4 Surprising Things in Your Home That You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

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Recycling keeps millions of pounds of reusable waste out of landfills, but only a portion of reclaimable materials are collectible at curbside. Most communities do not have the means to deal with low-volume returns, but a surprising number of items around the house are easy to recycle through businesses and non-municipal programs. Consider these four.

Athletic Shoes

Companies like Nike and Patagonia are doing the right thing by Planet Earth. In the past two decades, they’ve breathed new life into millions of pairs of old athletic shoes by shredding them into a soft substrate for athletic fields and more. You can mail your shoes to their recycling facilities or drop them off at a local store.


According to Southeastern Data, “recycling electronics and turning e-waste into reusable products is critical for the sustainability of our environment.” So while the local charity shop may not be interested in your 20-year-old television or cell phone, firms that reclaim plastics and metals are. Shells from TVs and radios are made into new garden furniture, fencing, and automotive parts, and the gold, silver, copper, and palladium found in wiring are valuable and reusable.

Printer Cartridges

Both ink and toner cartridges are recyclable, and that’s important because some contain highly toxic chemicals that can leak into the soil and water around landfills. Big office supply stores and other retailers collect them in convenient, in-store drop-off boxes, and some offer customers rewards like cash and coupons for each item turned in. According to Quill, “cartridges are shipped to facilities where they are separated into usable parts that are then sent to manufacturers that turn them into items such as fencing, decking, and park benches.”
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If crayons are safe enough for kids, then it seems reasonable that they are not particularly hazardous in a landfill, but why add more than 100,000 pounds of them to the waste stream every year when The National Crayon Recycle Program can turn them into brand-new fun. This is an excellent means to raise awareness that almost anything can be recycled, and it is the perfect way to get kids involved in sustainability initiatives.

Recycling old footwear and crayons may not be as cost-effective as reclaiming items like cardboard, newspaper, and electronics, but even though it is not always the easiest way to get rid of unwanted items, it is the right thing to do for the environment.

If you have a lot of things to get rid of, let Junk It Portland help!