In 2013, Americans generated 254.1 million tons of solid waste. That’s 4.4 pounds of trash per person, per day. While our rate of recycling has gone up from just 16% 20 years ago to 34.3% today, we can do better. Yes, we all know that plastic bottles, glass, cans, and newspaper are recyclable. Yet, there are many things that can be recycled that still wind up in our local landfill. Here are just ten things that can be recycled that probably weren’t on your list.
1. Appliances. Whether your appliances are working or not, there is a better place for them than in a landfill. Goodwill takes working appliances. If your appliances aren’t in working order, contact the Steel Recycling Institute instead.
2. Batteries. Batteries not only shouldn’t be tossed in the trash, but they can also turn into hazardous materials over time. Staples has a battery recycling program, and there is also a company called Battery Solutions that recycles batteries throughout North America.
— Call2Recycle (@Call2Recycle) June 16, 2017
3. Clothing. We might not think of it as recycling, but when you donate you wearable clothing to a worthy cause, those items are being reused. Drop of your clothing items at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you have women’s business attire, give it to Dress for Success so that low-income women can use them to find jobs.
4. Computers and Electronics. You can recycle almost any type of computer equipment or electronic device today. This includes desktop and laptop computers, printers, and tablets. You can also recycle televisions, game systems, cell phones, and iPods. One helpful tool for finding computer and electronics recyclers is called Earth911.
— Kingston Technology (@kingstontech) June 16, 2017
5. Eyeglasses. Believe it or not, there are people in need who would love to have your used eye glasses. Maybe your prescription has changed, or you’ve just decided to upgrade your style. One place to recycle eyeglasses is through your local Lions Club.
6. Carpet. Whether you are remodeling your home or just changing out the carpet in one room, that old carpet needs a final resting place. Fortunately, some carpet makers have recycling programs, or you can look for a carpet recycling center in your area.
— GreenWaste of Sac (@GreenWasteofSac) March 31, 2017
7. Crayons. It might sound silly, but we could have a crayon disposal problem if we don’t recycle more. 120,000 pounds of crayons are produced daily in the U.S., and you can now recycle these colorful items through the National Crayon Recycle Program.
8. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. The mercury contained in CFLs makes disposal more complicated than regular light bulbs. This is why both Home Depot and Ikea now provide CFL recycling programs. Some independent lighting stores may also accept CFLs for recycling.
— Pacific Lamp&Supply (@PacificLamp206) May 3, 2017
9. Oil. When you change the oil in your car or lawn mower, that used oil can be refined into other lubricants and petroleum products. Earth911 can help you find a local center to drop off your used oil.
10. Cosmetics. Most people simply toss old cosmetics in the garbage when they become stale or out of favor. Various brands, including Aveda and Origins, now have their own cosmetics recycling programs.
— Waste or Wasted?? (@waste_or_wasted) October 27, 2016
If you already have a recycling routine that works for you, now you can add some or all of these items to your list. Reusing and recycling as much as possible is just one more way that we can reduce the strain on our local landfills and work together to save the environment.