Tennis Shoes And 14 Other Uncommon Things You May Not Know Are Recyclable

Tennis Shoes And 14 Other Uncommon Things You May Not Know Are Recyclable

From Keys and cosmetics to wine corks and crayons, there's a whole lot more than bottles and cans that can be recycled.


Without exception, recycling is the top action society can do to simultaneously improve: the environment, the economy, sustainable manufacturing and to prevent waste from going into oceans. Paper, plastics, and aluminum cans. All the things we know that can be recycled and are commonly done so.

But did you know that there are tons of other things that can be recycled as well?

The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Much of that supposed "trash" can be recycled.

Here's a list of 14 uncommon things, besides tennis shoes, that you can recycle.

1. Oil


Motor oil, frying oil and any other oil that you could possibly think of can be recycled.

When you take your car to have its oil changed, that oil has to go somewhere. that oil is recycled. and those who change their own vehicle's oil can recycle too. Most cities and towns have guidelines related to how to collect and recycle motor oil products.

Many restaurants regularly recycle their commercial cooking oil, fast foods being the ones that use the most.

2. Tennis shoes

tennis shoes

Instead of throwing your old tennis shoes away, recycle them. Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program accepts old sneakers (any brand) and recycles them into courts for various sports so kids around the world have a place to play.

3. E-waste


Cellphones, laptops, old junky computers.. All of theses thing can be recycled. They are taken for their parts and the ones that can be reused are.

4. Holiday lights

holiday lights

Send you used lights to HolidayLEDs and you could get a a 15-percent-off coupon for anything on their site. The program is open year round.

5. Crayons


With 120,000 pounds of crayons produced each day in this country, the landfills could become surprisingly colorful. The best thing about these little drawing tools? Even they can be recycled! The National Crayon Recycle Program will recycle your rejected crayons and turn them into new ones.

6. Wine corks


Wine corks can be recycled into a number of things. They can be used in DIY projects, put into insulation, and even be used in making sports equipment. The organizations ReCork and SOLE have teamed up to repurpose those wine corks into soles for shoes.

7. Tooth brushes


One of the most daily and commonly used items, a toothbrush is also easily one of the most recyclable plastics out there. Instead of throwing these away when you buy a new one, consider recycling.

8. Christmas trees

christmas tree

Tree recycling programs are becoming more common throughout the U.S. and old trees are being used for bird feeders to soil erosion barriers.

9. CD-Roms


Many people still own a large number of CD's. Although, personally, I haven't used one in years. When these discs become scratched or chipped they are usually thrown away. However, they can be recycled into other things.

10. Batteries


Can you believe there was a time when people didn't recycle batteries? Well fear no more, places like RadioShack and Office Depot, accept reusable ones, as does the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation.

11. Packing peanuts

packing peanuts

The unfortunate thing is that these little things take up a lot of room and don't biodegrade causing lots of problems. However, many of the shipping companies that use them will take them back. So there is an upside to all those pesky little things. You can find drop off locations at

12. tights/panty hose


Used pantyhose can be turned into such things as park benches, playground equipment, carpets, ropes and even toys. In fact, the company No Nonsense has started a program to recycle their own tights, much like Nike's shoe recycling program.

13. Keys


One way to do this is to give them to the Keys for Hope Foundation which collects the keys and turns them into scrap metal and helps raise money to feed the hungry.

14. Cosmetics


Lush allow customers to bring back product pots; MAC gives you a free lipstick if you return the packaging from 6 of their products; Origins will accept packaging from any cosmetics company for recycling or energy recovery, and even give customers a free sample of one of their products.

15. Carpeting


The main thing to note here is that while carpet can't be taken to a normal recycling facility or just put out with the other recycled stuff, but like most of the things on this list, it can be taken to a carpet reclaim facility and they will recycle it there for you.

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Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?


When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

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Vinicius Amano


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Solving Climate Change Is The Key To Solving Poverty

Two insurmountable problems, one solution.


It is rare that anything happens in a vacuum. Even more than most things, poverty is intertwined with a number of other issues facing our society. One issue you may not have connected to poverty though is climate change. For one thing, "extremely poor people cannot lift themselves out of poverty without access to reliable energy." This has to be done though without increasing and preferably reducing pollution, and carbon emissions.

This is easier said than done when "achieving universal electricity access by 2030 would result in only a 2% increase in global emissions." This is why the "rhetorical link the UN is making between anti-poverty and anti-climate " is important "it will push the environmental movement to focus its efforts where they should always have been - on wind and solar – and to make sure that the cost of new technology is borne by those who can afford it."

With both poverty and climate change being such major problems they can appear insurmountable, but they can even be tackled together. One of the best ways to reduce poverty is with jobs, and "solar and wind jobs have grown at rates of about 20% annually in recent years, and sustainability now collectively represents four to four and a half million jobs in the U.S., up from 3.4 million in 2011."

With this, we need to focus on how to help green energy businesses. Where to start? Well, currently "a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare" goes to fossil fuels, "how does this compare to renewable energy subsidies? In terms of permanent tax expenditures, fossil fuels beat renewables by a 7-1 margin."

An investment in renewable energy could both help us create jobs, and reduce carbon emissions. You might be thinking "what about the jobs we'd lose in reducing the fossil fuel? Wouldn't that pretty much just balance this whole thing out?" The thing is, the jobs are in renewables, not fossil fuel.

With all that the answer becomes apparent. We can increase jobs, reduce emissions, and help alleviate poverty and climate change. It's a win-win situation, and all it would take is altering where we send our funds.

If you would like to learn more about it than you can look at the UN's plan, and the World Bank's thoughts on the issue.

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