Green Business Bureau Blog
Recycle by Mail
There are now more recycling options than ever for conscious consumers looking to responsibly dispose of unwanted stuff. Many of us have access to curbside recycling for the basics and several retailers offer convenient take-back programs.
Still, it can be hard to figure out what to do with often overlooked things like plastic hotel key cards, wine corks, and CDs. Luckily, a simple trip to the post office can accomplish a lot.
Plastics and Packaging
- Earthworks recycles PVC plastic cards (hotel keys, gift cards, etc.) and turns them into sheets that new cards can be made of. Drop cards in the mail if your retailer doesn’t already take them back. Address is: Earthworks, c/o Halprin Industries, 25840 Miles Road, Bedford, OH 44146. Magnetic strips are okay. Don’t send credit cards or those that contain paper backing.
- Recycline’s Preserve Gimme 5 program collects clean plastic containers that have a #5 stamped on the bottom (yogurt cups, ketchup bottles, sour cream containers, and more). Recycled plastic is transformed into razors, bowls, and many other cool products (that you can also send back when you’re done with them). To maximize eco-benefits, the company suggests using ground shipping.
- TerraCycle creates shower curtains, totes, and funky fashion accessories out of old energy bar wrappers, drink pouches, and other packaging. It recyles wine corks too. In some cases, you need to mail in large quantities so look for a drop-off location or send in your neighbors’ stuff too.
Apparel and Shoes
- Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program has collected almost 22 million worn out athletic shoes since 1990. The shoes are ground up and turned into athletic fields. Nike’s prefers that you drop off shoes at participating stores, but you can also mail them.
- Patagonia’s Common Threads Garment Recycling Program turns your old Patagonia clothing into new garments. Visit it website for specifics on what they take back and where you can send it.
- Battery Solutions sells boxes that you can fill up with batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable), cell phones, PDAs, iPods, and others. The $24 fee includes a pre-paid FedEx shipping label.
- GreenDisc recycles CDs, DVDs, video and audio tapes, and their cases. You can also send in most computer related waste-anything from printer cartridges to mice to laptops. It costs $6.95 to process up to 20lbs of waste.
- Waste Management’s Think Green program sells recycling kits for batteries, CFLs, fluorescent tubes, and electronics. Prices vary depending on item. Fill the box they send you and mail it in.
Source: Lori Bongiorno