For those of you who hate to throw hard-to-recycle items away, here are some ways you can get them turned into useful new products.
Thanks to Green America, who came up with this list of how to recycle some of the more exotic plastics and other items:
1) Bottle and jar caps: Weisenbach Recycled Products accepts clean plastic bottlecaps, plastic jar caps, flip-top caps from personal care products, and flexible snap-on lids (e.g. butter tub lids): CapsCando.com.
2) Brita pitcher filters: Preserve's Gimme 5 program accepts Brita-brand pitcher filters for recycling. Visit preserveproducts.com/recycling to find a location or mail them in.
3) Compostable bioplastics: compost then at home or find a municipal composter at FindaComposter.com.
4) Computers and other electronics: Find the most responsible
recyclers near you at e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler. Best Buy also accepts many types of electronics, from fans and alarm clocks to televisions and partners with recyclers that doh't ship items overseas, including Electronic Recyclers International. You can bring three small items per day to Best Buy for free, but they charge to recycle large electronics. BestBuy.com/recycling.
5) Eyeglasses: Your local Lions Club collects them for people in need.
6) Fishing line: mail to Berkley Recycling, which turns it into fish
habitat structures: 1900 18th Street; Spirit Lake, IA 51360.
7) Gift cards and customer loyalty cards: Fill out the form at www.earthworkssystem.com/Consumers/ to recycle them.
8) Ink Cartridges: Some computer manufacturers like Dell recycle them at no charge when you buy new ones, or pay $1 and RecyclePlace.com will recycle them. (Also see #12, "Technotrash.")
9) Pantyhose/tights: No Nonsense collects all brands of hose,
tights, and kneehighs to be recycled into other products. NoNonsense.com/PantyhoseRecycling.aspx.
10) Plastic packaging: Many pack-and-ship stores will take packing peanuts and bubble wrap. For drop-off locations for foam blocks, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.
11) Polypropylene (#5) plastics (all types): Preserve's Gimme 5 program accepts all types of clean #5 plastics, which are turned into Preserve personal care and kitchen products. Drop them off in the "Gimme 5" container available at select Whole Foods and food co-ops. Visit preserveproducts.com/recycling
to find a location or learn how to mail them in.
12) "Technotrash": Organizations and schools can earn money for recycling ink cartridges and small electronics like cell phones and iPods through ProjectKOPEG.com.
Recycle a large box of CDs, DVDs, jewel cases, audio and video tapes, small electronics, and ink cartridges for $30 (includes postage) through Green Disk, 800/305-GREENDISK, GreenDisk.com.
13) Telephones: Call to Protect donateaphone.com/calltoprotect)
refurbishes cell phones for domestic violence victims (see also "Technotrash," above). Take corded and cordless phones to a local Best Buy for recycling.
14) Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249, http://www.playitagainsports.com/.
15) Tennis balls: reBounces restores old tennis balls that have lost their bounce. ReBounces.com/recycle.
16) Tennis shoes: NikeReuseAShoe.com turns them into athletic flooring. Souls4Souls.org and OneWorldRunning.com sends
still-wearable shoes to runners in need in developing countries.
17) Toys: Domestic Metals and Plastics accepts plastic toys of all types for recycling. Dmpgreen.com.
18) Trophies: Lamb Awards will break your trophies down and remake them into new ones. E-mail internet@lambawards dot com, and put "recycling" in the subject line.
19) Tyvek envelopes:
Quantities less than 25: Send to Tyvek Recycle, Attn. Shirley B. Wright, 8401 Fort Darling Road, Richmond, VA 23237. More than 25: call 866/33-TYVEK.
20) Yoga mats: RecycleYourMat.com accepts yoga mats for recycling.