Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

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Way More Than 10 Things You Can Recycle or Repurpose

Eco Grass Globe
In your household, we bet there are at least 10 things you can recycle; actually, it is more like hundreds of things you didn't know you could recycle. Even things that seem like trash, such as worn down clothes or makeup compacts, can have another life. When you recycle or re-purpose something, you contribute to a healthier environment!

This list of things you can recycle will help you rethink what is recyclable and what is not. You will be astounded to find more than 50 things you can recycle just lying around your home. With a little creativity and effort, you can find a new use for pretty much anything that is worn out, broken, outdated or past its prime.


Jeans – Donate them or convert them into a fun handbag.

Towels and linens – animal shelters will make good use of your worn down towels and linens. The animals do not care if the towels are a little thread borne; they still make for a comfortable bed.

Tattered clothes – leftover fabric scraps have endless uses for crafting, from quilts, to handbags, to book covers, to jar decorations! Use them for your own projects or give them to a crafty friend.

Bras – You might not think of bras as being on the list of things you can recycle, but they are. Gently used bras are always welcome donations at homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and disaster relief organizations.

Shoes - shoes are also recyclable. If gently used, donate them. If beyond use, give them to an organization that recycles them into black tops, playground equipment or even flooring.


Mattresses – Recycled mattresses are valuable sources of scrap metal, wood chips, and fibers to use in clothing and packaging. If it is in decent condition, list it in the classifieds or donate to an organization, or give to a friend in need.

Batteries – Most batteries are recyclable, and should be recycled because they are full of toxic chemicals. You can recycle car batteries at auto parts stores or may be able to return them to the manufacturer. Your trash company may even be able to accept them at a center or special recycling event.

Refrigerators - Manufacturing companies and recycling centers across the country drain refrigerators of coolant and recover the recyclable materials.

Appliances – most appliances are mostly metal, so they are valuable scrap metal even when they no longer work.

Shower curtains – here is a good one on this list of things you didn't know you could recycle! Just because you’re tired of your shower curtain does not mean it is useless. Repurpose it as a drop cloth, picnic blanket underliner, or waterproof cover for patio furniture.

Doors, siding, molding, tiles, etc. - wood or hard materials are also stuff you can recycle. If you are doing a remodeling project, remove materials intact. Then donate them to an organization like Habitat for Humanity, give them away on Craigslist, or give them to a business that recovers building materials.

Related: How to Be More Eco Friendly at Home


Computers - recyclers take computers apart to recover precious metals, scrap metals and plastics.

Cell phones - phones can be recycled in a similar manner to computers, or they can be refurbished and sold again.

CFL light bulbs – these bulbs contain mercury, and should be recycled to prevent groundwater and soil contamination. Check with your local trash company to find out how to recycle these bulbs. Read more about eco friendly lightbulbs.

Ink and toner cartridges – you can either send these back the manufacturer or recycle them at office supply stores.


Bottles, tubes, and compacts – here is a surprise on the list of things you can recycle for most people. Some cosmetics companies will recover the materials and use them in new compacts, tubes and bottles. MAC and Origins rewards customers with free gifts in exchange for these items.

Toothbrushes – some recyclers will accept toothbrushes, provided they are made from the right plastic (usually PET). You can also repurpose toothbrushes as detail cleaning tools.

Prescriptions – most of us learn to flush unneeded prescriptions down the toilet, but meds are one of those things you didn't know you could recycle. If you do not need your prescriptions or they have expired, look to programs in your community to donate or safely dispose of medications. Flushing medication down the toilet hurts the environment by exposing fish and plant life to medications they were never intended to take!

Glasses - If you have old glasses that you no longer use or are in a state of disrepair, donate them to an organization that gives glasses to people who need them, but cannot afford them.

One Person's Trash...

The adage, "One person’s trash is another person's treasure" has never been truer than it is today. Just look at all those things you didn't know you could recycle! People have built entire livelihoods around taking stuff you can recycle and turning it into materials or new products. Charitable organizations need your unwanted stuff to help others. Every time you recycle or repurpose, you make a difference!


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