We all pine for a greener Earth, but ignorance has a funny way of turning good intentioned people into giant litterbugs. So before you decide on your own there’s no way that jar of elephant dentures or bag of used adult diapers is recyclable, consider these strange things you didn’t know could be recycled.
Doesn’t matter if it’s from your head or your back, they’ll take it. Assuming your creepy neighbor doesn’t ransack your garbage each week looking for missing pieces to construct a self-built girlfriend that looks like you, your hair can be recycled along with your pet’s. The hair can be used for cleaning up oil spills, and probably towards styling hairless animals. Locks of Love is one of a few hair recycling non-profits.
It seems a little backwards when you use water filters because the water isn’t clean enough, but then you discard the old filters in a way that probably harms the environment. A cool website called preserveproducts.com helps turns your old filters into cool things like toothbrushes and other plastic products, so you can continue this clean streak your on.
Batteries are always awkward to have in your hand once they’re out of juice; you feel as though they’re little bombs that could go off if you put them in the wrong place. Well, they kind of are if not properly recycled. Cell phones, laptops and electronics all have batteries that can be recycled, and throwing them into the trash makes every landfill just a bit more radioactive.
The people at batteryrecycling.com make good use of your rechargeable and single use batteries. Of course, if you’re tossing out rechargeable batteries, you’ve missed the point altogether.
If you birthed a child that resembles more of a poop machine than a human being, know that you don’t have to fill every waste can with the poop piles of your soon-to-be smartass teenager. Although we hope they’re off diapers by then, you can always recycle no matter the age. And as life comes back around, you’ll recycle your own when you move into adult diapers, a true liberation of fecal matter. Contact Knowaste, a dirty diaper collector you may consider your personal nanny.
Since we’re broaching the topic of adult diapers, we might as well go the full measure and tell you about the wonders of recycled false teeth. Despite our reluctance to trying on an elderly person’s dentures, more than 3 million are produced every year, and one bold Japanese nonprofit (Japan Denture Recycling Association) is here to help us from one day walking on mouthfuls of false teeth on our way to work.
Computers & Electronics
It may seem like common knowledge to recycle unwanted appliances and electronics, but there’s still those people out there who instead chuck their old equipment into the woods for defenseless animals to invite to carnage. If you’re one of those people and can read, note that those items can be recycled by any number of used parts stores or even Good will. They’re not for ingesting of raccoons.
Why anyone would ever dispose of a bicycle is beyond us, as there are (many admirable qualities), but still more than 15 million bicycles are thrown into landfills annually by Americans alone. There’s always someone in need of a bicycle, so instead of tossing it, maybe give it away first. But if it’s honestly a hunk of junk, you can always send yours to Bikes for the World and maybe they’ll have something you can ride home.
When they’re not riding the white waters of the world, surfboards are actually plaguing landfills, so cool forward thinkers like ReSurf are recycling their materials into useful parts for paving roads. And wet suits too can be transformed into yoga mats. It’s a cycle of spiritual recycling, get it? If you’re crazy enough to give up your board, do it properly, but you better have lost both legs to have a good excuse for it.
Cellphones and Videos
The ghost of Steve Jobs comes up with a new Apple phone so you immediately toss yours into the trash or tee it off into the ocean with your favorite iron? Wrong. Phones, iPods, walkmen, whatever age you’re living in, there’s a place for those discarded electronics you’ve lost affection for.
With the digital revolution and your weening porn addiction, your DVD/VHS collection may be gathering dust and fading from the sun. There’s always someone or someplace who can use the parts or can take your old porn tapes off your hands so you can free them up to do…other stuff.
Grocery, dry cleaning and dog poop bags, and whatever plastic pollution you have in your life is just a few steps away from landing in the ocean. You may see plastic in the worst places and think it’s just awful, but if you’re not properly disposing your plastics and bags, that's where they end up, wrapped around a baby sea turtle or choking an albatross to death. You might not put it there, but it gets there, so do your best to recycle your plastics.
Standard practice is to remove the cork, toss it in the trash, realize you still need it but then proceed to drink the entire bottle of wine so it doesn’t go to waste. But corks are recyclable too through ReCork.org and Whole Foods. In fact, the bottle itself is glass recyclable, so really all you need is the wine to make yourself look irresponsible and the rest to recycle. We’ll go as far to say that your wine drinking is helping the world.
A golden statue of participation to go with your tenth place ribbons in the 10-Man Race are great and all, but eventually lose their luster when the paint chips off or your mother throws them at you for not being better. If you look online, there’s plenty of places that will take your 600 last place trophies gladly, and even if your name is engraved on them, some other last place dork will take it. That’s just the sport of competitive recycling.
Considering the age we live in, it is hard to understand how – in a society yearning for a paperless future – we still get loads of mail we never open. Instead of tossing them in the junk mail trashcan, switch to recycling. Although nothing gives the big “eff you” to credit card companies more than tearing and slamming their bullshit offers into the garbage, give them an even bigger “eff you” by recycling and making them help the world. Because it’s not what they want, get it! Oh the "eff yous" are endless with recycling.
For every strand of lights with a burnt out bulb that makes us lose five years off our lives as we swear and spike them across the lawn in front of our neighbors, let this be a season of healing through recycling. Holidayleds.com offers 10 percent off their lights if you recycle old lights back to them. Pretty smart, and you don’t have to suffer another heart attack while hanging lights by the chimney with care.
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Although not everything is recyclable or clearly spelled out in the trash world, the smart, practical thing to do is return old stuff you’re unsure about to its original manufacturer. Many companies are starting green branches that give back to the Earth in greener ways, and taking back old products is part of the deal. So instead of being lazy and making a mess, remember there’s always someone out there who will take your junk.