Besides the obvious things that people commonly recycle (glass, plastic, aluminum, paper waste, magazines, cereal boxes), we can also recycle:
- Print cartridges: Most manufacturers have recycling programs where you can return the empty cartridges or you can earn $1 per cartridge through the site, Recycle Place.
- Aluminum foil: Just recycle it with the rest of the cans!
- Old mobile devices: Discarded cell phones account for nearly 65,000 tons of toxic waste each year. Office Depot and Best Buy collects old cell phones for recycling, as should most cell phone carriers. There are also a growing number of charities that will collect your old mobile devices (cell phones and PDAs) and give them to those in need. For help with deciding which charity you want to donate to, check out Recycling For Charities.
- Used motor oil: Turn in your old motor oil for recycling! It keeps the oil from leaking out into our water systems. Find a recycling center near you.
- Old appliances: The Appliance Recycling Center (ARC) will either take your old appliances away to be recycled or tell you who can.
- Used water filters, yogurt containers, etc.: If you're filtering tap water for drinking (and you should be but more on that in a future blog), you can also recycle your used filters. Whole Foods announced this year that they are starting to take used Brita filters, as well as #5 plastic (indicated on the bottom of the container) commonly found in yogurt, cottage cheese and hummus containers and medicine bottles. For a complete list of participating Whole Foods that collects #5 plastic, click here.
- Take out containers: Whenever I order in for delivery, I save the plastic take out containers and reuse them as tupperware.
- General household items: Yes, you can "recycle" these items! Instead of tossing something out with your garbage, post it on Craigslist or a similar site. "One man's garbage is another man's treasure" and you might even make a little money off of it! Some things you can put up include hangers, cardboard boxes, linens, old pots and pans, etc. Really. People will take them.
- Clothes and shoes: Before I left for Turkey I cleaned out my closet and came across a ton of clothes and shoes in good condition that either didn't fit me or I just didn't wear anymore. So what did I do? I had a sleepover with my girlfriends and gave them their pick of the lot. Whatever was leftover I donated to Goodwill. It's a multiple win situation. Your closet gets cleaned out, you have a great excuse to have friends over, your friends have new clothes and like you even more for giving it to them for free AND you've given something to a worthy cause. My friend Shoko also did this before she left New York City and now I have a few pairs of cute summer pants that I didn't need to buy! And that means more money I can spend while traveling!
© Connie Hum 2009