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These days, everyone is looking for new ways to recycle items that may not have previously been thought of as recyclable — in hopes of avoiding the landfills.
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’s actually more than you might realize.
Companies That Help You Recycle Their Brands
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.
Here are some other companies that make it easy to recycle their products:
- 11 Companies Considered Best For The Environment
- 5 Companies With Landfill-Free Recycling Programs
- Beauty Companies That Recycle Their Own Empty Products
- 12 Companies With Great Recycling Programs
6 Unusual Things That Can Be Recycled
Following are some things you can recycle that you may not have thought of, plus advice for where to recycle those items.
#1 – Computers
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 & 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!
#2 – Floppy disks & VHS tapes
Would you believe there is a company that will recycle all of your old 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.
#3 – Printer cartridges & Rechargeable batteries
Hewlitt Packard not only makes and sells computers, but they will also recycle used printer cartridges, hardware products, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, and HP/Compaq mercury lamp assemblies.
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.
#4 – Eyeglasses
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.
#5 – Smoke detectors
Apparently, smoke detectors have a very small amount of Americium 241 which is a radioactive material. Therefore, smoke detectors are considered hazardous waste and need to be recycled appropriately.
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 the U.S. Postal Service to be recycled, so they don’t end up on an airplane.
#6 – Toothbrushes
6Yup, 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 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.
More Tips For Recycling Things At Home
- How To Recycle Unusual Items
- Tips For Recycling Obscure Materials
- Unusual Things You Can Recycle
- How To Recycle 7 Things You Never Thought You Could
- Where To Recycle Old Cell Phones
- 5 Surprising Things You Can Throw In The Recycling Bin
My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.