Reuse and Renew: 5 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Recycle
By Dixie Somers
Recycling is crucial, but there are so many products that just don’t seem to fit into the categories of glass, plastic or paper. Here are a few unusual ways to recycle the worn out items in your home.
Whether you are a teacher or just have children at your house from time to time, you probably have at least a small mountain of used and broken crayons sitting around. Luckily, there are dozens of ways to recycle them all. If you are artsy, melt down the crayons and make a new art piece or combine them to make broken pieces usable again. If you aren’t artsy or just don’t have the desire to make a crayon masterpiece, consider donating them to local schools, shelters, hospitals or orphanages. Another option is to send them to Crazy Crayons, a program that will melt them down and form new crayons from the recycled wax.
2. Tennis Balls
Tennis balls can’t be recycled at a normal recycling center like Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc., although the plastic canisters that they come in can be. That doesn’t mean that old tennis balls can’t be used, it just means that you may need to get creative. Look for local animal shelters or retirement homes that may want your used tennis balls first. Providing a dog with some excitement or an elderly person with some new feet for their walker is a fantastic way to end your tennis ball’s life. Another option is to donate them to reBounces, an organization that will repressurize and donate the used balls.
3. Wine Corks
The most popular way to recycle wine corks is to do a DIY project with them. Corks can be used to make everything from coasters and bath mats to lamp shades. A quick Google search can give you all of the instructions you need for any one of these projects. If you would rather just recycle responsibly, reCork is a great organization that collects used corks and turns them into recycled products like yoga blocks.
4. Athletic Shoes
Chances are, you go through at least one pair of tennis shoes a year. Instead of sending them to the landfill, make sure that your shoes are disposed of responsibly. As always, look for opportunities to donate them if they are in decent shape. If they are not, a great alternative is the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program. Nike will take any brand of shoe and break it down into pieces. The foam, rubber, and fabric are all separated and reclaimed by shoe manufacturers.
Old furniture has endless potential. Dirty couches, scratched tables, and even broken musical instruments can be brought back to life. Donating the furniture is always an option. Thrift stores and charity organizations are great places to call if you need some large pieces to be removed quickly. Many organizations will even come and pick the furniture up from you at no charge. You may also check online to see if any local DIY experts are in your area looking for project pieces; donating to them would support a local business and allow your piece to have a new life. There are also options for recycling furniture outright. Because of their size, most of these organizations are based locally. An internet search will easily turn up local options for responsible furniture disposal.
Recycling isn’t always easy, but almost everything in your home can be reused in one way or another. If you want to have a true impact on the world, don’t be afraid to get creative with your recycling efforts. A little research and a little effort can go a long way toward preserving the Earth.