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Published on November 15th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


America Recycles Day!

Ready to think outside of the (recyclable) box? Today is “America Recycles Day” and to honor this, Recyclebank, the company that rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals, developed a list of surprising and crazy items you probably didn’t know you could recycle, like pantyhose and tennis balls! Check out these little-known recyclable items and I just bet you can find something from this list that you can recycle right now! do their part to make our planet a little greener (and create some green jobs!). Hooray for America Recycles Day!

Did you know you can recycle…

1. Pet Fur: All that pet hair gathering in the corners of your house…it’s good for something! Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, uses donations of clean pet fur to craft oil-absorbing hair mats and hair-stuffed containment booms made from recycled pantyhose. These designs effectively soak up oil without requiring the use of new resources.

2. Your Bras: Send in your used bras to the Bosom Buddies Program, which donates bras of all shapes and sizes to local shelters or redistributes them through exporters and organizations to women in developing nations. Visit The Bra Recyclers website to learn more about the Bosom Buddies Program.

3. Glasses and Hearing Aides: Mail your old glasses, sunglasses and hearing aids to New Eyes for the Needy. They collect, recycle and distribute donated glasses to impoverished people overseas. They accept: plastic eye glasses, sunglasses in good condition, metal eyeglasses in any condition, hearing aids, and pairs of prescription lenses

4. Mattresses: Before buying your next mattress, see if the retailer will take your old one. Several mattress retailers will now accept used mattresses for recycling. The mattress will be sent to a mattress recycling center, where they recycle about 90% of it into fiber for clothing, wood chips, foam products, and scrap metal.

5. Greeting Cards: If you’re looking to unload the mass of old cards stashed in a shoebox under the bed, send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children Recycled Card Program. As part of the Kids Corp. program at St. Jude’s Ranch, abused and at-risk children are taught entrepreneurship skills by making new greeting cards out of old ones.

6.  Pantyhose: Companies like No Nonsense recycle your old, nylon pantyhose by grinding them down and transforming them into park benches, playground equipment, carpets and even toys.

7.       CDS: CDs, made of polycarbonate, won’t decompose in a landfill. Instead of the throwing them out, send your discs to The CD Recycling Center. They’ll shred them into a fine powder that’s later melted down. The new plastic can be used for automotive and building materials and is often used in pavement.

8. Tennis Balls: The company, REBOUNCES, will take used tennis balls and use their Green Tennis Machine to re-pressurize the balls and make them as good as new. They take up to 500 tennis balls for free.

9. Wine corks: An organization reCork, wants your corks! Natural cork is 100% biodegradable and renewable. It can become flooring tiles, building insulation, automotive gaskets, craft materials, soil conditioner, and sports equipment.

10. Running Shoes: Even the most worn out shoes can be recycled into building materials! Check out the Website for shoe recycling facilities and organizations near you.

11. Gift Cards, Credit Cards and Hotel Keys: Those gift cards sitting in your wallet with $.19 left on them? They’re recyclable. Most ID cards, credit cards, and even hotel room keys are made from PVC. Recycling centers like Cleveland’s Earthworks System accept the cards, chop them up and melt them into sheets of PVC, which are remade into more cards.

International Recycling

1. Dirty Diapers: Knowaste currently operates in the UK and since the 1990’s has been researching and developing technologies for recycling absorbent hygiene products (AHPs) like disposable diapers, adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene products. Knowaste technology processes AHPs and reclaims the valuable plastic and fiber to be recycled into products such as plastic recycling bins, composite materials, cardboard and fillers for construction and road building.

2. Deceased Pets: In Germany, it’s illegal to bury pets in public places. This leaves some German pet-owners stuck between a rock and a hard place. A rendering plant near the town of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse accepts deceased pets. The animal fat is recycled into glycerin, which is used in cosmetics like lip balm.

3. Dentures: A nonprofit organization in Japan collects dentures to reclaim the metals like gold and silver, that are inside. They then donate the proceeds to UNICEF; more than $250,000 has been raised so far.

4. Chewed Gum: An airport in England collects recycled gum to help make tires, toys and other products.

5.  Prosthetic Limbs: Though not reused in the United States because of legal considerations, prosthetic limbs can be disassembled and shipped to third-world countries for use by landmine victims and other individuals in need. See the Amputee Coalition of America website for a list of organizations in the U.S that accept donations.

For more information on international recycling visit Recylebank here.


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