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80+ Surprising Items You Can Recycle

Written by Real Simple
Published: April 22, 2014

Did you know you can recycle those ripped pantyhose? No? What about printer cartridges? Seventy percent of used ink cartridges are thrown into landfills, where it will take approximately 450 years for them to fully decompose. That’s a lot of wasted space! To honor Earth Day, Recyclebank, a company that rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals, shared a list of everyday items that you may be surprised to learn you can recycle.

Pantyhose: Companies like No Nonsense recycle your old, nylon pantyhose by turning them into running tracks, park benches, and playground equipment.

Ink cartridges: Take them to Staples and get $2 off your next cartridge purchase, or use pre-paid shipping labels to mail HP-brand cartridges back to HP.

Glasses and hearing aids: Mail your old spectacles, sunglasses and hearing aids to New Eyes for the Needy, and organization that collects, recycles, and distributes donated glasses to impoverished people overseas.

Wine Corks: Once you’ve popped a bottle, send used corks to reCork, an organization that transforms used corks into footwear.

And, perhaps, the most surprising—if not slightly gross—of all…

Pet Hair: Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, uses donations of clean pet fur to craft oil-absorbing hair mats that help soak up oil when there is an oil spill.

If you still have junk to unload, consult this list of more than 75 additional surprising items you can recycle before tossing anything. With a little effort, you really can make a big impact.

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Recyclebank At A Glance

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New York, Philadelphia and Houston

Javier Flaim


The Coca-Cola Company, Craton Equity Partners, Generation Investment Management, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Paul Capital Investments, Physic Ventures, RRE Ventures LLC, Sigma Partners, Waste Management Inc., and Westly Group

4 Million+

300+ in all 50 states

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