Things to Put in Your Recycling Bin You May Not Have Thought Of

Color-coded recycle bins for paper plastic cans and other

Ready, Set, Recycle!

The start of the New Year is usually a reflective time, and that got us thinking about recycling, because let’s face it – that’s something we think about a lot here. We try to be mindful about reusing materials, recycling and the amount of trash we generate both at home and at work, and from this came the idea for a year-long blog series we’re calling #WasteNotWantNot.

The advantage of recycling is two-fold: materials are kept out of landfills and a new purpose is given to existing items, so virgin materials are not needed, or can be utilized in other ways. A great example of recycling working is aluminum soda cans which have a very high recycling rate. When an empty soda can is recycled that aluminum can be used to create new cans, so very little, if any, new aluminum is needed.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of recycling failing, or when items that can be recycled end up in a trash can instead of a recycling bin. Before you throw something away take a quick second to think about whether that item should be destined for a landfill or a recycling center. We’ve rounded up a list of items that more often than not are landfilled when they really could be recycled.

  • Books – Paper is recyclable no matter what form it is in. Gently used books should be donated, but if you have some old books that are beyond their usefulness toss them in the recycling bin.
  • Plastic bottle caps – Just about everyone knows to recycle plastic bottles, but don’t forget about the cap! When you empty the bottle and sure to toss the cap in the recycling bin along with the bottle.
  • Aluminum foil – Metal can be recycled again and again, but if it ends up in a landfill it will sit forever, so make the right choice and recycle your discarded aluminum foil. To minimize any messes fold the foil onto itself and deposit in the nearest recycling bin.
  • Junk mail and cards – Most people don’t think to recycle junk mail. Maybe it’s because the word ‘junk’ is in the name people’s impulse is to throw it in the trash. When recycling any type of mail make sure any personal information does not appear. Simply striking through info with a marker is enough to ensure your private info stays private, and items are disposed of properly.
  • Cardboard boxes – All too often you will see collapsed cardboard boxes poking out of trash cans on garbage day, but this shouldn’t happen! Shipping boxes, paper towel rolls, empty tissue boxes and any other type of cardboard you encounter can and should be recycled.

Do you have any recycling pet peeves? Or tips and suggestions for items that should be recycled and not landfilled? Let us know in the comments or on our social media feeds and remember to include the hashtag #WasteNotWantNot!


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7 thoughts on “Things to Put in Your Recycling Bin You May Not Have Thought Of

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  2. Laurie

    I did not know that aluminum foil could be recycled – I’m so happy I read this. It does make sense. I try to recycle everything I can, so any tips are appreciated. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. Pingback: A Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life

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