You’ve definitely heard times without number that recycling your used items is eco-friendly and the best way to keep them from damaging natural resources.
But, do you even know what can be recycled in your home?
Well, to help you out, we put together this A to Z guide on 101 commonly used items in your home that can be recycled.
If you are looking for a specific item type then you can use our alphabetic index.
They’re usually made from aluminum or steel which can be recycled into new metal products. Once you have exhausted the contents, remove the plastic caps so that they can be recycled with other. Don’t puncture the cans or try to remove the nozzles as this can hurt you. Find out if a drop-off location for aerosol cans exists in your area and if they are classified as household hazardous waste (HHW).
If you are uninterested in reusing your aluminum materials, most recycling centers accept would accept them especially the foil wraps. If you’re lucky, you could find a recycling company that wouldn’t mind paying you too.
Having emptied your antiperspirants and deodorant sticks, check the bodies for the “recycle” symbol. Some recycling companies might not be able to recycle the whole thing but you can always check the bottom of the tubes to confirm the plastic type.
If your home appliances are still in working condition, you could consider selling them or donating them to local charities in your area. If they no longer work, it’s advisable to give them up as scrap to recycling companies. Large appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators contain chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) which is not eco-friendly and would require procedures to be followed when disposing or recycling them.
Recycling your used batteries is a great way of keeping hazardous waste away from the environment. Alkaline batteries can be disposed in the bin but rechargeable batteries or batteries made from lithium contain toxic chemicals and must be recycled. Locate a battery recycling centre near you or make use of online recycling companies.
Repair your damaged beach balls and reuse if you still want them. If they’re still good and you don’t want them anymore, give them to charity or sell as thrift items. Also, find out if you can recycle them in your area.
You can donate your backpacks to charity, associations that would need them or sell as thrift items.
You can donate your plastic buckets to youth organisations or drop them off at recycling centres. If they’re metal buckets, search for recycling locations that accept metals and give them up for recycling.
If the books are in good condition – not missing pages or too dirty- they can be donated to libraries, schools, hospitals or charity or sold either as thrift items or online. Otherwise, get rid of the hard covers and toss the pages in the paper bin or have them given to www.recycleyourtextbooks.com.
Do you know that you can make new candles from your old ones? It’s easy, saves you more money and eco-friendly. Melt the wax gotten from the old candle scraps in a sauce pan and pour into a mould, add a cotton string and you’re good to go.
Find out if you can ship back used carpets to the manufacturer but contact them first to know if they’ve recycling programs or simply repurpose them by turning them into doormats or car mats.
The plastic parts in cassettes can be removed as well as the magnetic tapes. Give the magnetic tapes to gardeners or make use of them for your home garden (it can be used as twine for plants). Find out if there are recycling centres for CDs and DVDs in your area. You can also donate your tapes, CDs and DVDs to disability centres, give to the library or bookstores or even sell as thrift items.
If you no longer want your phone, donate to charity or do a trade in on Verizon. There are many phone companies that offer recycling services, you can find out if one exists in your area and if they’d accept yours.
You can reuse your Christmas tree every Christmas season by simply redecorating but if you don’t want it anymore, you can get rid of it. The good news is that they are biodegradable and can be disposed normally or simply find a collection centre for it in your area.
If your clothes are still wearable but you don’t want them anymore, give them to charity, shelters, religious institutions or sell as thrift items. If they’re not wearable anymore, you can still give them to organisations like Goodwill who would have them sold to textile recyclers. Some clothing brands, like Nike, have recycling programs in place for returns of their used products.
CFLs contain mercury hence, you shouldn’t just thrash them. Instead, check with the local hardware store in your area or any other recycling centre available to see if they offer recycling services for CFLs or take advantage of an online recycling network.
You can return your used computers, keyboards, mouse etc. to the manufacturers to be refurbished and resold or have them donated to charity. If they’re damaged you can still have them donated to Next Step.
Get in touch with the department of public works in your area to find out safe disposal points.
Follow the same procedures for appliances.
They’re very beneficial when added to the compost pile for your garden or find out if a food waste collection scheme exists near you.
Find out if there are retailers with trade in options in your area or drop off at your local recycling centre.
Find out if your empty cans can be refilled or exchanged for new ones from the fire department in your area.
If they still work, have them donated. If damaged, they can be recycled as with appliances.
To reduce the amount of food you empty into your bin, add them to your compost pile for your garden. Donate unexpired food to rescue organisations and also find out if a food waste collection centre exists in your area for expired food.
You can gift out your game consoles if you don’t need them anymore or check if recyclers like e-Stewards are available near you.
Have them recycled the same way as plastics or sent to Terracycle.
You can spread them back after cutting to condition the soil or add them to your compost pile.
There are some companies which produce biodegradable cards. If yours don’t fall in that category, mail them for recycling to Earthworks System.
Glass bottles and cups that are no more in use can be taken to collection centres or left for curbside recycling if available in your area.
This is the waste water from your hand washed dishes or washing machine. You can simply use the water to water your plants.
If your hangers are made from plastic, have them donated or sold as thrift items. For metal hangers, simply give them to your local drycleaner or have them recycled as scrap metal.
Find out if your area has stipulated days for collecting HHW.
Recycle your glass jars the same way you recycle your glass after removing the lid, if metal, recycle as scrap metal.
Recycle your plastic jugs same way as plastics and the glass jugs should be recycled the same as glass.
You can have them recycled the same way as metals.
You can have your kitchen utensils, like pots and pans, donated to charity or since they are usually made of steel, they can be as well recycled as scrap metal. For plastic utensils, you can confirm with your local recycling centre if they’re recyclable or are to be trashed.
Resell your old cabinets, have them donated to charity or for projects by organisations like Habitat for Humanity if they exist in your area.
Recycle them as scrap metals or have them donated to charity or sold as thrift items.
Mattresses are made from recyclable materials. Check if a recycling centre for it exists in your area, donate (YES, even with the box strings) to charity or Freecycle it if all else fails.
Old magazines and newspapers are made from paper and can be recycled the same way.
Some makeup brands, like MAC, offer attractive deals to their consumers when they participate in their recycling programs. Find out if there are counter stores in your areas that’d recycle any makeup brand for you.
Don’t just indiscriminately thrash or flush your prescriptions down the drain (unless if stated as an option on the pack). Find out if a drug take-back scheme exists in your area. Ensure that you’ve removed any traceable identity on your pill bottles before dumping them in the recycle bin.
Carry out the same procedures as with appliances.
You can donate mirrors in good conditions to second-hand stores or confirm if there are recycling centers in your area since it can’t be treated as other glass products due to different mixtures of chemicals.
Products made from nylon are thermoplastic and can be recycled. Confirm if there are recycling programs for such in your area.
Ensure personal info has been removed before checking if a recycling centre exists in your area.
Recycle post-its just the same way you’d go about recycling your used papers.
They can be recycled alongside with corrugated cardboard paper as long as they’re not soiled.
Even with a plastic handle, they can be recycled as with scrap metals.
As long as they’re machine washable, you can have them donated to shelters for humans or animals.
If you have any products made from rubber that you’ve no use for anymore, you can find out if a rubber recycling centre is available near you or contact companies like Rubber Recycle to know where you can have your products recycled.
To keep your rubber bands reusable, you can store them in your refrigerator. You can also donate them to a kids’ school in your area.
For sneakers, Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program accepts old athletic shoes or sneakers of any brand and recycles. If you have a Nike store in your area, first confirm if they’re accepting before going to drop them off. If your athletic shoes are in good shape, have them donated and don’t forget to give out your other shoes too.
Recycle paper shopping bags with paper and return plastic bags to grocery stores if your local centre doesn’t accept plastic bags.
You can reuse your soaps by getting creative with it or donating to non-profits. Sponges made from natural materials last longer and can be used in compost pile as they’re biodegradable. Synthetic sponges might not be recyclable but can be used to serve another purpose.
Chinese take-outs that are not soiled can be recycled alongside with cardboards or used in making compost if stained. For plastic take-outs, confirm if they’re acceptable in your local plastic recycling centre.
Recycle the same way as with aluminium.
Ensure you’ve carefully separated from your trash, items that are for recycling or for donations.
Plastic umbrellas can be donated if still in good condition as they’re not recyclable. For umbrellas made from metal, the metal can be recycled as a scrap metal after the fabric and handle has been removed.
Containers made from vinyl material can be identified with the “3” symbol. Confirm if there is a vinyl accepting recycling centre in your area. For your vinyl albums or records, you can recycle the cardboard sleeves. For the albums, themselves, you can refer to the music store in your area if they’d buy them from you.
Terracycle can be mailed your water filters for recycling purposes. If any part of the water filter has plastic, they should be separated and recycled separately.
Anything made from wood in your home can be recycled or changed to serve another purpose. Confirm if you’ve recycling centres for your wooden materials or have them given to charity if in reasonable condition.
You can use the decomposable parts of your yard waste and add to your compost pile. Confirm how the yard waste collection process in your area works.
Find out if the recycling centers in your area would accept them.
Once they’re cleaned, they can be recycled alongside plastic shopping bags.
Harvey is a content marketer, traveler, fitness enthusiast with many other things. When it comes to outdoor and technology, Harvey is our go-to guy.