As an environmentally-conscious society, most Americans know that beverage containers, cardboard, and motor oil can and should be recycled. But there are other items that fill spaces in closets, under beds, in junk drawers, and garage corners that are not so readily recycled, yet they aren’t easily thrown into the garbage can either. Where and how can those odd or unusual items be recycled? (In case a reminder is needed, foam packing peanuts, corks, metal keys, and baby equipment CAN be recycled.) Here then is a list of more unusual items and where to send them to make sure they get reused or recycled.
CDs/DVDs–who doesn’t have a few CDs and DVDs hanging around that skip and stick every time they are played? Time to put those shiny round disks to better use than cluttering up the entertainment shelf. If tying them to fruit trees to scare away the birds or using them as driveway reflectors isn’t your style, Back Thru the Future will gladly recycle them for you. This New Jersey-based company will take CDs, DVDs, and the jewel cases and recycle them for their precious materials. Fill a cardboard box of any size with the unwanted disks and send them on their way.
Crayons-they get broken, or white doesn’t get used; face it, every parent has a shoe box or sand pail filled with crayons that have seen better days. Don’t just toss them in the garbage, they can be recycled in to new crayons! Lots of people do this themselves to make fun-shaped crayons as party treats or stocking stuffers. Not the crafty type? Send the broken bits of colored wax to Crazy Crayons by filling a box and mailing it. Crayons don’t have to be sorted and they can have paper on or off. Those arriving with the paper will be stripped of their wrapper and melted to form new crayons in all sorts of fun shapes. Those waxy wrappers will be used to make fire starters.
Eyeglasses-anyone who wears glasses knows that prescriptions change over time or the frames go out of style. Instead of letting old eyeglasses fill a drawer, let them be put to good use by the Lions Clubs International. The Lions have been collecting eyeglasses for over 80 years and distributing them internationally to individuals. There are collection boxes in locations all over the United States and Walmart stores have recently partnered with the Lions to become a collection center. There is also a recycling warehouse located in Vallejo, California.
Pull tabs-save these shiny little gizmos off the top of beverage cans and help buy hours for dialysis patients, or bone marrow recipients, or military personnel stationed over seas. NOT! This is just a rumor; one that has been around for decades. The full story can be found at Snopes. However, the pull tabs on aluminum cans are recyclable, just like the rest of the can. Unfortunately for those that have jars and jars of these, they have no more monetary value when detached from the can than they do when they are attached. Better to just recycle the whole can for cash and donate the money to a chosen charitable cause.
Shoes-these can be so expensive when bought new and kids grow out of them so quickly, it only makes sense to pass them on to a friend or donate them to Goodwill if no longer wanted. What if there are more than just a couple of pairs or even worse, you can only find one of the shoes? Believe or not, there is an organization that accepts gently-worn shoes, in pairs or singles, and then distributes them both nationally and internationally. Soles4Souls got its start in 2004 when a devastating tsunami hit southeast Asia. Then when Katrina hit the United States, Soles4Souls responded again. This organization has grown exponentially to the extent that they are giving shoes away at a rate of one pair every 7 seconds. There are participation locations throughout the U.S.; find one near you.
So…have CDs/DVDs, crayons, eyeglasses, pull tabs, or shoes you no longer want or need? Pass them on to the mentioned organizations and clean the clutter and make the world a better place.