Recycling Resources

How to Recycle the "Questionables"

Even though I try and use products that are compostable or reusable, I sometimes end up with items that I just don't know what to do with! In my research, I have found a variety of resources that can be used to recycle and up-cycle items in my house that otherwise might have been thrown away! Many of them are mail in programs and may cost you a little extra to get them sent, but if you are ready to step-up your zero-waste challenge, this is the next step!

The list is in alphabetical order but make sure to scan it in case I put your object under a different name. If you still can’t find it, contact me through my webpage and I’ll get back to you right away on any options you might have!

*Remember, curbside recycling is different in every city. Due to the variability, I have only listed outside options such as mail-in programs, national wide recycling programs, and a few specific local resources to Washington and Oregon. I suggest people contact their city's recycling company for specifics on curbside rules or email me with questions.

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Baby Food Pouches and Caps: Baby food pouches, like the ones that contain apple sauce, can be recycled through Terracycle’s mail-in program and they provide a free shipping label.

 

Bear Naked Brand Items: Items made by the Bear Naked brand can be recycled through Terracycle’s mail-in program and they provide you with a free shipping label. This includes energy bars, fruit snack containers, and trail mix bags.

Christmas Lights: HolidayLEDs will not only recycle your used Christmas lights if you ship them, but they will also send you a 15% off coupon towards a new set of LED Christmas lights!

Cigarettes: Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label.

Clothing: Any textile can be donated in USAgain boxes where it will be used to make other textiles, furniture stuffing, or insulation. These textiles can be in any condition and can include shoes.

Clothing (Denim): Blue Jeans Go Green collects any kind of denim fabric in any condition and creates UltraTouch Denim Insulation for houses. The denim can be mailed in or donated at any Madwell store.

Chip Bags: Chip and snack bags can be recycled through Terracycle’s mail-in program and they provide you with a free shipping label. 

Crayons: The Crayon Initiative collects used crayons from schools, restaurants, and individuals and then re-manufactures them into new crayons that can be donated to hospitals and other programs. They are based out of San Francisco and will require mail-in donations if not located in that area. 

Credit Cards: Earthworks Systems recycles plastic cards for free! Send them to 25840 Miles Rd. Befor, OH 44146 after you have cut them up. Only send credit card after they are expired or have been cancelled.

Cereal Bags/Liners: Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Floss Containers: Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Floss: Floss is not readily recyclable or compostable. The only types of floss that can be composted are those made of silk (it should specify on the container) and must be recycled in an industrial facility. All other floss types must be thrown in the trash.

Granola/Energy Bar Wrappers: Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!)..

Gift Cards: Earthworks Systems recycles plastic cards for free! Send them to 25840 Miles Rd. Befor, OH 44146.

GU Performance Nutrition Packaging (Brand Specific): Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label.

Hair Care Products: All of the following items can be mailed into Terracycle and recycled (free shipping label): shampoo bottles and caps, conditioner bottles and caps, hair gel tubes and caps, hair spray bottles and triggers, and hair paste plastic jars and caps (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Little Bites Pouches (Brand specific): Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label.

Make-Up: All of the following items can be mailed into Terracycle and recycled (free shipping label): lipstick cases, lip gloss tubes, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, bronzer cases, foundation packaging and bottles, powder cases, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eye shadow tubes, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, and lip liner pencils (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Plastic/Saran Wrap: Many big box stores like Safeway and Fred Meyer offer film plastic recycling. Check locally for availability.

Pet Food Bags: Earthborn Holistic brand bags, Open Farm brand bags, and TruFood bags can be recycled through Terracycle programs. Other pet food bags must be thrown away.

Toothbrushes: Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label. You can also recycle any packaging the toothbrushes came in through the same program. Colgate Wisp Mini toothbrushes can be mailed in under a different program here (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Toothpaste: Terracycle has a mail-in program that you can use and they provide you with a free shipping label (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Shoes: Nike Reuse-a-Shoe accepts worn-out athletic shoes at drop-off locations that are then turned into Grind surface material. USAgain collects any kind of shoes (including rain boots) in any condition and breaks them down into furniture stuffing and house insulation.

Skin Care Products: All of the following items can be mailed into Terracycle and recycled (free shipping label): lip balm tubes, face soap dispensers and tubes, face lotion bottles, tubes and plastic jars, body wash containers, soap tubes and dispensers, body lotion dispensers and bottles, shaving foam tubes (no cans), and hand lotion bottles and tubes (or contact Zero Waste Wisdom to receive a label now!).

Styrofoam: Styro Recycle offers a free drop-off program in Kent, WA for styrofoam recycling. They also offer pick-up in certain WA counties for a fee. To find a free drop-off location nearest to you, check this website. Agylix offers a free drop-off program in Tigard, OR for styrofoam recycling as well.

Snack Bags: Garden of Eden, Terra, Veggie Snacks, and Bearitos brand bags (brand specific) can be recycled through Terracycle’s mail-in program and they provide you with a free shipping label. All other snack bags must be thrown in the trash.

Writing Instruments: The Pen Guy accepts mail-in donations of ball point, felt tip, dry erase, markers, mechanical pencils and any other type of pen that you use! He then transforms them into beautiful art! 

Water Filters: Britta filters (brand specific) can be recycled through Terracycle’s mail-in program and they provide you with a free shipping label. PUR filters (brand specific) can be recycled through Terracycle as well.

Didn't find what you were looking for? Head over to my contact page and send me an email with your question! More than likely, I have put some research into recycling your item :)