10You’re probably already making an effort to sort your trash, papers, and plastics from your regular garbage. But let’s face it, it’s not always clear what’s recyclable and what ends up in the trash. There are plenty of household items that might be slipping through the cracks.

While some items easily fit into your usual recycling routine, there’s a chance you’re throwing things away that could be recycled with a little extra effort. Granted, a few of these items may require more attention, but here are ten household items that deserve a second chance at recycling.

Old Athletic Shoes

running shoes
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If your sports shoes are in such rough shape that they’re beyond passing on to someone else and can’t be worn anymore, there’s still a way to recycle them. Search for shoe companies that run recycling initiatives, or you can drop them off at a nearby Nike store. Nike runs a Reuse-a-Shoe program that takes worn-out athletic shoes from all brands, grinds them down, repurposes them to make sports and playground surfaces, and crafts new sustainable Nike products.

Coffee Pods

coffee pods
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Though it might take a bit of extra work, you can actually toss coffee pods into your regular recycling. But here’s the deal: you’ll need to break them down for proper recycling. That means separating each pod into its components – the plastic, aluminum, and paper parts – before putting them in your recycling. As for the coffee grounds, here are 14 Incredible Ways to Repurpose Used Coffee Grounds.


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Batteries have the potential to be recycled – but there’s a bit of a catch. You’ll need to track down specific drop-off centers to recycle batteries properly. Your local public library, post office, or mail-in programs might have these options. To pinpoint a facility that accepts your particular type of battery, you can use Earth911’s search tool or Call2Recycle to find the right location.


book in a library
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If you’re a book lover facing a stack of books to part with, there’s an environmentally responsible way to handle it. Instead of contributing to greenhouse gas emissions by disposing of them in a landfill, there are several effective methods of book recycling. Book recycling options include donating them to a local library or charity or selling them online.

Plastic Bags

plastic bags
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While a few grocery stores have taken the route of completely doing away with plastic bags, many households still accumulate them. The smartest approach for recycling these bags is to give them a second life on your own whenever possible. You can utilize them as liners for smaller trash cans around your place, for picking up after your furry companions, or even as packaging material for mailing items.

Yet, if you’ve somehow amassed a rather sizable stockpile of these bags, several retailers and grocery chains offer collection bins for plastic bags. To locate a suitable drop-off spot near you, you can explore Plastic Film Recycling’s directory or How to Recycle.


toothbrush scrubbing grout
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You can definitely find some clever ways to repurpose toothbrushes at home, like using them as a grout cleaner or for shining up your shoes. However, if you want a more official recycling route, Colgate has teamed up with Terracycle for their own recycling program. It’s as easy as sending them your used toothbrushes and they’ll handle the rest of the process.


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If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve amassed a collection of used crayons in your home. Instead of letting them sit around or placing them in the trash, you can send them to crayon recycling program like Crazy Crayon. The recycling program will work their magic and transform those crayons.

Ink Cartridges

ink cartridge
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A good number of big office supply retailers provide a way for you to recycle your used printer ink cartridges. However, there are certain conditions to keep in mind, often related to where and when you bought the cartridges. Just reach out to your local office supply store for more information and don’t just put them in the trash.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

light bulbs
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Never toss your fluorescent lightbulbs into the trash. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that these bulbs contain mercury, which can have significant environmental repercussions if released. Instead, locate a recycling service for your old fluorescent bulbs. When these bulbs are recycled correctly, their components, such as glass and metal, can be effectively repurposed, preventing any harm to the environment.

Old Clothes

ripped jeans
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Most unwanted clothes ultimately find their way to landfills, and because these clothing piles don’t biodegrade, they add to environmental pollution. Fortunately, there are companies that offer eco-friendly clothing recycling services.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

kitchen countertop with cutting board and muddler
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The kitchen holds a special place in our homes, serving as a hub for cooking, meals, and gatherings. However, even though it’s the center of our daily lives, it’s easy for clutter, disarray, and items that have outstayed their welcome to accumulate in this space. Check out the 12 items in your kitchen that should be thrown away immediately.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

Here’s 16 Responsible Ways to Get Rid of Old Books

assortment of books
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Books have the power to transport us, stimulate our minds, and offer meaningful insights.  While books hold value and significance in our lives, for many book lovers, letting go of cherished books can be a sentimental journey. If you’re a book lover facing a stack of books to part with, there’s an environmentally responsible way to handle it. Here are ten responsible and eco-friendly ways to recycle and repurpose your old reading materials, giving new life to the pages and minimizing paper waste.

Don’t Trash Those Old Books. Here’s 16 Responsible Ways to Get Rid of Them

15 Tips on How to Declutter Your Home

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Although clutter can accumulate quickly and easily between you and your life, decluttering can spark immense joy and accomplishment. Here are 15 tips to help you tackle the task of decluttering your home.

15 Tips to Help You Declutter Your Home

15 Best Places to Sell Used Furniture Online

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Selling your used furniture online is a smart move to both earn money from your old belongings and minimize your environmental impact. Selling your used furniture is a practical step towards sustainability, all while boosting your finances. Whether you’re aiming to declutter your space or explore a side gig, here are the top online platforms to list your old furniture and tap into its hidden value.

15 Best Places to Sell Used Furniture Online

25 Online Thrift Stores for the Best Second-Hand Shopping

upscale thrift store
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Thrift shopping has expanded beyond department stores, garage sales, and consignment shops. Many thrift stores now offer a convenient way to shop their items online.  From retro dresses and vintage accessories to timeless denim and statement stand-out pieces, here are some of the best online thrift stores to help keep your wardrobe fresh and unique.

25 Online Thrift Stores for the Best Second Hand Shopping

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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