Recycling_Rethink_WaysUsually when we think of recyclable items, we think of plastic bottles, cans and paper, but did you ever think of recycling pantyhose? Here are some things that you never thought of recycling but can.

Old shoes

Battered shoes usually get tossed in the trash. Charities and thrift stores don’t want them and you’ll never use them again. However, Nike’s Reuse a Shoe project wants these shoes! They grind the shoes down into raw material that they use to make “sport surfaces,” like tennis courts, running tracks and playground floors.


Ladies, do you have any bras that are the wrong size, don’t fit right, or are used temporarily, such as nursing bras? Instead of tossing them, give them new life by being part of The Bosom Buddy program, an Arizona-based program that donates bras to women in need, through shelters or other programs helping women to get on their feet.


Once your pantyhose get a run, you’ll probably never use it again. Send your old hosiery to No Nonsense, a company that recycles old pantyhose into new park benches. They even make shipping easier by including a downloadable mailing label on their webpage.

Light bulbs

As part of their campaign to stop the sale of incandescent light bulbs, IKEA is offering to recycle all compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs in bins available at their stores. Though LEDs are the best option, CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent and the mercury in CFLs can be distilled and reused.

Potato chip bags and other waste

Terracycle is an organization that encourages the collection of waste (corks, dairy tubs, flip flops, cell phones, ink cartridges, etc.) and turns these old products into new products sold by major retailers. Products include fences, backpacks, lawn fertilizer, cutting boards, and much more! To participate, visit the Terracycle website.

Things you didn’t know you CAN’T recycle

Bottle caps

According to the law, if plastic bottles are recycled without caps, it is mandatory that the company recycle the bottles. However, if the caps are left on, it is up to the company to decide whether to recycle them or not. Most of the time, companies choose not to recycle these bottles because it is actually less costly to make new bottles. This means that plastic bottles recycled with caps on are truthfully thrown into landfills.

Milk and juice cartons

Because of their wax coating, milk and juice containers are difficult to recycle. Unless the recycling plant has equipment to remove these coatings, milk and juice cartons are often trashed. If you don’t want to throw cartons out, you can reuse them as bird feeders or materials for kids’ crafts.

Pizza boxes

But it’s cardboard right? Yes. However, since the box has so much grease left over, these boxes are too damaged to be recycled. What you can do to get these boxes recycled is rip off the greasy parts and recycle the rest.

Aerosol cans

However harmless they may seem, aerosol cans contain chemicals that most cities consider to be hazardous. Aerosol cans should be returned wherever other hazardous material is accepted.


The film that coats photographic paper prevents photos from being recycled. A good alternative is to go paperless. With computers, handheld devices and digital picture frames you have a number of ways to look at your pictures without ever needing to resort to printing the photos and putting them in a photo album.

image: Jes Reynolds (Creative Commons – BY-NC-SA)