How to Recycle Everything in Your Home

How to recycle everything

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Did you know that recycling goes way beyond soda cans and newspapers? Almost every item can be recycled. Here's an A-Z list of how to recycle everything in your home, including the best places to recycle, how to find them, and what to do before you recycle an item (like cleaning it, repairing it, etc.).

  • 01 of 12

    Batteries

    A vast array of batteries
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    Batteries of all types can be recycled. 

    1. Whole Foods stores allow you to recycle batteries, paper, and light bulbs.
    2. Battery Solutions will accept old batteries through the mail.
    3. Ikea stores also take batteries for recycling.
    4. Best Buy takes any tech-y batter like camera batteries and gaming batteries. 
  • 02 of 12

    Books

    A massive bookshelf of books
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    Here are 5 ways to recycle your used books:

    1. Donate them on Freecycle.
    2. Donate your books to Goodwill or another charity of your choice.
    3. Donate your books to a local shelter. 
    4. Sell your books on Amazon.
    5. Sign up for Book Crossing and follow your books around the world after you donate them. 

    Before you recycle: Make sure it's fairly clean, then you must remove bookmarks or any tiny pieces of paper, and unfold any corners.

  • 03 of 12

    Cars

    A tiny car parked on the street

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    Cars are typically recycled at a junkyard where they are crushed and then sold as scrap metal, the price of which is rather high these days. You will most likely pocket anywhere from $200-$500 for an old car, depending on the price of the metal.

    A better option is to donate your old car.

    Before you recycle: Remove the tires and clean the car, taking special care to remove anything that may have fallen into cracks and crevices. You never know how much loose change, jewelry or other small valuables you may find. Most importantly, sweep the glove box to make sure there are no receipts with any identifying information.

  • 04 of 12

    Phones

    A pair of smartphones, one on top of the other
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    Cell and smartphones are quickly becoming a huge source of trash in the U.S. Luckily, there are organizations to help you recycle your cell phones locally and without much travel or effort on your part.

    1. Best Buy will accept used cell phones.
    2. Donate your cell phone to Hope Line.

    Before you recycle: Wipe your phone of any personal data (numbers, notes, etc.).

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Clothes

    A set of dresses on a clothes rack
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    Clothes recycling is clothes consignment, and we find it very difficult to find one website that catalogs all consignment shops. The best way to find one is to ask around with friends or family. Otherwise, you might inquire at your favorite department store.

    Places to Recycle Clothes:

    1. Ebay
    2. Tag or garage sale
    3. Freecycle
  • 06 of 12

    Computers & Electronics

    Someone working on a laptop

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    Most cities and towns have special days reserved for electronics recycling, and several outlets will take old televisions computers off your hands. They are typically called "green" recycling centers and the like. 

    1. Best Buy will accept all used computers and electronics
    2. Computers For Schools
    3. National Center for Electronics Recycling
    4. Freecycle

    Before you recycle: Wipe the hard drive (here's how to do that, Prepare Your Hard Drive for Disposal) to make sure there is no personal or identifying information left on the computer.

  • 07 of 12

    Furniture

    A beautiful living room

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    Options for recycling furniture abound: you can DIY it and improve it, you can re-purpose it (like re-purposing an old set of kitchen cabinets to hold tools and sporting equipment in your garage), donate, sell it (Craigslist, eBay, garage sale), or you can truly recycle furniture. The best way to do this is to call your local town hall and see which days they will pick up over-sized trash. We recommend putting this out on the curb the evening prior, giving people who may want your furniture some time to pick it up before the trash collectors come your way.

    Before you recycle: Make sure it's fairly clean.

  • 08 of 12

    Glasses & Eyewear

    Spring clean your car

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    Eyewear should ways be donated; unless it is smashed to bits, in that case, it should be treated as plastic and recycled the way you would a bottle of Snapple.

    Places to Donate Glasses & Eyewear:

    1. Your local Lions Club
    2. OneSight
    3. Pearl Vision

    Before you recycle: Clean your glasses.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Ink Cartridges

    An open printer's ink cartridges
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    Both inkjet and laser printer cartridges come with recycling instructions in the package. 

    Before you recycle: put the cartridge back into its original casing. If not, put it in a plastic bag.

  • 10 of 12

    Kitchen Appliances

    A full kitchen setup

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    Freecycle, passing onto a family member or friend, or donating your appliances is a great way to free upscale in the kitchen pantry or cabinets.

    Before you recycle: Make sure you have all of the attachments, cords, and manuals together in one bag or box when you donate.

  • 11 of 12

    Paper

    Folders on a wood table
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    The paper should be recycled through your town or city's recycling program. Use a separate bin to collect paper products for recycling.

  • 12 of 12

    Plastic Bags

    Plastic bags full of leafy greens
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    The best way to recycle plastic bags is to carry your shopping bags, so you never need to use them. However, sometimes a plastic bag is the only options. In that case, recycling plastic bags means reusing them around the house, and there are so many ways to use old plastic bags! Keep them on hand as lunch boxes in a snap; small garbage can liners, to carry returns to a store, cans, and bottles for recycling. The list goes on and on.