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9 Things that You Can’t Afford Not to Recycle

Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By LightField Studios



Recycling is very important. Unfortunately, only 34% of all recyclable products are recycled. You may be throwing away a lot of things that could go in the recycling bin instead.

While you may be active recycling paper, plastic, and glass, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things that can be recycled.

False Teeth

Valuable metals like palladium, gold, and silver are found in most dentures. Therefore, the Japan Denture Recycling Association recycles them by removing the valuable metals before discarding the rest. Making this an even better deal, they donate all money got by selling the metals to UNICEF. Japan Times reports this is a popular practice now.


The average mattress takes up 40 cubic feet of space in a landfill. 80% of the average mattress is recyclable. In states like California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, mattress manufacturers are required by law to charge a collection fee on top of the sale of their products which funds disposal collection facilities that recycle mattresses. If your area doesn’t have a mattress recycling center there are a few ways to keep it out of a landfill:

  • Donate the mattress: Organizations like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity are always looking for mattresses to use in homeless shelters or to donate to those in need.
  • Donate to an animal shelter: Most animal shelters don’t have funding to provide animals with anything more than the concrete floor to sleep on. Donating a mattress to an animal shelter can give animals a warm and comfortable place to sleep.

You may also want to consider the type of new mattress you purchase. Memory foam mattresses last a lot longer that traditional spring mattresses. Many of them are also made with plant-based foams. You can check if a foam mattress is made with sustainable materials by looking for the CertiPUR-US® seal.

Holiday Lights

If you have decided that you want to use a different type of holiday light this year, then send your working or non-working old ones to They will break down the lights to obtain the PVC, glass, and copper that they then take to a recycling center where they are further recycled.


You can bring your half-used bars of soap home with you, or you can leave them in the hotel room. Many hotel chains cooperate with the Clean the World group who sanitizes leftover soap and gives it to those who are less fortunate.

Soiled Diapers

The average child soils 6,000 diapers before they are potty trained, and these diapers usually weigh more than 1 ton. Knowaste collects soiled diapers from institutions, and then they break them down, including making the plastics into pellets. Then, the pellets are made into roof shingles.

Athletic Shoes

Nike is probably best known for its quality athletic shoes, but the company will take back your old shoes in many cases. Then, they grind these shoes up through a program called Nike Grind. More than 10,000 athletic surfaces around the globe have been laid with the components of people’s old athletic shoes since the program started in 1992.

Animal Poop

Of course, you can put animal poop on your garden as fertilizer, but one company called PooPoopaper has a much more novel approach. They recycle animal waste into paper products, like greeting cards and bookmarks. Their favorite dung to use comes from elephants.


If your child refuses to color with a broken crayon, then you may want to send the broken ones to the National Crayon Recycling Program before the box gets spilled. The program melts your old crayons down and forms them into new ones that they sell.

Fishing Line

Most fishing line is made of plastic, so it can easily be recycled. There is a unique program that focuses on recycling fishing line. The program called Berkley Fishing recycles fishing line to become fish habitat. So far, the company has recycled over 9 million miles of fishing line or enough to fill two spools for every angler in America.

Many surprising things can be recycled. Consider if you want to be involved in some way with these recycling programs.

Don’t Throw it Away When it Can Be Recycled

You need to know that many things can be recycled. Make sure you do that instead of throwing them out!


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