8 surprising items you didn’t know you could recycle

Recycling is a big deal, and we’re all trying to do our part. But did you know that recycling goes way beyond paper, plastic, and glass?

Let me tell you, there are some items you’d never even think could be recycled. But, surprise, they can!

In this article, I’m going to share eight of these surprising recyclable items. You’ll be amazed by what can go into that green bin besides the usual suspects.

Believe me, this information is going to revolutionize your recycling game. So let’s dive in and discover these 8 surprising items you didn’t know you could recycle.

1) Toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes

Who would have thought?

We use them every day and yet, their end destination is usually the trash can. But did you know that toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes are actually recyclable?

Yes, you heard it right!

These bathroom essentials are typically made of plastic and metal, materials that can be recycled in innovative ways if given the chance. And while they might not be accepted in your regular household recycling bin, there are special recycling programs out there that happily accept these items.

So next time you’re about to toss these out, stop and think. With a little extra effort, your old toothbrush and empty toothpaste tube could end up living a second life.

And remember, it’s about making conscious choices to help our environment. After all, every bit counts!

2) Old CDs and DVDs

Now this one is personal for me.

You see, I’ve always been a music lover. Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of CDs and DVDs. But with everything going digital these days, my collection started gathering dust.

One day, as I was about to throw them away, a thought struck me – can these be recycled?

To my surprise, they absolutely can!

CDs and DVDs are made from polycarbonate, which is a type of plastic. So while they can’t be tossed into your regular recycling bin, there are facilities that specialize in recycling these items. They grind them down and transform them into a variety of new plastic products.

So now, instead of contributing to landfill waste, my old music and movie collection is out there living a second life as something new and useful. A win-win situation if you ask me!

3) Wine corks

Wine corks – we’ve all got a few lying around. But did you know these little stoppers are more than just mementos from a good night?

Corks are made from the bark of cork oak trees. These trees have an incredible ability to regenerate their bark, making cork a sustainable resource.

But here’s the kicker – these corks can also be recycled!

Recycling programs for wine corks turn them into all manner of products like flooring tiles, building insulation, sports equipment, and even automotive gaskets.

So next time you pop open a bottle of wine, remember to recycle the cork. It could end up as part of your car or even under your feet!

4) Eyeglasses

Have an old pair of eyeglasses gathering dust in the drawer? Don’t throw them away just yet!

Eyeglasses might not seem like a typical item to recycle. But think about it – they’re made of metal and plastic, both recyclable materials. Plus, the lenses can be reused too.

There are numerous organizations out there that collect used eyeglasses, refurbish them, and distribute them to people in need around the world.

So not only are you recycling, but you’re also giving someone the gift of sight. Now that’s a clear win for everyone involved!

5) Wedding dresses

Here’s one that really tugs at the heartstrings – wedding dresses.

It’s understandable why most women keep their wedding dress. It’s a beautiful reminder of a special day. But sometimes, circumstances change, and you might find yourself wondering what to do with it.

Before you consider tossing it in the trash, remember that wedding dresses can be recycled too.

Many charities accept donated wedding dresses and either resell them for a good cause or repurpose them into outfits for babies who didn’t make it. It’s a beautiful way to give your dress a second life and help someone else in the process.

So while recycling your wedding dress might seem like a big step, know that it can bring comfort and joy in places you never imagined.

6) Old keys

Here’s something I never thought about until I moved house last year – old keys.

I found a box filled with keys from all the places I’d lived over the years. They no longer unlocked anything, they were just there, carrying memories of homes, cars, and even old office desks.

After some research, I found out that keys are usually made from brass or nickel silver, both of which are recyclable metals.

There are plenty of organizations that collect old keys and melt them down to create new metal products.

So those keys, once a symbol of access and security, now have a chance to be useful again in a completely different way. It’s a transformation that feels oddly poetic to me.

7) Greeting cards

Holiday season, birthdays, anniversaries – we get greeting cards for all sorts of occasions. But once the event is over, what do you do with them?

Sure, some of us keep them for the memories, but what about the rest?

Well, surprise! Greeting cards can be recycled too.

Most cards are made from paper, which is a recyclable material. If there’s a bit of glitter or foil on your card, you might need to remove that part before recycling. But the rest of it can go right into your paper recycling bin.

So next time you’re doing a cleanup, remember this little fact and give those old greeting cards a chance at a new life!

8) Crayons

Here’s the big one – crayons.

Did you know that crayons can take years, even decades to decompose in a landfill? That’s a long time for something that gets used up so quickly, especially in a house with kids.

But here’s the good news – crayons can be recycled!

There are programs that collect old, broken, and unwanted crayons, melt them down, and then remold them into new crayons. These are often donated to schools, hospitals, and other places where children can use them.

So don’t let those colorful sticks of wax contribute to landfill waste. Recycle them instead and let their colorful journey continue!

Final thought: It’s more than just trash

Each item we discard carries with it a story of production, use, and disposal. These stories, often unseen and ignored, have profound implications for our environment.

From toothbrushes to wedding dresses, surprising items can be recycled and reused, giving them a renewed purpose and reducing the strain on our planet.

Every act of recycling is a conscious choice. A choice to give an item another chance, to reduce waste, and to contribute to a more sustainable future.

The next time you’re about to discard something, pause for a moment. Could this be recycled? Could this item have another life?

Remember, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not just about recycling. It’s about rethinking our relationship with the items we use and the world we live in. And that’s a thought worth holding onto.

Picture of Graeme

Graeme

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.

0:00
0:00