Common Items You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

Reduce your carbon footprint in 2016 by recycling more than ever before
As the New Year begins, RecycleItems_Featured you may find among your list of resolutions the pledge to create less waste and recycle more. According to the EPA, American consumers created 250 million tons of waste in 2010 alone; astonishingly, more than one-third of that waste was material that could have been recycled or composted. The following five items are commonly considered trash destined for landfills, but they are absolutely recyclable.

Cell phones
At the rate that technology is moving, Americans are swapping out their cellphones for newer and smarter models at a quicker turnaround than ever. If you have old Nokias and flip-phones from years past lying around, you can put them to good use by donating them to any number of organizations. For example, Cell Phones for Soldiers provides active-duty military members and veterans with a cost-free means of communication. The organization has provided 216 million minutes and recycled nearly 12 million cell phones since 2004. Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program collects phones and equipment for recycling and uses the money raised from selling refurbished phones to contribute to victims of domestic violence.

Used oil
If you change the oil in your lawnmower or motorcycle with regularity, or if you own a deep fryer that requires new cooking oil every so often, then you know well that you have to go out of your way to dispose of it properly. The American Petroleum Institute suggests visiting to see if there are any motor oil or cooking oil recycling facilities in your area. Two gallons of used oil alone is said to provide electricity enough to power an average household for nearly 24 hours. The website can also provide information on facilities that specialize in recycling batteries and electronics.

There is a lot that can be done with even the smelliest pair of old sneakers. For example, Nike operates a Reuse-A-Shoe program that repurposes old shoes for the creation of Nike Grind, a material which is used in the creation of tracks and gym floors. Another recycling program, One World Running, collects shoes that are still serviceable and provides them to runners in third-world countries. Old shoes can also find new purpose through donations to The Salvation Army, Goodwill or your nearest homeless shelter.

Brita water filters
Brita’s product line ensures the cleanest drinking water imaginable, and the company has taken steps to see that the filters used in its pitchers and faucets are not contributing to landfills. Brita’s partnership with Preserve allows for the former’s filters to be used in the creation of the latter’s razors, toothbrushes and cutting boards. Once a filter is exhausted, simply give it three days to dry out, wrap it in a plastic grocery bag and drop it off at the nearest Gimme 5 location to your home. In 2014, Gimme 5 collected a total of 254 pounds of #5 plastic, or the equivalent of 1.3 million used Brita filters.

It is not terribly uncommon to donate bras to Goodwill with other clothing items, but the Bosom Buddies Bra Recycling program offers an alternative means to putting old bras to good use. The Bra Recyclers is a textile recycling company that focuses specifically on repurposing bras by either donating them to women in need around the world or harvesting them for their materials. This serves the purpose of both reducing energy usage and providing affordable clothing to those less fortunate.

To make 2016 a greener year, be sure to research what you can and cannot recycle before you take out the garbage. You might just be surprised to see all the things that have greater utility than simply going to a landfill.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Recycle Plastic Bottles with DIY Projects

Simple DIY projects to recycle those old plastic bottles

According to the EPA,Plastics_Featured about 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles and jars were disposed of in 2008. What if those millions of tons of plastic could be put to a new use? Below are seven simple do-it-yourself projects to recycle those used plastic bottles.

This especially works for plastic milk jugs. Simply cut off a large, diagonal section of an empty milk jug and you have a light-duty scoop with a nice handle included. This also works especially well using old (rinsed out) bleach bottles, laundry detergent bottles, and any other bottle with a built-in, sturdy handle.

Watering can
This project is probably the easiest one to do – poke holes through the cap of a large bottle or jug. Fill with water and tilt for an easy recycled catering can. Other plant-watering options for recycling old bottles include drilling holes in the sides of a milk jug and burying it next to young plants as a drip watering system, or attaching a bottle with holes poked in one side to the end of a hose as a homemade sprinkler head.

Plastic bag sealer
This project is for use with bottles with stronger caps (especially old Gatorade or Powerade bottles), so this would not go well for milk jugs. To make the sealer, just cut off the bottle below the mouth (don’t forget to save the cap). To use it, feed the plastic bag up through the mouth from beneath, reverse the edge to fold down all around the sealer, and then put the sealer’s cap back on.

Phone charger holder
This easy project is best for use with thin, deep bottles like shampoo bottles. Use a pair of scissors to cut straight across the front of the bottle and cut a high loop into the back of the bottle. Cut a hole through the back loop large enough to fit over the outlet adaptor for your phone charger. To use, slip the loop over the adaptor while it is plugged in, then plug in your phone and set it in the pocket. Make sure you decorate your phone holster to match your taste.

The Internet is full of plant-growing ideas for recycling old bottles. Some cut milk jugs horizontally across, place them in vertical rows, and add rubber hoses to create an easily-watered garden. Others cut the bottles lengthwise to create a recycled planter tray. Or, you could create a hanging garden by slicing sections from the sides of large bottles and using string to hang them from a beam.

Bird feeder
This one can go a number of different ways – if you have a milk jug, just cut large holes in the sides, fill with birdseed, and hang your new birdfeeder from the cap. For smaller bottles, cut small holes straight through the bottle and thread wooden spoons through to make easy places for the birds to perch. Cut the hold on the side with the bowl of the spoon a little larger to let birdseed fall out more easily. Fill the bottle with birdseed and suspend it by its cap.

The next time you finish off your bottle of soda, get creative with the can and try any of these innovative ideas.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Easy Green Habits You Can Adopt Today

Nine quick changes to benefit the environment

Living a life thatldfinance_e_a002979774 is friendly to the environment doesn’t necessarily mean making sweeping changes in all areas of your life. Buying an electric car, installing solar panels on your home or living off the grid can be too costly for some and too extreme for others. A few small changes to your everyday life can reduce your carbon footprint and make a difference in the world around you.

Use fewer disposable products
Much landfill waste is created by disposable products used only for convenience. Paper plates, Styrofoam cups, plastic silverware and disposable water bottles are mostly used to save time washing dishes. Whenever possible, choose reusable items first before reaching for disposable items that will end up in the trash.

Buy products with less packaging
Many products come with a ridiculous amount of packaging, intended only to help sell the product while displayed on store shelves. When shopping for items, opt for the item with less packaging and less waste.

Drive less and exercise more
Carpooling with others, combining errands in one trip, or walking and biking to your destination will save money on gas expenses and result in less carbon emissions in the air. As an added bonus, walking or biking will also improve your overall health.

Purchase items secondhand
Buying something used often saves that item from going into a landfill and prevents less waste. Look for pre-owned items first, before buying a new item.

Give away items vs. throwing them in the trash
Even though you may not have a use for your unwanted clothing and furniture, others might. Before throwing your stuff in the trash, offer it for free to others who might have a need for it. A young mother might welcome your children’s clothes, and a college student may welcome your discarded furniture.

Choose cloth over plastic shopping bags
One trip to the grocery store can easily yield 10 or more plastic shopping bags. Keep a stash of cloth shopping bags in the trunk of your car for shopping trips and use them over and over again.

Hang clothes to dry
Whenever possible, hang your clothes to dry instead of expending energy from your dryer. Even hanging two loads of laundry a week will reduce your electric bill and help preserve your clothing.

Change your light bulbs
Although energy-efficient light bulbs can cost more than traditional bulbs when you purchase them, the energy savings over time is substantial. As your light bulbs burn out, consider replacing them with newer, energy-efficient bulbs.

Choose virtual bills
The extra paper and waste created from paper billing results in more trash. Many companies now offer email billing. Paying online can also save on the production and disposal of paper, as well as time and money on postage.

Making a few small changes to your daily habits can help you live a life that is friendlier to the environment and benefits the world around you.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser
Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

How to Recycle Everything

A quick guide to ditching your stuff

Each year, thousands of itemsrecycling1 are thrown into trash piles and landfills, creating environmental headaches for future generations. Consider recycling or passing on your unwanted items to others who may have a need for them. Future generations will appreciate a cleaner environment, and others will appreciate receiving items they may need.

Because technology changes quickly, you may find your family has electronic equipment (mobile phones, computers and computer parts) collecting dust and taking up space. Before throwing away your old device and buying new, consider upgrading your current one. Often your computer hard drive or software can be upgraded to current technology without having to buy a whole new device. If it’s not possible to upgrade, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of companies who offer buy-back programs or electronics recycling programs where you can dispose of your items safely.

Recycle your old furniture by giving it to someone who has a need for it. Donate your clean, good quality furniture items to non-profit organizations, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Sell or donate your items to others on Craigslist, eBay, or local Facebook groups. Pass down items to family members or friends.

Before pitching your old clothing, consider giving it a second home. Sell your unwanted clothing at a garage sale, or take your items to a local consignment shop. If you don’t want to sell your clothing, consider donating it to a local thrift shop, clothing bank or family in need. If items are stained or torn, cut them up and use them for cleaning rags.

Plastic bags
While plastic shopping bags are convenient, there are now many homes overflowing with excess bags. To prevent bags from coming into your home, consider using reusable shopping bags when you shop. When you do have extra bags, drop them off at retail locations that collects plastic bags for recycling. Can’t find a location near you? Check the web site, which shows the latest on plastic bag legislation and recycling drop off points.

Aluminum cans
If you have a recycling program in your neighborhood, aluminum cans are usually accepted. However, you can go one step further and collect your aluminum pop tabs and donate them to help the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a nonprofit organization which houses families while their children are in the hospital. Visit to learn more about the program.

Construction and building supplies
Have a garage full of usable, but unneeded, building supplies? Consider donating items to your local Habitat ReStore with your nearby Habitat for Humanity affiliate. The items are sold at a discounted price to help lower-income families, and the profits raised through the store help build homes.

Before throwing unwanted items in the trash, be creative. Recycle your old items to save them from the landfill, or sell them for extra cash. Help another family or local nonprofit organization. Each small effort makes a larger impact on the environment for future generations.

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Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.