Trimming my waste: Week 15 (Earth Day) | the ReFab Diaries

What do tennis balls, pantyhose and broken crayons have in common? They're actually recyclable. Not through your city's recycling service, but in other cool ways!

So in honor of Earth Day, here are 20 things you might be surprised to discover can actually be returned for repurposing, recycling or upcycling. Here's to keeping more stuff out of landfills.

1. Corks
Wine corks can be recycled and used in a variety of materials including flooring tiles, insulation, automotive parts, and sports equipment.

2. Eyeglasses - here and here

3. Pens, markers and highlighters

4. Toothpaste tubes

5. Pantyhose
Used pantyhose can be turned into park benches, playground equipment, carpets, ropes and even toys. Who knew?

6. Old or unwanted bras can keep supporting the girls. And freeing them.

7. Old holiday / string lights
Your local grocery or hardware store may offer seasonal holiday light recycling. The rest of the year, you can send off your lights for recycling and get a discount on new LEDs in the process.

8. CDs and DVDs
They're made of recyclable plastic but are rarely recycled. Discs are ground into a gravel-like substance, which is sold to companies that melt it down and convert it to usable plastic

9. Tennis balls
They can be broken down and turned into new court surfaces

10. Brita Filters
The outer casing of Brita water filters is made of polypropylene plastic, which is not widely recycled. Drop off the filters at a Whole Foods store or mail them to Preserve Products to be made into toothbrushes.

11.  Unwanted or unused prescription medicines
Make the most of local take-back programs: April 30th is a national drug take-back day in the USA!

12. Keys
Instead of throwing them out, eradicate hunger

13. Running Shoes
If they're wrecked
If they're still wearable 
Everything you ever wanted to know about sustainable footwear

14. Broken crayons
They’re melted down and turned into new ones.

15. Batteries and Cell phones (but start with local appliance and drug stores)

16. Packing peanuts
Many companies who use these are happy to reuse them. So send them back - they’re nasty.

17. Small appliances

18. Old pots and pans

19. VHS tapes and other "tech-related" waste
The tapes are taken apart and shredded and then turned into all kinds of useful things, like product packaging.

20. Trophies, especially the ones you got just for showing up :)

Happy Earth Day. 

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