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How to Recycle Everything in Your Home

How to Recycle Everything in Your Home from A-Z


An A-Z list of how to recycle everything in your home, including the best places to recycle, how to find them, and what to do before you recycle an item (like cleaning it, repairing it, etc.).

How to Recycle Batteries

Gadget Wally Organizer by Kangaroom
Photo by Kangaroom

Our Guide to the Environment wrote a great article on this, Toss or Recycle.

Places to Recycle Batteries:
  1. Whole Foods stores allow you to recycle batteries, paper and lightbulbs.
  2. Battery Solutions allows you to recycle through the mail.
  3. Ikea stores also take batteries for recycling.

How to Recycle Books

Organized Book Collection from Domino Magazine
Photo / Domino Magazine

I like to recycle books using Paper Back Swap, which allows you to list your books online: When someone requests your book, you mail it, and earn points to request others' books. This is a great system for big readers.

Before you recycle: Make sure it's fairly clean, remove book marks or any tiny pieces of paper, and unfold any corners.

How to Recycle Cars

My Dream Car - An Old Golf Cart
Photo / Elizabeth Larkin

Cars are typically recycled at a junk yard where they are crushed and then sold as scrap metal, the price of which is rather high these days. You will most likely pocket anywhere from $200-$500 for an old car, depending on the price of metal.

A another, better option is to donate your old car.

Before you recycle: Remove the tires, and clean the car, taking special care to remove anything that may have fallen into cracks and crevices. You never know how much loose change, jewelry or other small valuables you may find. Most importantly, sweep the glove box to make sure there are no receipts with any identifying information.

How to Recycle Cell Phones

Grass Charging Station from Organize.com
Photo from Organize.com

According to About.com's guide to Environmental Issues, cell phones are quickly becoming a huge source of trash in the U.S. Luckily, there are several organizations to help you recycle your cell phones locally and without much travel or effort on your part.

How to Recycle Cell Phones

Before you recycle: Wipe your phone of any personal data (numbers, notes, etc).

How to Recycle Clothes

Closet Organization by Color
Photo / Elle

Clothes recycling is really clothes consignment, and I found it very difficult to find one website that catalogs all consignment shops. The best way to find one is to ask around with friends or family, or inquire at your favorite department store.

Places to Recycle Clothes:
  1. Ebay
  2. Tag or garage sale
  3. Freecycle

How to Recycle Computers & Electronics

White & Platinum elfa Office Shelving & Desk
Photo / The Container Store
Most cities and towns have special days reserved for electronics recycle, and there are several outlets who will take old televisions computers off your hands. They are typically called "green" recycling centers and the like. Our computers guide has a great Computer Recycling. Places to Recycle Computers & Electronics:
  1. Computers For Schools
  2. National Center for Electronics Recycling
  3. Freecycle

Before you recycle: Wipe the hard drive (here's how to do that, Prepare Your Hard Drive for Disposal) to make sure there is absolutely no personal or identifying information left on the computer.

How to Recycle Furniture

Photo / Domino Magazine

Options for recycling furniture abound: you can DIY it and improve it, you can re-purpose it (like re-purposing an old set of kitchen cabinets to hold tools and sporting equipment in your garage), donate, sell it (Craigslist, eBay, garage sale), or you can truly recycle furniture. The best way to do this is to call your local town hall and see which days they will pick up over-sized trash. I recommend putting this out on the curb the evening prior, giving people who may want your furniture some time to pick it up before the trash collectors come your way.

Before you recycle: Make sure it's fairly clean.

How to Recycle Glasses & Eyewear

Kevin Sharkey's Glasses
Photo / Martha Stewart Living

Eyewear should ways be donated, unless it is smashed to bits, in that case, it should be treated as plastic and recycled the way you would a bottle of Snapple.

Places to Donate Glasses & Eyewear:

  1. Your local Lions Club
  2. OneSight
  3. Pearl Vision

Before you recycle: Clean your glasses.

How to Recycle Ink Cartridges

Both inkjet and laser printer cartridges come with recycling instructions in the package. I take mine back to Office Depot, which gives me $2 towards a gift card for each cartridge.

Before you recycle: If you have it handy, put the cartridge back into it's original casing. If not, ut it in a plastic bag.

How to Recycle Kitchen Appliances

Freecycle, passing onto a family member or friend, or donating your appliances is a great way to free upscale in the kitchen pantry or cabinets.

Our Housewares & Appliances Guide has a A-Z guide to donating and recycling old appliances.

Before you recycle: Make sure you have all of the attachments, cords and manuals together in one bag or box.

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