Hopefully, wherever you live you have basic curbside recycling making it simple to recycle glass, cans, paper, and most plastics. But what do you do with all the other items you don’t want to toss into landfills? Here are some tips for your best recycling bets.
Recycling clothing is one of the easiest things and there are plenty of options. Take your good quality clothing, accessories, and unused beauty products to Career Wardrobe in Philadelphia or one of their national partners through The Women’s Alliance. Casual shoes can go to Soles 4 Souls drop off locations. All children’s clothing, as well as toys, school supplies, and more can go to charities like Cradles to Crayons.
Make Joan Crawford happy and get rid of those wire hangers. Next time you drop off a load of laundry to the dry cleaners, they should be happy to take those hangers of your hands and reuse them.
Donate your holiday, birthday, and thank you cards to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. They reuse the cards to create new card sets and the proceeds help abused children. The children participate in making the new recycled cards by removing the front and attaching a new back made with recycled paper. The new card is a beautiful, green card made by the children and volunteers. Customers receive green holiday cards while the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of going green.
Sure you could toss these in the recycling bin. But why not give them new life by bringing them to the gym, doctor’s office, or any other waiting room where they’d be much appreciated.
Send old frames to Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers, which cleans and classifies used eyeglasses and distributes them to people in need.
Pet Stuff and Old Blankets
Has your dog outgrown his baby clothes and changed his taste in food after you bought that jumbo bag of Alpo? Drop off your pet stuff and used blankets to a local pet shelter.
Old, broken, or unwanted electronics and batteries are referred to as “e-waste.” Large, bulky, and full of minerals, electronics are among the most important items you can recycle. If you are upgrading your electronics, think about donating older models to schools or nonprofits. And if it’s too busted to be salvaged, Best Buy will take most e-waste off your hands for free. The Electronic Industries Alliance provides a list of local electronic recycling facilities.
Cell Phones and Batteries
Older model cell phones can be recycled, sold online for a small profit, or donated to a variety of charities which furnish the phones for emergency use. Whole Foods is just one of several locations in the city with cell phone drop offs. Best Buy and Staples accept batteries for recycling. The Web site call2recycle.org will tell you where in your neighborhood to recycle cell phones and rechargeable batteries.
Most ink cartridge companies and office suppliers offer cartridge recycling programs with postage-paid envelopes. Several of these programs even come with cash or credit incentives. Check online to see which local profits are collecting ink cartridges to earn cash, or collect your own for www.recycle4charity.com.
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs)
While switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to save energy and money, disposing of them with regular waste is actually hazardous due to their mercury content. When they do burn out – which should take a good 2-5 years – bring them to Home Depot or IKEA, who will collect them for safe recycling.
Not recyclable with some curbside pick-up (although thankfully accepted in Philadelphia), #5 plastics like yogurt cups, sour cream containers, some medicine bottles, and Brita filters are used by the company Recycline in its Preserve line of products. Here is a list of retail drop-offs for their “Gimme 5” program, including Whole Foods.
Just About Everything Else
Have something large like a refrigerator or completely odd like a planter in the shape of a frog? Don’t forget that your trash is always someone’s treasure. A post on the Buy Nothing Group, Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org is certain to find someone more than willing to take just about anything off your hands!
Please feel free to add your own recycling tips to the comments section.