Aerosol cans: Empty canisters without the plastic lid can be recycled with other cans.
Alzheimer units, camps, Churches, Temples, Community/High School theaters, day cares, hospices, hospitals, senior centers, scouting groups, libraries, Facebook.com/marketplace, Goodwill.org, MDA.org, SalvationArmy.org
Enter the name of the item and your zip code at Earth911.com to find local recycling options near you.
Log onto DonationTown.org to find a local non-profit willing to come to you! Simply enter your zip code and schedule your pick-up online, that’s simple.
List whatever you’ve got on Freeecycle.org broken or not! Chances are someone wants it.
Antiperspirant and deodorant sticks: Plastics recycling.
Appliances: Can be scraped for cash by you or list on Freecycle (broken or not.) Most are made of mostly metal in which case they can be recycled. Goodwill.org or SalvationArmy.org
Baby blankets: ProjectLinus.org or ProjectNightNight.org
Backpacks: The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks, which its scientists use while tracking birds (americanbirding.org).
Batteries: Many stores, like RadioShack and Office Depot, accept batteries. Car batteries can be brought back for recycling to retailer.
Beach balls: Toss in with plastics recycling.
Books (paperbacks): Toss in with other paper. Booksforsoldiers.org, Halfpricebooks.com, Prisonreader.org, ProjectNightNight.org
Books (hardback): Remove the cover then toss in with other paper.
Boxes (moving): Uhaul.com
Building supplies: Habitat.org/env/restores.aspx or Rebuildingcenters.org
Business clothing: CareerGear.org
Carpeting (nylon fiber): Go to carpetrecovery.org and click on “What can I do with my old carpet?” to find a carpet-reclamation facility near you, or check with your carpet’s manufacturer. Some carpet makers, like Milliken (millikencarpet.com), Shaw (shawfloors.com), and Flor (flor.com), have recycling programs.
Cars, Jet Skis, boats, trailers, RVs, and motorcycles: Even rusted they’re still good to scrap. Call junkyards in your area, or go to junkmycar.com, which will pick up and remove cars, trailers, motorcycles, and other heavy equipment for free. Diabetes.org, Kars4kids.com, Kidney.org
CD’s: Sharediscsfordogs.org or Tunes4thetroops.org
Christmas Trees (artificial) TheChristmasTreeProject.org
Clothing: Amvets.org, Dressforsuccess.org, Womensalliance.org
Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Ikea and the Home Depot operate CFL recycling programs.
Computers: Check mygreenelectronics.com for a list or check sharetechnology.org or cristina.org or C4kfoundation.org Pcsforschools.org Recycledgoods.com Theonitfoundation.org Worldcomputerexchange.org
Corks: see wine corks
Crayons: Send them to the National Crayon Recycle Program crazycrayons.com, which melts down crayons and reforms them into new ones. Leave the wrappers on: “When you have black, blue, and purple crayons together without wrappers, it’s hard to tell them apart,” says the program’s founder, LuAnn Foty, a.k.a. the Crazy Crayon Lady.
Crutches: still looking
Crocs: The manufacturer recycles used Crocs into new shoes and donates them to underprivileged families. Mail them to: Crocs Recycling West, 3375 Enterprise Avenue, Bloomington CA 92316.
Dresses: Glassslipperproject.org PromWishesInc.org
Digital camera: local pet shelter (petfinder.org) they’ll take photos of pets waiting to be adopted
Egg cartons: Take them to your local farmer’s market and give them away.
Empty metal cans (food products): Leave the labels on and toss in recycling bin.
Envelopes: Toss them with paper.
FedEx envelopes: Paper FedEx envelopes can be recycled with the plastic sleeve.
FedEx paks: see below
Goldenrod: These mustard-colored envelopes are not recyclable
Jiffy Paks: Toss in with cardboard.
Padded envelopes with Bubble Wrap: These can’t be recycled. Check with your local library to see if they’d like to use them for inter-library loans.
Tyvek: DuPont, the maker of Tyvek, takes these envelopes back and recycles them into plastic lumber. Turn one envelope inside out and stuff others inside it. Mail them to Tyvek Recycle, Attention: Shirley B. Wright, 2400 Elliham Avenue #A, Richmond VA 23237. If you have large quantities 200+ call 866-338-9835 to order a free pouch.
Eyeglasses: Toss metal ones in with other metal recycling. Or donate any style glasses or sunglasses to neweyesfortheneedy.com. Or drop off old pairs of glasses at LensCrafters, Target Optical, or other participating stores and doctors’ offices, which will send them to onesight.org Givethegiftofsight.com uniteforsight.org
Film canisters: Toss in with plastics recycling.
Fire extinguishers: Check with your local fire-equipment company and request that they dispose of your extinguisher.
Food processors: see appliances
Formal wear: Prom or bridesmaid dresses operationfairydust.org or catherinescloset.org
Fur (or fur trimmed items): HumaneSociety.org uses them to comfort orphaned animals.
Gadgets: Recycleforbreastcancer.org will send you prepaid shipping labels, recycle your gadgets.
Gift bags: Recycle with paper or donate to local thrift store for resale or for buyers purchases.
Glue: Many schools have recycling programs for empty containers of Elmer’s glue and glue sticks elmersgluecrew.com.
Golf Clubs: Kidneyclubs
Hangers (plastic): Donate them to a thrift store.
Hangers (wire): Some dry cleaners and Laundromats will reuse them. Or recycle with metals.
Hazardous waste: Earth911.com
Hearing aids: The Starkey Hearing Foundation (starkeyhearingfoundation.org) recycles used hearing aids, any make or model, no matter how old. Lions Clubs also accept hearing aids go to donateglasses.org to find collection centers near you.
Holiday cards: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children (stjudesranch.org), a nonprofit home for abused and neglected youths, runs a holiday-card reuse program in which the kids cut off the front covers, glue them onto new cards, and sell them.
iPods: Bring in an old iPod to an Apple store and get 10 percent off a new one purchased that day.
Juice bags: TerraCycle will donate 2 cents for each Honest Kids, Capri Sun, and Kool-Aid Drink pouch and 1 cent for any other brand you collect and send in to the charity of your choice. The organization provides free shipping. TerraCycle turns them into colorful purses, totes, and pencil cases that are sold at Target and Walgreens stores throughout the country. Go to terracycle.net.
Keys: These are considered scrap metal and can be recycled.
Knitting supplies: ProjectLinus.org
Knives: Large knives can be turned into your local Police Station.
Leather accessories: Not recyclable. Leather shoes in good condition can go to solesforsouls.org, a nonprofit that collects used footwear and distributes it to needy communities.
Makeup: If you turn in 6+ MAC containers to MAC you will receive a free lipstick at the counter.
Mattresses and box springs: Mattresses are made of recyclable materials, such as wire, paper, and cloth, but not all cities accept them for recycling. (Go to earth911.org to find out if yours does.)
Metal flatware: Recycle them with other scrap metal.
Milk cartons with plastic spouts and caps: Toss it in with paper.
Mirrors: Some towns take them others don’t to find out what your municipality recycles, call 800-CLEANUP or visit recyclingcenters.org.
Musical instruments: Hungryformusic.org or OperationHappyNote.com
Nail clippers: These are considered scrap metal and can be recycled.
Nikes: see sneakers
Notebooks (spiral): Toss into paper recycling with the metal spiral.
Packing materials: Most packaging stores (like UPS and Mail Boxes Etc.) accept them. To find a peanut reuser near you, go to loosefillpackaging.com. Some towns recycle Styrofoam packing blocks; if yours doesn’t, visit epspackaging.org to find a drop-off location, or mail them in according to the instructions on the site. Packing pillows marked “Fill-Air” can be deflated (poke a hole in them), then mailed to Ameri-Pak, Sealed Air Recycle Center, 477 South Woods Drive, Fountain Inn SC 29644. They will be recycled into things like trash bags and automotive parts.
Paint: Check earth911.org for your local recycling options or pick up a paint pack at the home improvement store which hardens leftover paint when stirred into it.
Pendaflex folders: Metal hangers into metal and toss the paper into paper.
Pizza boxes: Recycle the corrugated cardboard.
Plastic bottle caps: Bring them to any AVEDA Salon go to aveda.aveda.com to find your local salon.
Plastic wrap (used): Not recyclable.
Post-its: Toss them in with paper recycling.
Prescription bottles: Still looking.
Prescription drugs: The Starfish Project (thestarfish-project.org) will send you a prepaid FedEx label to collect some unused medications (TB medicines, antifungals, antivirals) and gives them to clinics in Nigeria. Some towns or pharmacies run drug recycling programs.
Printer-ink cartridges: Take them to Staples and get $3 off your next cartridge purchase, or mail HP-brand cartridges back to HP.
Quiche pans and other cookware: Toss them in with metal recycling.
Rugs (cotton or wool): If your town’s recycling center accepts rugs, great. If not, you’re out of luck, because you can’t ship rugs directly to a fabric recycler; they need to be sent in bulk. Your best bet is to donate them to the thrift store of a charity, like the Salvation Army.
School supplies: iloveschools.com or LiveUnited.org
Sheet sets: any condition accepted by local animal shelters for cages.
Shopping bags (paper): Even those with metal grommets and ribbon handles can usually be recycled with other paper.
Shopping bags (plastic): If your town doesn’t recycle plastic, you may be able to drop them off at your local grocery store. Safeway, for example, accepts grocery and dry-cleaning bags and turns them into plastic lumber. (To find other stores, go to plasticbagrecycling.org.) What’s more, a range of retailers, like City Hardware, have begun to use biodegradable bags made of corn. (BioBags break down in compost heaps in 10 to 45 days.)
Shower curtains and liners: Most facilities do not recycle these because they’re made of PVC. (If PVC gets in with other plastics, it can compromise the chemical makeup of the recycled material.)
Single shoes: Oddshoe.org
Six-pack rings: See if your local school participates in the Ring Leader Recycling Program (ringleader.com); kids collect six-pack rings to be recycled into other plastic items, including plastic lumber and plastic shipping pallets.
Smoke detectors: Some towns accept those that have beeped their last beep. If yours doesn’t, try the manufacturer. First Alert takes back detectors (you pay for shipping); call 800-323-9005 for information.
Sneakers: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program (nikereuseashoe.com) accepts old sneakers (any brand) and recycles them into courts for various sports so kids around the world have a place to play. You can drop them off at a Nike store, other participating retailers, athletic clubs, and schools around the country (check the website for locations), or mail them to Nike Recycling Center, c/o Reuse-a-Shoe, 26755 SW 95th Avenue, Wilsonville OR 97070. If your sneakers are still in reasonable shape, donate them to needy athletes in the United States and around the world through oneworldrunning.com. Mail them to One World Running, P.O. Box 2223, Boulder CO 80306.
Soap dispensers (pump): Toss them in with the other plastics.
Sports equipment: Trade sports gear in at Play It Again Sports (playitagainsports.com), or donate it to sportsgift.org, which gives gently used equipment to needy kids around the world. Mail to Sports Gift, 32545 B Golden Lantern #478, Dana Point CA 92629. As for skis, send them to skichair.com, 4 Abbott Place, Millbury MA 01527; they’ll be turned into Adirondack-style beach chairs.
Stereos and VCRs: Visit earth911.org for a list of recyclers, retail stores, and manufacturers near you that accept electronics.
Stuffed animals: MushyMates.com
Takeout-food containers: Most are not recyclable.
Tinfoil: Toss it in with cans.
Tires: Check Earth911 for your local collection site.
Tissue boxes with plastic dispensers: Toss in with cardboard.
Toothbrushes: Not recyclable.
Toothbrush tubes: Not recyclable.
Toys: ToySwap.com (click the donation button)
TVs: Best Buy will remove and recycle a set when it delivers a new one. Or bring old ones to Office Depot to be recycled. Sony brands drop-off centers are listed at sony.com/recycle.
Umbrellas: Metal parts toss into metal recycling. Plastic goes with plastic.
Used clothing: Some towns recycle clothing into seat stuffing, upholstery, or insulation. Also consider donating clothing to animal shelters, where it can be turned into pet bedding.
Utensils (plastic): still looking
Videotapes, cassettes, and floppy disks: Send tapes to the ACT (actrecycling.org.) You can also send videotapes, cassettes, and floppy disks to greendisk.com; recycling 20 pounds or less costs $6.95, plus shipping.
Walker: still looking
Wheelchairs: Log onto lifenets.org/wheelchair.
Wine corks: Whole Foods Stores offer cork recycling bins. Or to turn them into flooring and wall tiles, send them to Wine Cork Recycling, Yemm & Hart Ltd., 610 South Chamber Drive, Fredericktown MO 63645. Or check GalloFamily.com/every-cork-counts
Wipes and sponges: These can’t be recycled. But sea sponges and natural sponges made from vegetable cellulose are biodegradable and can be tossed into a compost heap.
Writing implements: Check iloveschools.com for local teacher wishlists.
Xmas lights: Ship your old lights to holidayleds.com, Attention: Recycling Program, 120 W. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1403, Jackson MI 49201.
Yogurt cups: Stonyfield Farm has launched a program that turns its cups into toothbrushes, razors, and other products. Mail to Stonyfield Farm, 10 Burton Drive, Londonderry NH 03053. Or you can join TerraCycle’s Yogurt Brigade (terracycle.net) to recycle Stonyfield containers and raise money for your favorite charity.
Zippered plastic bags: Toss where you recycle plastic shopping bags.
*Do you have something to add? Let me know.