January 11, 2010

Unusual Items that Can Be Recycled

Recycling does not necessarily denote dropping off aluminum cans, plastic and glass containers, and paper at your local recycling center. While such recycling is great, there are unusual items that can be recycled and creative methods for doing so.

* Build stuff!

This is where recycling can get really fun. Old paint containers can be cleaned, covered with contact paper or paint, and used as planters, vases, or even used as coffee table legs. Prescription medication containers have been made into artwork, clocks, lamps, and picture frames. Leftover paint can be used to create artwork, or to paint the above projects. There are also programs that collect unused latex paint, such as the National Council on Paint Disposition (NCPD). Get creative!

* Donate

An interesting program began in California, wherein people donated old computers to prisons. The prisoners repaired the machines and, in turn, donated them to local schools. There may be such a program in your area. If there is not a local recycling option, some computer manufacturers offer a mail-in recycling program.

Check with local churches and other charities in your area, and talk to your eye doctor. You will probably find many options for recycling your eyeglasses. Various organizations collect used eyeglasses for distribution to third world countries or to other needy individuals. The most well-known of these organizations is Lions Club International, which has noticeable, yellow drop-boxes on city curbs for collecting eyeglasses. They look something like postal drop-boxes.

-Cell phones
Like eyeglasses, cell phones are another popular item for local charities to accept as donations. If it still works and you just want to upgrade, consider giving it to someone who could use it. You could also take the phone back to the place where you bought it, and ask about recycling.

* Recycle

Here are some other unusual items and some ideas for recycling them.

First, check with your local waste disposal officials and see if recycling medications is legal in your area. If so, ask if there are any programs through which your old medications can be recycled, such as a repository program.

-Engine oil
Engine oil can be re-refined and/or re-used, either as motor oil again or burned as a fuel. Check with your local mechanic, auto shop and/or waste collection authority and find out if there is a program available through which you can recycle your used motor oil.

Re-chargeable batteries need special treatment, but they can be recycled through special programs. Single-use alkaline batteries can be recycled as well. There are retailers who will take your used batteries and either recycle them or dispose of them properly. Check with your local solid waste authority, recycling center, or hardware store to find out what’s available in your area.

These days, recycling is about more than bottles and soda cans!

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Alexis Rodrigo

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