fill Council. You can drop them off at one of their many locations throughout the country. Look them up at loosefillpackaging.com, or if you prefer, you can just reuse them for your own shipping needs. Throwing packing peanuts in your recycling bin won’t help when a gust of wind picks them up and litters them around the neighborhood.

Makeup

Many women use makeup, however, you don’t want to use the same makeup for long periods of time due to bacteria and other hygiene concerns. Now women can recycle their empty compact containers and possibly receive a free gift at the same time. Mac Cosmetics has a program called Back to Mac that allows consumers to mail their used compact containers to the company for recycling. Plus, if you send 6 or more pieces, you are eligible to receive a free lipstick!

Wine Corks

Wine corks are now being re-purposed into shoe soles. The organization recork.org is accepting old wine corks and reusing them to make shoe soles. In addition, they have committed to this sustainable endeavor by planting over 7,000 cork trees in Portugal. If you have a bunch of wine corks lying around, or you generally just throw them away after finishing a bottle, consider helping a good cause by recycling your corks—you might find that one day you’ll have a great need for cork-soled shoes.

Shoes

Usually when you grow out of a pair of shoes, you can pass them on to your little brother, or donate them to good will. However, sometimes, you have worn your shoes all the way down and they are full of rips, tears, and holes. Once those shoes are worn out, they can be used to make a running track, surfaces for playgrounds, and even basketball courts. Since 1990, the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program has collected over 25,000,000 sneakers to do just that. Parts of these recycled shoes (mostly plastic or rubber parts) can be used to create the material that is necessary to create basketball courts or a playground floor. If you used to run around on the playground or the courts with your favorite shoes, they can be re-purposed and still contribute to outdoor play.

These are just a few of the everyday items that can be reused, re-purposed, and recycled. With a commitment to the Earth’s sustainability and a little imagination, it will not be long before we will have nothing left to leave in our landfills. Stay up to date on the types of recyclable materials so that nothing goes to waste. Remember, not all of these items can just be placed in your personal recycling bin, so you might need to do an internet search to find a recycling center that accepts your item to make sure it is properly re-purposed.