uncommon recyclable things

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 loosefillpackaging.com

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.

Popular Right Now

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.

Cover Image Credit:

Vinicius Amano


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4 Products To Keep Your Period Plastic-Free

C'mon ladies, let's save a few sea turtles during our crimson tide!


Our plastic waste eats up landfills, oceans, and the environment around us. It's killing the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. If we all make small, easy swaps on everyday products, we can make one large change for Mother Earth! So I know we all dread that time of the month, but Aunt Flow visits us whether we like it or not. With some of these feminine products, we can change our habits to help our planet, our bodies, and our wallets!

1. Cloth pads


Sanitary napkins can take from 500 to 800 years to decompose in a landfill. Reusable pads are an easy option when first starting your low-waste journey! The cloth pads snap around your underwear to stay in place, with an absorbing cloth inside to ensure that they don't leak. Most come with washable carrying cases so you can change out the pad out in public restrooms. If you're at home, you simply toss the cloth pad in your laundry basket. Cloth pads come in all shapes in sizes, even slim fit that are made for thongs. Not to mention there are adorable patterns and colors!

2. Menstrual cup


I recently bought a menstrual cup and cannot wait to try it! Menstrual cups are known for being incredibly comfortable, so comfortable you forget they're there. They last all day long, don't leak, and are completely reusable! All cups will come with an instruction guide. The cup is easy to insert, but you'll want to make sure you have a good understanding of where your cervix is before you do it. Once home for the day, all you have to do is pull the cup out and rinse it in your sink. Cleanliness is the most important factor to remember when using the cup. Most companies sell a soap that is safe for both you and the cup materials.

If you are a regular tampon user, I recommend the cup for you. It's similar, saves money, and is a healthier option than the chemicals found in your tampons, and we've all feared toxic shock syndrome which is not something that occurs when using the cup. On a less important note (but the fun part), my cup came with the cutest pink carrying case so I can throw it in my purse for emergencies.

3. Period panties


Period panties are the easiest option by far. They take no extra work— you just put on underwear like you do every day. The nice part is that they come in all kinds of sizes and styles, from hip-huggers to bikinis and thongs. When I used period panties, I always went for the hip-hugging style, which I would recommend for any girls blessed with a big booty like me. My favorite part about period panties is that you can buy different kinds depending on how heavy your flow is. Think of these like regular and super-plus tampons. I opted for the heaviest flow option, only because I was scared of spotting onto my pants.

I loved my period panties and will continue to use them on my lighter days, but I advise caution to girls with heavy flows. The one downfall is that if you're out in public and start to feel like you need a fresh pair, you're SOL. Now, I never had the issue of needing to change them, so maybe they just gave me flashbacks of middle school and the constant fear that somebody could see spots on my jeans...but understand that they take some getting used to. Just don't knock 'em until you try them!

4. Applicator-free tampons


Although I am a fan of reusable products that are zero waste, I understand changing your habits can be difficult. If you can't make the switch and know tampons are the best option for you, try O.B. tampons! They reduce waste by not coming with the unnecessary plastic applicators. O.B. tampons are inserted by just using your finger, but don't worry about the mess they are designed to keep your tampon (and your finger) clean! O.B. tampons are a healthy, low waste option that won't disrupt the lifestyle you have today. They're easy to find online and in most stores!

All it takes are a few small changes in your lifestyle to conserve waste. Even though your period only comes once every month, think about how much plastic you'll avoid using over the course of a year!

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