We all want to do good in the world, reduce our carbon footprint, use less energy, and create less waste. At this point, hopefully you are using LED lights, recycling at home, conserving water, and unplugging unused electronics. But there are many ways to recycle that perhaps you haven’t thought about.
1. Carpet - Unfortunately, the majority of carpet that ends up in landfills is thrown away for reasons other than wear – most often from owners simply growing tired or disliking the color of their carpet. One way to “recycle” your carpet is by re-dying it, which can change the look and feel of the room without the hassle of re-carpeting, plus the costly environmental impact. Like-new carpet can also be repurposed into cushy throw rugs, or donated to Habitat for Humanity.
For older carpet that is truly past its prime, gardeners promote the use of carpet for reducing weed growth while still allowing enough moisture. Using old carpet in this manner is an alternative to pesticides, or rubber. Carpet can also easily be transformed into a cat scratcher or litter catcher, scratch-resistant pads for underneath couch feet or bed posts, or perhaps providing some extra cushion for your laundry room or child’s tree house.
2. Old computers, electronics, cords – Best Buy has convenient bins set up in all of their US stores that takes consumer electronics and is committed to recycling them responsibly at no cost to you. It couldn’t be easier to cart in your old laptop, USB cords, printer, TV, camera, VCR or DVD player, mobile phone, or even those CDs gathering dust. For a complete listing, visit the Best Buy website.
For those VHS and cassette tapes lying around, you may have to pay a fee for them, but visit here to save these toxic materials from laying around in a landfill for thousands of years.
3. Compost – Americans throw out an estimated 1.25 pounds of trash per day, which then goes to a landfill, decomposes and releases methane gas. Composting is the mother of “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” because you are accomplishing all three with one task: Reducing waste by saving your food scraps (I cut my waste by 2/3rds when I started composting), reusing by creating soil out of them, and recycling by laying the soil down to create new (extremely nutritious foods).
Composting can take a little bit of setup – but once it’s done is easy and may even save or make you money. If you’re a touch lazy (like me) and want to go the easy route, simply purchase a Compost Bin, set it up in your yard and start chucking your food scraps in there.
- Use the compost for your own gardens, seedlings, trees and shrubs or house plants and watch them grow faster and more luscious with all those extra nutrients.
- Contact your local farmers, nursery outlets and garden centers. and either donate, or sell your compost. If you’re going for some extra cash, make sure to do a little market research in your area to find the best price you can sell your compost for per bag.
- Set up a “compost station” at your work for others to take home bags and use for their gardens
4. Clothes, furniture, knickknacks – Throw a “swap” party with some friends and have everyone bring items that they no longer want or need. Showcase the goods in one room and let everyone go shopping! At the end, whatever is leftover simply drop off at a Salvation Army. This could be a monthly or seasonal event, and responsibility for drop off can rotate around your group – but there is nothing better to encourage reusing materials than a good old fashioned party, especially if there’s wine and friends involved!
This article is brought to you by Revolution Recovery, a Waste Recycling center in Philadelphia, PA and New Castle, DE. We are dedicated to keeping materials out of landfills and sustaining our planet.