Top 50 Things To Recycle and Reuse

When most people think of recycling, they think about recycling things such as aluminum cans, plastic water bottles and plastic grocery bags. But in reality, you can recycle almost anything. Here is a list of 53 common things you can recycle.

Top 50 Things To Recycle and Reuse

  1. Cars

    Instead of selling your car or sending it to the junk yard, donate it to a charitable organization. Not only will you keep the car out of the landfill, you will receive a tax deduction as well.
  2. Clothes

    Clothes are one of the easiest things to recycle as so many charitable organizations will accept them such as Goodwill, Veteran's Support Groups and most churches. In addition, you can possibly sell them at a consignment shop if they are still in good shape and in style.
  3. Christmas Trees

    Most local city governments set up Christmas Tree recycling drop off's across the community after Christmas. They will accept the trees free of charge. The trees are generally turned into mulch which is then used in city parks.
  4. Food

    yes food. Start a compose heap in your backyard. Instead of throwing old food in the trash, throw it in the compost heap. You can use it to fertilize your garden.
  5. Food Containers

    Before throwing a food container in the trash, check the label to see if it is able to be recycled. Glass jars and bottles, cardboard boxes such as some cereal boxes and paper wrappers can all be recycled in many cases.
  6. Computers

    If your computer still works, you can donate it to a local library, school system or charity. If it no longer operates, contact your local recycling center. In addition, you can contact a local electronics retailer to see if they have a computer recycling program.
  7. Cell phones

    There are numerous charities that accept cell phones notably many charities that assist women. In addition, many companies that can be found online will pay you for your used cell phone if it still works. Finally, cell phone can be recycled for their parts which are re-used in new cell phones.
  8. Smoke detectors

    Some smoke detectors can be returned to the manufacturer. Check with your manufacturer to see if the recycle your particular model. Some smoke detectors are considered hazardous waste because they contain small traces of Americium 241. If this is the case the manufacturer will recommend they're disposed of as hazardous waste.
  9. Ink Cartridges

    Many office supply stores will take these. Some pay $1 per cartridge. Check with you local office supply store.
  10. Tires

    Tires are horrible for landfills as they take up a lot of space, can leach dangerous chemicals over time and can pose a fire hazard. Tires are taken by local recycling centers and can be used for a variety of purposes such as be shredded for rubber mulch, recycled into new tires, and recycled into rubber containers.
  11. Telephones

    There are places willing to buy back or accept donations of old telephones. These places refurbish old phones or use the parts and casings for other things. To find out how to dispose of your old telephones, do an Internet search.
  12. Magazines

    Since magazines are made of paper, all recycling centers and local curbside recycling services will accept them. You can also donate them to local schools or libraries.
  13. Foam Packing Material

    Most shipping businesses will take your old foam packing material. They will not pay you for it, but the material will be reused.
  14. Fluorescent Bulbs

    Fluorescent light bulbs contain Mercury which is considered hazardous waste. The mercury in bulbs can be used to make new bulbs. Don't throw your bulbs in the trash, contact your local recycling center to ask for their hazardous waste recommendations. Also, many hardware and home improvement stores will accept fluorescent bulbs for recycling.
  15. Paint

    Paint is considered hazardous waste. You cannot dispose of paint by dumping it down a drain or storm sewer. Many recycling centers accept paint which can be blended into some fuels at different manufacturing facilities.
  16. PDAs

    Recycling PDAs is similar to cell phone recycling. They can be given to charities, exchanged for cash on some sites, or truly recycled for their parts.
  17. Motor Oil

    If you change your own oil, please don't pour it down the drain, into a storm sewer or onto the ground. Most oil change and auto parts store will take your used oil for free. They use it to convert back into usable oil products.
  18. Bathtubs, toilets and sinks

    Many salvage stores will purchase old bathroom fixtures. Contact your local recycling organization to learn how to drop off used fixtures.
  19. Books

    Books can be donated to schools, libraries and other charities. They can also be recycled at your local recycling center or in your local curbside recycling program.
  20. Carpets, Rugs, Padding

    There are places that will try to recycle used carpets and rugs rather than toss them into landfill. Check online with the Carpet America Recovery Effort, UGA Carpet Recycling Resource, the California Integrated Waste Management Board or any other number of organizations geared towards recycling.
  21. Batteries

    If you're not already using rechargeable batteries, please consider doing so. Most recycling centers will accept batteries, depending on the type. Most auto parts stores will accept car batteries. If you buy a new battery from them, they will give you a discount off the new battery if you bring in your old battery.
  22. Plastic Bags

    Every supermarket has a bin located at the front for dropping off your plastic bags, even those that are torn. You can also make things from old supermarket plastic bags.
  23. CDs/DVDs/Game Discs

    There are various for profit businesses that buy or trade used CDs and DVDs and game discs. There are also some businesses that will take scratched discs and refurbish them for resale. Even if they do not pay you for the discs, they will not go into a landfill.
  24. Clothing Hangars

    Most dry cleaners will accept used clothes hangers. That is the easiest way to recycle them to be used again.
  25. Mattresses

    Mattresses can be recycled. They're cleaned, sanitized, re-stuffed and resold or donated to charitable organizations and homeless shelters. For a mattress recycler near you do an Internet search, they're all over.
  26. Leaves

    Use your leaves for compost and mulch.
  27. Barbecue propane tanks

    When refilling your propane tank, most refillers will use your old tank. If you must get rid of a tank, contact your local natural gas and/or propane supply company as they will take them free of charge, even if they are rusted out and/or leak.
  28. Sewing machines

    Sewing machines can be recycled anywhere that takes scrap metal.
  29. Styrofoam containers

    Can be recycled at local recycling centers and or local curbside recycling pickup.
  30. Televisions

    Old TVs fill landfills and can leak dangerous chemicals harmful to animals and humans. If the TV works, you can sell it or give it to charity. If it does not work, most local recycling centers take them free of charge. If you buy a new TV, most TV retailers will also dispose of the TV free of charge.
  31. Fencing

    Contact your local recycling center or bulk waste center to learn how to dispose of your old fencing material.
  32. Fire extinguishers

    Contact your hazardous waste center to learn how to recycle your fire extinguisher.
  33. Grass clippings

    Use your old grass clippings for mulch and compost. Dried grass can also be used to line certain small animal cages.
  34. Aluminum cans

    What? People have been using their foreheads to crush cans for recycling for, well, a long time. Surely they know what to do with them after that. (I know YOU do!)
  35. Old Toys

    Toys for Tots collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
  36. Fluorescent Bulbs

    Fluorescent light bulbs contain Mercury which is considered hazardous waste. The mercury in bulbs can be used to make new bulbs. Don't throw your bulbs in the trash, contact your local recycling center to ask for their hazardous waste recommendations. Also, many hardware and home improvement stores will accept fluorescent bulbs for recycling.
  37. Paper

    Paper of all kinds can be recycling including notebook paper, newspapers, food packaging, etc... All recycling centers take paper and most communities now have recycling programs with curb side pick-up for paper.
  38. Cardboard boxes

    Many local non-profits and will take them for their personal us. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.
  39. Shoes

    Charities and thrift shops will accept shoes which can still be used. Nike also has a used show program that sends used athletic shows to Africa and Latin America.
  40. Clothes

    Clothes are one of the easiest things to recycle as so many charitable organizations will accept them such as Goodwill, Veteran's Support Groups and most churches.
  41. Toothbrushes and Razors

    Plastic ones can be recycled back into plastic or plastic lumber.
  42. Scrap Metal

    Not only can you recycle it, you can earn from it. Scrap metal from construction projects, home remodeling, demolition, etc...
  43. Glass

    Recycling glass containers of any type is generally about 33% more efficient than producing it from scratch. This saves energy consumption which reduces carbon emissions.
  44. Old Jewelry

    Most jewelry can be melted down and refashioned into something new for you. Recycle your jewelry and get a new fashion piece at the same time.
  45. Wine Corks

    Some flooring companies will take used wine corks and turn them into cork flooring. Help build a house with your old wine corks.
  46. Old Christmas Lights

    How many times have you pulled out the Christmas lights from last year and they did not work? Instead of throwing them away, recycle them. Some lighting companies will take them.
  47. Appliances

    Washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators are accepted by local thrift shop or charitable organizations of they still work. If not, takethem to your local recycling center. They will tear them apart to recycle the various parts such as the metal.
  48. Eyeglasses

    Old glasses can be donated to many charitable organizations. If you do not know of any, your eye doctor will also take them and send them to a deserving charity.
  49. Phone Books

    Most recycling centers will accept phone books. If not, when new phone books are delivered each year, the phone book company will set up recycling areas around the community to take the old phone books. Otherwise contact the closest Project ReDirectory center.
  50. Hearing Aids

    Like eyeglasses, there are many people in need of hearing aids who can't afford them. Donate your old hearing aids to a variety of charities.

All of the actions listed above can help the environment in numerous ways. In addition, most help us as individuals and communities as well. Almost all of the actions above save us money through reduced energy and water consumption which saves money on utility bills, gasoline bills, etc... So help the environment and help yourself through the actions above.

Be sure to check out our list of Top 10 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day