30 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

Communities across the country have residents who actively recycle household materials. There are also companies that participate in this process. Many of these are individuals who are interested in living environmentally friendly lifestyles. This is a green way to live or to conduct business. Plastics and glass are some of the common items that people are familiar with recycling, but there are many other things that can be recycled. You may find a lot of these surprising to discover.

Recycling is an important practice for the environment. At the same time, this is an activity that protects the future. Finding the things that are recyclable is important for daily life. Residents can utilize this information in order to clean and organized their homes. This is also good information for business owners, as well. Recycling keeps the community clean and makes way for the production of a vast array of other materials.


1. Carpet

If you’re planning to buy new carpet for your home, just don’t throw away the old carpet. Instead, find a carpet reclamation facility to take it away for recycling. Their mission is to advance market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet, encourage design for recyclability and meet meaningful goals. Alternatively, if you know the name of your company that manufactured your carpet, you can check if they offer any recycling programs.

2. Batteries

Not all batteries may fit into this category. Rechargeable batteries can be recycled, along with single-use versions. You can contact your recycling center to find out the parameters for batteries. This is a good option for businesses, as well.

3. Cardboard Boxes

These items officially fit into the paper category, but can be recycled in creative ways. Moving companies and businesses sometimes reuse these boxes. Other companies shred them and utilize them for shipping protection.

4. CD’s

Many people still own a large number of CD’s. When these discs become scratched or chipped they are usually thrown away. It is not necessary to discard of them though. They can be recycled and repurposed into other materials.

5. Clothing

Some recycling companies focus on clothing instead of other materials. These types of items can be reused in creative ways. They may also be recycled for other purposes. There are various components included in the average top, pants and other pieces of apparel.

6. Clothing Dryers

Clothing dryers are another big appliance that can be recycled. There are materials used to produce these machines that are recyclable. Many of the components that make dryers operate can be repurposed, as well.

7. Fluorescent Light Bulbs

One of the surprising items included in the recycling category are fluorescent light bulbs. Many recycling companies prefer the compact version of these items. IKEA is one popular company that actively collects these bulbs for recycling purposes.

8. Bio-Plastics

There are bio-plastics that are also considered to be good for composting. It is possible to use these in household composts. Contacting your individual city is a great way to find out how these materials are to be recycled. You may even discover a community need for them.

9. DVD’s

Old DVD’s don’t have to be thrown into your regular household garbage. These are discs that can also be recycled. There are a variety of manufacturers that utilize these materials. They can be used in combination with other components to make a lot of items.

10. Ink Cartridges

You may purchase ink cartridges for your home or business office. These are components that are used for copying and printing activities. The cartridges can be recycled. Many office supply companies around the country provide customers with benefits for recycling their ink cartridges.

11. Computers

You may never have considered all of the parts that go into manufacturing a computer. There are many different components that can easily be recycled. Contacting your city’s recycling program is a good first step. They will inform you of the best way to recycle your home computer or personal laptop.

12. Eyeglasses

Once you’ve broken a pair of glasses, what can you do? You can recycle these items. The different parts of the glasses can be repurposed. The lenses, plastic frames and nose protectors fit into this recycling category. A local optometrist will be able to inform you about good ways to recycle eyeglasses.

13. Shredded Paper

Many offices regularly shred important documents and materials. Since this is a paper product it can be included with your household or office recycling. There are many unique uses for this paper. Some companies’ process shredded paper into other paper products offered on green markets.

14. Game Discs

Game discs often break and are scratched. This causes them to not function properly. Instead of putting them into the garbage, you can recycle them. These discs are made from materials that can be utilized for electronics manufacturing. City recycling offices typically have information about disposal of these.

15. Motor Oil

When you take your vehicle for a motor oil change, what happens to the oil? In most instances, it is stored and processed for recycling. Individuals, who change their own vehicle’s oil, can recycle too. Most cities and towns have guidelines related to how to collect and recycle motor oil products.

16. Home Electronics

Looking around the average home, you will discover a vast array of electronics. These are items that can be reused in many ways. There are various industries that function by repurposing electronics. It is important to recycle these properly. Calling local recycling companies for information is important.

17. Cell Phones

Most people have a collection of dated cell phones in a closet. In some cases, these are phones that are several years old. Surprisingly, each of these has value in particular manufacturing markets. These are items, however, that must be recycled in a specific way. Find out local details and guidelines.

18. Packing Materials

Whenever you receive a shipped product, you see various types of packing materials. Plastic bubbles, Styrofoam bits and paper are included in this process. Each of these packing materials can be repurposed in a different way. You’ll be environmentally friendly by recycling them when possible.

19. Sports Equipment

You may have a variety of sport equipment items in your home. Plastic mats, yoga balls and metal weights are just a few of these. It is possible to recycle all of these items. There are sports industry companies that actively participate in these recycling programs.

20. Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes are some of the most common daily-use items in the home. Instead of throwing these away when you buy a new one, consider recycling. There are different components of these products that can be recycled. The plastic holder and bristles have a variety of other uses when repurposed.


21. Athletic Shoes

You would be amazed to find out exactly what goes into the product of athletic shoes. Some of these have most plastic components. Others include nylon, cotton, metal and other items. No matter what the style or shape, men’s and women’s athletic shoes can be recycled.

22. Shaving Razors

Replacing shaving razors is simply a habit in most households. Recycling these items, however, is not always a habit. Their metal composition makes them valuable for any number of industries. In most instances, they can be recycled along with regular home items.

23. Commercial Cooking Oil

Many restaurants regularly recycle their commercial cooking oil. Fast food restaurants use the most of these oils. There are entire industries built upon research utilizing these diverse oils. Companies in this field welcome getting access to this oil for development processes.

24. Construction Wood

There are many different types of wood that is used in construction. These are utilized in both residential and commercial processes. Old wood in this category can be recycled. There are various purposes for wood products and items.

25. Fertilizers

Fertilizers used in the garden go a long way for producing flowers and vegetables. These products can also be recycled. This is a good idea for homeowners who use these fertilizers. Farms and other large operations can also recycle their bulk fertilizer products.

26. Bicycles. Americans send millions of bicycles to trash every year. With organizations such as Bikes of the World available, there is no reason why you should discard your old bicycle. The mission of Bikes of the World is to make quality used bicycles and parts affordable and available to lower income people and select institutions in developing countries, to enhance their lives and livelihoods through better transport.

27. Crayons. Crayola  alone produces millions of crayons per year.  The National Crayon Recycling Program has made it possible to stop more than 105,000 pounds of unwanted crayons from going into landfills with the help from schools, organization educators and kids across this country.  It takes your unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons!

28. Wine Corks. Corks can be used for decorations in your home but then there are organiztions like ReCORK  that collects post-industrial and post-consumer natural corks and recycles them. These waste corks can be used to create more sustainable products.

29. Holiday Lights. We all use holiday lights to decorate our homes and in the end they find their way to the landfills when they no longer work. Instead of sending them to garbage, recycle them. HolidayLeds is one such company that will take away your dead, non-working lights. The lights will be processed and any material that cannot be recycled (i.e. loose bulbs)is discarded.  Once substantial number of sets are collected, they are taken to a 3rd party recycling facility.

30. Christmas Tree. Old Christmas trees are becoming another item that find their place in the trash once the festival gets over. Tree recycling programs are becoming more common throughout the U.S. and old trees are being used for bird feeders to soil erosion barriers. There are number of ways listed here that be used to give your tree a second life.

31. Washing Machines

This may be one of the most surprising items that can be recycled. There are many components of this appliance that can be used for other materials. Some facilities even want working machines for other recycling purposes.

Source: MNN
Image credit: PDP , Gadini


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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