It’s become standard operating procedure in most places to recycle paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum cans, but that still leaves a staggering amount of trash in our bins that heads straight to the landfill. In honor of this month’s focus on keeping it green, we’ve searched out 10 things that may not seem recyclable—but totally are. From packing peanuts to worn-out sneakers, many of the things you might be throwing away can still have a useful second life. Here’s where to take them for responsible disposal.
: Instead of throwing them in the trash when they’re done, you can bring your or your child’s used inhalers to a pharmacy in one of 31 metro areas across the U.S., as part of a program sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline
A bra that’s lost its shape for you can still have a second life for a woman in the developing world, instead of clogging up a landfill. Bra Recyclers and Uplift Bras both take clean bras that are in decent shape. If the bra is too beat-up for reuse, you can also send an unlimited number to this recycling company for $5
, where they’ll be turned into carpet.
If you’ve long since converted all your music to digital files, it may be time to say farewell to your CDs. Send them (and their plastic cases) to theCD Recycling Center
, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Christmas lights: HolidayLEDs
will accept your broken and beat-up strands from any era—and give you a 15% discount on LED-based replacements.
: Once crayons are broken or mostly used up, they end up going to waste, but Crazy Crayons accepts donations to remelt into new crayons
. Consider holding a school or neighborhood crayon drive, and teaming up to cover the cost of shipping in a box.
Every location of Pak Mail
, as well as many locations of The UPS Store
and Mail Boxes, Etc. will give your packing peanuts a second life in someone else’s box. For the latter two stores, call first to see if they’ll accept them.
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program
will accept any brand of athletic shoe that’s reached the end of its usable life, to be recycled into sport and playground surfaces. (Shoes with metal cleats or spikes are the only exceptions.) They have collection boxes at all of their U.S. retail locations, as well as every Converse retail location.
If you’re a regular wine drinker, you’ve probably amassed a fair number of corks—which come from trees. Recork
will help you find a nearby location to drop off and recycle them.