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5 Things You Didn’t Know Could be Recycled

5 Things You Didn’t Know Could be Recycled

With the communities continuing to place increased emphasis on the role of recycling, its surprising that most recycling still centers around glass, plastic and paper. To the contrary the list of recyclable items is growing a rapid pace. This post is to introduce readers to just five of the lesser known recyclable items. However, let this information serve as the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’, and encourage readers to investigate further the very common items they can compost or recycle moving ahead.

5 Things You Didn’t Know Could be Recycled

1. Denim Blue Jeans

That’s right, the definitive staple of American fashion for the last century is now recyclable. Of course donating still-useable jeans to Goodwill is always a great re-use story, but we’re talking about jeans that no one would ever want. These ragged throwaways can now be used for good! Jean Recycling companies are taking your old denim and turning into natural fiber based insulation for homes. This ingenious method traps just as much heat as traditional insulation, but they keep jeans from landing up alone in a landfill. With that in mind you can also use your old jeans to keep razors sharp.

2. Cotton Swabs/Balls

Yes everything from traditional Q-tips to makeup applying cotton balls can now avoid the bathroom waste basket. What might surprise readers is that so long as the q-tip stem is natural fiber, these are perfect for a compost pile. Ear wax and cotton fibers both contain very high levels of nitrogen which is great for the growing cell walls of plants. Composting by definition is a wonderful way to get the most out of your purchases, but this is just one surprising product that most don’t consider ready for the organic pile.

3. Crayons

Not that anyone I know has ever tossed out that last paperless nub of a crayon perpetually roaming around the bottom of the pencil box, but in researching for this article I learned the opposite. For years people had been throwing away their useless crayons and while the bright pastels were a welcome addition to the landfill landscape, but they still were taking up space that had better uses. The nice thing is that these crayons are recycled to become new crayons! Hopefully, with your help the international crayon shortage can come to an end.

4. Keys

Many people have a drawer full of old keys somewhere in their house. Their utility long forgotten, they lounge in a drawer for all time or until redeeming portion of that hoarders show. However, these forgotten keys need languish no longer as they can in turn be recycled. A Key’s value stems from the simple fact it is made of metal.

5. Roofing Shingles

Easily my favorite one on this list, roofing shingles are now being used to fix potholes and pave roads in general. This ingenious use of roofing shingles is gaining a lot of momentum as a great way to save precious landfill space. Even better, is that it doubles as one of the cheapest road fixing materials on the market. The program to recycle roofing shingles is generally new, and you’re going to have to seek a place to take them. But this small amount of searching can save you big money through landfill dumping prices, and will furthermore, be recycled to make the Earth a little better and the roads of America a little safer.

These five items all serve as a reminder that the spirit of recycling is not only alive and well in this country, but growing by leaps and bounds. As more people challenge themselves to think of ways to turn waste into winning! As mentioned above I hope this article ignites your curiosity in finding even stranger ways to give used products a second life.

Last modified: March 7, 2021
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