Recyclable Items You Didn’t Know About

Recycling is an essential practice for the environment. When the word "recyclable" comes to mind, most people think of soda cans, water bottles, and cardboard boxes. What about cell phones, eyeglasses, and toilets?

Recycling is an essential practice for the environment. When the word "recyclable" comes to mind, most people think of soda cans, water bottles, and cardboard boxes. What about cell phones, eyeglasses, and toilets? Maybe you try to live out “reduce, reuse, recycle” in your household, but you may have some of your signals crossed when it comes to figuring out what actually can be recycled or reused again. While there are several eco-conscious movements, we could be doing more to increase the amount of waste we recycle and decrease waste being sent to the landfill. We compiled a list of 10 items you may not have known were recyclable to help you better the world around you!

  1. Toilets

Recycling facilities can use the porcelain and turn it into concrete for roads or sidewalks. To recycle your toilet or any porcelain fixture, you'll need to find a local recycling center that accepts porcelain. If not, try contacting a local charity such as Habitat for Humanity that carries used, working building materials.

  1. Carpet

If you’re planning to buy a new carpet for your home, don’t just throw away the old rug. Instead, find a carpet reclamation facility to take it away for recycling. Alternatively, if you know your company's name that manufactured your carpet, you can check if they offer any recycling programs.

  1. Keys

Your old house keys can be taken to your local recycling center. When you find old useless keys, most plain-metal house keys can be recycled instead of leaving them there for eternity. House keys are considered scrap metal. Head to a local recycling center that accepts scrap metal.

  1. Shingles

Since shingles are made from asphalt, they can easily be recycled and used for paving streets and highways. ShingleRecycling.org can help you find a local shingle recycler.

  1. Crayons

Crayons aren’t as fun to use once they’re small or broken, and most of those pieces end up going right into the trash. But if you save all those unused pieces of crayons, you can donate them. You could even mail them to The Crayon Initiative in California, which melts down old crayons and sends the new batch to children’s hospitals across the country.

  1. Cell phones

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fewer than 20 percent of cell phones are recycled each year. Tech pieces are full of recyclable materials that can easily be reused in another product. Computers and phones can either be reused for other purposes or go through mechanical shredding for those usable metals.

  1. Holiday Lights

We all use holiday lights to decorate our homes, and in the end, they find their way to the landfills when they no longer work. Instead of chucking them in the trash, some programs recycle them. Send those energy-sucking strands of holiday lights off to HolidayLEDs.

  1. Diapers

That’s right. Even used diapers can be recycled. Since diapers are made with plastic, Knowaste separates the waste from the plastic so it can be reused in other capacities.

  1. Eyeglasses

Several organizations take your old eyeglasses to give to someone with a similar prescription overseas. Many eye doctors’ offices or local libraries will collect them. Individuals can often donate sunglasses and reading glasses as well.

  1. Prescription drugs

The safest way to recycle medications, whether unneeded or expired, is through the drug store you received them from. Many pharmacies have mail-back programs or kiosks at their stores where you can drop off your prescription drugs.

Americans produce more and more garbage every year when we need to be producing less. Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle. As you can see, there are many things that you can recycle; you just have to do a little research. What items in your home do you find the trickiest to recycle?

If you’re working to make the world a better place, don’t you want the businesses you buy from to be striving to do the same? At SCORD, we rate companies based on their customer service, employment practices, environmental friendliness, philanthropy, and the quality of their products and services. With this data, you can see which businesses value the same things as you, encouraging companies to better themselves and the world around them.