Some things are no-brainers when it comes to recycling — such as paper, plastic and glass.
But what are some of the things you can recycle that might not be so obvious?
There is actually more than you might realize. In fact, a number of businesses are taking a lead role in recycling everyday items. For example, clothing stores like Patagonia are accepting used clothes for recycling.
Following are some things that you can indeed recycle that you may not have thought of, plus some tips for where to recycle such items.
While most of us know that you cannot throw computers away to be taken to landfills, you may not realize that there are businesses that are actually accepting used computers and recycling them for you.
I’m not just talking about the local mom and pop business that take old computers and then refurbish them for the less fortunate who cannot afford a personal computer. One such company is Dell. Dell will recycle any older used Dell computer for free. Plus, if you purchase a new computer from Dell and choose "free recycling" when you checkout, they will recycle any brand of older computer that you own for free. Since Dell is one of the larger companies that sells computers and frequently has very nice deals, this can be a great way to get a new computer and recycle your old one without having to just give it to a secondhand store that may or may not be able to sell it.
Another way to recycle computers is through My Boneyard, a website that will pay for shipping and pay you a fee in the form of a prepaid Visa card for your old computer. And they not only take computers, they also take monitors, laptops, cell phones, and soon they will take MP3 players as well. This can be a great way to recycle your electronics while making a little cash as well!
Floppy disks and video tapes
It’s called Green Disk Recycled Diskettes. Thousands (if not more) of these things wind up in landfills daily. With the invention of DVDs, CDs and small easy-to-carry flash drives, many of us don’t use floppy disks or video tapes anymore. So, this is a great way to recycle those items and keep them out of landfills.
Printer cartridges and rechargeable batteries
The downside is that for any hardware products there is a $13 to $34 fee to recycle them, depending on what the item is. Still, it is better than these items ending up in a landfill.
In the case of the rechargeable batteries, HP is not actually the company that recycles them. Instead they have a link to another website called Call2Recycle. It’s free, and with over 50,000 locations nationwide, it’s not a bad deal.
We all use rechargeable batteries at one time or another for our wireless products, but eventually even they die out, so it’s good that there is a place you can take them to be recycled. It’s free to recycle everything else with HP, including the printer cartridges and cell phones which can be any brand.
As for the HP/Compaq mercury lamp assemblies, these are free to recycle only in Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Most of us just put glasses with old prescriptions away for a rainy day, since you never know if your current pair is going to break and you might need a backup, or maybe you lose one of your contacts.
Sometimes keeping an old pair of eyeglasses makes sense, but what if you already have a backup pair? Or what if you use disposable contacts and have plenty on hand? Well then, you might consider recycling your old pair of eyeglasses.
Lens Crafters, Pearle, and For-Eyes are just 3 of the large chain retailers that will recycle your old prescription glasses. Because it is so difficult to re-dispense a pair of glasses that already has a prescription in the United States, many of these glasses go overseas to those who need them. When you recycle old glasses you are keeping them out of the landfills and helping someone less fortunate.
Most smoke detectors are made by First Alert (includes First Alert, BRK and Family Guard smoke detectors) and the rest are made by a Canadian company (includes American Sensors and Dicon smoke detectors). It is requested that you send smoke detectors via surface mail or by UPS Ground to be recycled, so they don’t end up on an airplane.
Yup, you can actually recycle your toothbrush! In fact, we should all be recycling our toothbrushes, what with 700 million people buying a new toothbrush 3 to 4 times a year, you can see how these could fill up landfills pretty fast.
Fortunately, there is a new company called Recycline that has a Preserve toothbrush that is made out of totally recycled plastic. In fact, they are made from yogurt containers! When you buy a Preserve toothbrush the company provides you with a return envelope to mail back the toothbrush when you are done with it, and they will then mail you a new toothbrush in return! What a great way to go Green.
Other Recycling Tips