Saturday, January 05, 2008

Getting serious about recycling

I have called my local recycle center and I know exactly what they don't accept. They DON'T accept a lot of things. Here is a great list put out by Co-op America of 21 things you didn't know you could recycle.

(Co-op America Fall 2007)
Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less. Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle. That’s why our editors spent the summer of 2007 investigating the state of waste management in our country, putting this list togther for you, explaining how we can get serious about the three R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling — and divert more waste away from landfills. (To download the entire recycling issue of the Quarterly, visit our archives page.)

1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances,, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them. 800/YES-1-CAN,

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110,

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local listserv or on for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223,

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. Donate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling:

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340,

12. Ink/toner cartridges: pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local
or, or try giving them away at or giving or selling them at will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000,

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927,

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249,

17. “Technotrash”: Project KOPEG offers an e-waste recycling program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Use Project KOPEG to recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more. Also, easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK,

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups. 888/354-7296,

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.


Blogger Dizzy Dezzi said...

Great list. Hubby and I use Freecycle. It's a great way to give to someone in need and have somebody take unused "stuff" off or your hands. I'm a close horse and I go through my closets every three months and deposit the clothes I haven't worn in 6 months or longer, in the basement...then, every 6 months, I take my gently used clothes and the kids' old toys and clothes and donate them to any one of the local thrift stores. Here, on post, there is a recycle center for boxes and old appliances and glass, etc. So, every 6 months or so, we take these space sucking, mostly useless items there. I'm all for giving back useless electronics and appliances to the manufacturer and telling them to please sell a product that works...

1/05/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Excellent list, Mary. I recycle where I can, but it's more difficult for those who do not drive. On the other hand, my carbon footprint is so low that the only way I could reduce it further is to lower the bean count in my chili. ;-)

1/05/2008 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger BlueBella said...

Wonderful list! This is great info to get some NY's resolutions off to a great start. Thanks for taking the time to put it together!!!

1/05/2008 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

I went to our "recycling center" down here when we first arrived. "We're full. Just throw it in the trash!!

Apparently Jesus doesn't recycle...(:

1/06/2008 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

I followed one of the links and found that you can get recycled toothbrushes!!!

1/06/2008 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Dizz- On top of things as usual!

Tomcat- Ha!

Bluebella-Wish I could take credit. Just copied from Co-op America.

TUA- See! That's what I'm saying. You got to go see what they are doing. Just because they are called a recylce center doesn't mean that's what they're doing.

Cream-Sounds gross doesn't it?

1/06/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

great post! thanks for the info- gonna link.

1/06/2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger DivaJood said...

Great list. We have a local center that accepts unused paint as well - so when we paint our houses, rather than toss out the leftovers (bad for the environment) we take the cans, and the plastic bits over to this center and they dispose properly.

1/06/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Babzy said...

I'm all hopped up on happiness!
I love this post. Thank you Mary.

1/06/2008 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pursey Tuttweiler said...

What a wonderful and comprehensive list. I love the last one.
Happy New Year, Mary and thank you for this post.

1/06/2008 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Betmo- Thanks for linking. I'm sure you will get way more hits on this than I. :)

Divajood- Excellent!

Babzy- You're so welcome.

Pursey- It really covers a lot of ground and that's great. Happy New Year to you too!

1/06/2008 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Fran said...

Hey thanks Mary. The produce department @ Trader Joes bugs me-- they wrap each produce item on some kind of plastic tray w cellophane covering.... I've not asked, maybe it is biodegradable, but it seems like such a waste. Do you really need your peppers, cucumbers & what not, hermetically sealed in double packaging??
the post office had a series of Nature stamps from different regions, when they first came out with the self sticking stamps. They came on a cardboard backing, wrapped in a cellophane cover.
This was the *nature series* mind you! All that stuff went into the trash.
I try to pre cycle-- buy things that will generate the least amount of trash in the first place... but there is always room for improvement.

1/06/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

Mary this is such an awesome Dizzy your list is great...enigma sneaks off and hangs her head in shame....I am a pack rat...sigh..

1/06/2008 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

So useful! Thanks!


1/07/2008 02:51:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters