Top 15 things you didn’t know you could recycle


Courtesy of Busch Systems International Inc.

Figuring out what to recycle and what not to recycle is tough! So we’ve compiled a list of some items and materials that the average character may not have known that they could toss in the recycling bin. We’d be very surprised if you knew that all of these items were recyclable!

1. Pet Fur

Believe it or not, all of those mounds of cat and dog hair you’ve been tossing straight in the trash can actually go straight into a recycling container. Pet fur can actually be spun into yarn and used to create the clothes you’re wearing today. Other uses include pin cushions, seat cushions and mats used to contain oil spills. And finally, pet hair—and human hair for that matter—is 100% compost friendly and will be the first to decompose while providing protein and calcium for garden plants.

2. Diapers

In Britain (a part of the world where fast food is much less prominent), each infant is said to fill-up over 6,000 disposable diapers over there potty-less tenor. In Portland, Oregon, studies have shown that—on average—their garbage pick-up per day includes over 120 pounds of soiled daddy-gaggers. According to Environmental Graffiti, disposable diapers make up around 1% of every landfill, so help your local garbage man out and dedicate a recycle bin for those poop catchers. The Odor-Free Diaper Pail is more than capable of doing the job.

3. Tennis Balls

If your furry friends haven’t got a hold of your tennis ball collection already, or you’re not using them to keep your sweet 16 year-old from driving through the back of your garage, recycling them is always an option. Companies such as ReBounces and Project Green Ball have proudly created programs that responsibly collect and recycle tennis balls and put the bounce back into them.

4. CD’s

CD’s, DVD’s and BluRay discs can all be collected and disposed of responsibly by dropping them off at any local CD recycling company such as GreenDisk or CD Recycling Center of America. So if you’ve worn out your Spice Girls music collection or have finally grown weary of Weird Al, be sure to designate a recycling container for all of that artistry.

5. Wine Corks

Take a wild guess at how many wine corks are sold each year…Well, if you guessed 12,999,999,999 you’d be extremely close. A wide variety of grocery stores have now added recycle bins dedicated for the plug that keeps your liquids delicious, so there’s no excuses for tossing them into a black bag.

6. Running Shoes

Since the 1990’s Nike alone has recycled 28 million pairs of shoes to be used in a number of different applications such as artificial turf, running track and of course, more shoes. The end-products of Nike’s Grind program cover approximately 632,000,000 square feet (roughly 23 square miles), which is almost enough to blanket the island of Manhattan. So, if you think your old sneakers are too stinky to be reused, be sure to drop them off here. Or if they’ve only got a couple miles on them, donate your shoes to Soles4Souls—a great non-for-profit program that ships your old plimsolls to people who need them.

7. Batteries

Common household batteries such as the omnipresent AA’s, AAA’s, C’s, D’s and 9-volts from the most reputable battery makers are now created with a lot less mercury and are therefore safe to simply toss in the trash. That being said, rechargeable batteries such as the ones that power your laptop, MP3 player or cell phone still contain a more substantial amount of toxic materials and must be recycled appropriately. We at Busch have a quite fancy recycling container dedicated for such a task.

8. Bras & Panties

Although it may seem like a nightmare to some, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Numerous organizations have popped up over the past couple of years that are not only helping keep unnecessary textiles from reaching the landfills, but redistributing undergarments for the greater good. These organizations redistribute and donate bras and panties of all size and shapes to women in developing nations.

9. Cell Phones

Still rockin’ Martin Cooper’s Motorola DynaTAC 8000X? Or finally sick of Blackberry’s antics? A number of companies and organizations are collecting old cell phones to be recycled and reused. Again, Busch Systems has the perfect recycling bin for getting your cell phone recycling program started.

10. Dentures

Every year, around 3.6 million dentures are exquisitely manufactured to add pearly whites to even the saddest of faces. Each set of those Chicklets are actually made out $25 worth of precious metals, including gold and silver, so if you’re looking to upgrade your grill, make sure you recycle the old one. A non-profit organization in Japan has sunk their teeth into this market by breaking down recycled dentures and donating the proceeds (over $250,000) to UNICEF and other organizations.

11. Trophies

I know what you’re thinking, “why would I ever throw out my participation medal from the ’86 Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Championships.” Well if you’re running out of room for your vastly impressive trophy collection, feel free to part ways with the ones that don’t hurt to let go and donate them. A simple Google search of “recycle trophies” will lead you to a number of companies that recycle trophy materials and sometimes even the trophies themselves. Everyone’s a winner.

12. Holiday Lights

When you make the switch from your energy-hungry incandescent holiday lights to LED’s—even though the old ones looked so much better—be sure to recycle them. A number of retailers, such as Home Depot and Green Deal, host light exchange programs that’ll keep all that cheer from entering all of the landfills.

13. Clothes

The recycling possibilities are endless with clothing. Companies all over the world are turning hats, socks, shirts, cocktail dresses and even Canadian tuxedos into basically anything you can imagine. Dedicating a recycling bin for clothes is a perfect idea whether you’re donating to a local Goodwill or sending them to companies such as GrowNYC that salvage the materials.

14. Crayons

Over 120,000 pounds of crayons are made each year and the majority of them end up colouring up our landfills! To avoid this unnecessary waste, the National Crayon Recycle Program has opposed this cultural phenomenon by recycling over 93,000 pounds of crayons to date. So next time your 3 year old decides to turn your house into one gigantic rainbow mural be sure to toss all of those broken crayons into a recycling bin and donate them!

15. Cosmetics

According to, the average North American woman uses 12 different skin care and cosmetics products daily. Multiply that by over 176 million women and you’ll quickly understand how much plastic is ending up in big ole’ dirty pile at the landfill. Not to mention, all of the harmful chemicals that make-up the products can contaminate our water systems. Although most cosmetic containers are made of hard plastics that are rarely recyclable, dedicating a bin to the lids and sending them to Caps-n-cups is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

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