You already know that recycling is important because it reduces landfill waste, conserves resources and prevents pollution. However, some items are easier to recycle than others. Tossing your paper, plastic and glass into separate containers is no big deal, but what about other items that aren’t so simple? Read on to learn about five things you can recycle with just a little extra effort.
Don’t toss that printer cartridge. Many retail stores accept ink and toner cartridges for recycling so they don’t end up in landfills. You can also check the manufacturer’s website to see if they offer a mail-in recycling program. Many cartridges can also be refilled and reused by taking them to a store that offers this service or by using a home refill kit.
You might be surprised to learn that food waste takes up space in landfills. Although food decomposes rapidly, it can stick around for years when sealed inside a plastic garbage bag. Return uneaten food back to the earth quickly by keeping a compost bin. You can use the compost to fertilize your garden or green up your lawn.
Used batteries are particularly bad for the environment because they are filled with harmful chemicals like lead, mercury and cadmium. Most home recycling services don’t accept batteries, but battery recycling services can be found at many retailers. Some battery recyclers also offer a mail-in program so there’s no excuse to chuck those batteries in the trash.
If you have children, you probably have odds and ends crayons lying around the house. Consider melting them down to make new crayons or donate them to a charity like the Crayon Initiative, which recycles used crayons into new ones for children’s hospitals.
Eyeglasses and Hearing Aids
Your old glasses or hearing aids could be a valuable gift to someone in need. Many non-profit organizations collect these devices and donate them to people who can’t afford them. Ask your optometrist or audiologist if they collect donations. Universities, churches and other organizations also sometimes hold collection drives for glasses, hearing aids and other medical devices.
Remember, if you have an item that you can’t recycle, try thinking of ways you can reuse it before you toss it. Many items that end up in landfills could have had a second life with a little effort. Another way to reduce landfill waste is to practice mindful purchasing. Don’t buy a new item if you could use something you already own instead.