The Truth About Recycling

There are many benefits to recycling materials at the end of their lives, but there are even more reasons why “Recycling” is the third and last R in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


Auto Fluids



Car Batteries

Recycling car batteries is quite common Batteries are actually the most recycled item in the US, at a 98% – 99% recycling rate! The easiestway to ensure your old battery gets recycled is just to take it to any dealership or automobile store. By law these shops are required to take them   and have contracts with battery manufactures to regularly ship out old batteries to be recycled.

Oil & Filters

The EPA website states that if poured down any drain, oil from at-home oil changes can contaminate 1 million gallons of water. When powering your vehicle the motor oil is, consistently getting more and more contaminated. Refining the oil can remove the contaminants and allow the oil to be turned into fuel.

Rules for Recycling

  • Some cities may allow you to recycle motor oils and filters curbside, but you will need to ensure that you follow all packing requirements to ensure they get handled correctly. To be safe, it’s always best to transport these items directly to a recycling center or a retailer.
  • DO NOT place in your regular recycling bin.
  • The bottles containing these chemicals can be recycled, but since they are not food-grade plastic, many recycling companies will not accept them. Take these items directly to a recycling center or retailer to ensure they get handled properly.
  • Auto Zone, Walmart Tire & Lube Express, O’Reilly Auto and many other retailers will accept these materials and oils to be recycled. 
  • Your state or city may have designated drop-off sites and collection facilities.

There are many ways tires can be reused and recycled. They can even be burned off and reused as fuel. Just in the United States 300 million tires per year are dumped into landfills, they become breeding houses for mosquitoes and attract rodents. Tires take up lots of space and can even become a fire hazard. Tire derived fuel has been and currently is an alternative fuel source to common fossil fuels andsurprisingly they produce 25% more energy than coal. 

Rules for Recycling

  • Take off rim and recycle (you can even make some money recycling your old aluminum rims)
  • DO NOT throw in your regular recycling bin
  • Ask your car dealership or auto shop if your old tires can be patched up and/or retreaded to make them last even longer. 
  • If you must replace your tires, ask your auto shop if they can recycle your old tires for you.
  • Consider using your old tires for a project before recycling. You can make planters, compost bins, and, of course, tire swings.

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a variety of ways to reuse tires before recycling.



When purchasing new appliances, choose a newer model with energy saving capabilities. Always recycle your old appliance since it contains a large amount of metal, including steel the most recycled material in the US. Using fluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons air conditioners and refrigerators chill air and are leading contributors of ozone depletion when not disposed of properly. With an energy saving appliances, you’ll save not only money on your monthly bills and but some companies will even apply a credit for your new appliance when you recycle your old one. 

Rules for Recycling

  • If you wish to recycle your appliances curbside, you’ll have to schedule a pick-up with your local waste collection service and specify what appliance you are recycling to see if there are any guidelines on how to prepare the appliance.
  • The EPA has a nationwide Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program for recycling appliances.
  • Allow time for your appliance to cool down by unplugging it a few days prior to pickup.
  • If you plan on recycling air conditioners, freezers, or refrigerators, ensure that your recycling program removes freon. If they don’t, you’ll need to contact a professional to properly remove the freon before recycling.
  • If you have a new appliance being delivered, ask your retailer if they can remove and recycle your old appliance for you. 
  • If the appliance you need to dispose of is still in working condition, consider donating it.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite eco friendly appliances.

GE Energy Star-labeled refrigerator

Equator 72 series dishwasher

GE Profile Advantium 120 combination electric oven

ASKO dishwasher

H3 Environmental 2Pure H20 under counter water filter


Batteries are found in many electronics including your smartphones and your cars. Batteries can be recycled via a take-back program, mail-in program, or even at localelectronics store. Many states require that they must be recycled because of their toxicity.

Rules for Recycling

  • Remove all batteries from your electronic device before recycling.
  • DO NOT throw in your curbside recycling bin.
  • Mail-in recycling programs are ideal for many offices. Have your coworkers collect their batteries (from the office and from their homes as well) and mail them in when your box gets filled up!
  • You can also take your batteries to your local electronics store for recycling!
CDs & Tapes

Over time our electronic capabilities, may grow and many of our once-beloved devices no longer have value. Transitioning from records to tapes, and from tapes to CDs can be easy. What’s not easy is figuring out what to do with your old devices.

Did you know that tapes and CDs are made of plastic— just not food grade plastic. For this reason they are not accepted in most recycling facilities. 

Rules for Recycling

  • If your devices and materials are still operational and in pretty good condition, consider donating them to a resale or thrift shop.
  • These items can also be used for many DIY projects and crafts!
  • You can also mail these objects and devices to the CD Recycling Center of America. Check their website for further instructions!

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse CDs and tapes before recycling.


Your old computer monitor, or CRT, may not serve a purpose in your home office any longer, but it can still serve a purpose.Containing at least four pounds of lead, and if you have a liquid-crystal display, or LCD, screen, chances are it is backlit with fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury, all within your monitor. Lead and mercury are both highly toxic metals that, can be incredibly dangerous when handled incorrectly.

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT throw in your regular recycling bin.
  • Unplug all cables and wrap them in a plastic bag or with a band. tape them to the unit.
  • Exercise caution when traveling your monitor since it contains toxic metals.
  • Staples, Best Buy, and many other electronics retailers will accept your monitor for recycling.
  • If you have multiple monitors and electronics to recycle, consider calling an electronic recycler and having them send a truck out to pick up your items.
  • Many computer manufacturers offer a credit when you recycle your old devices with them. Call or check their website to maximize your efforts.

Large electronics need recycling just as much, if not more then, petite sized electronics. Large electronics are not easier to handle, but they are worth not throwing away in your regular garbage cans. These large devices can contain metals that are easily recycled and can be toxic if handled incorrectly. 

Large Electronic Categories

  • TVs
  • VHS & DVD Players
  • Printers
  • Fax Machines
  • Fans
  • Speakers

Rules for Recycling

  • Remove batteries, if applicable.
  • DO NOT throw in your regular recycling bin.
  • Restore factory settings, if possible, to protect your private information.
  • If these devices are still in working condition, consider reselling or donating them.
  • Remove all cords and attach them to the unit(s) they belong to.
  • Exercise caution when traveling your device as you do not want to break them and expose its toxic innards.
  • If you work in an office, consider organizing a yearly electronic recycling event.
  • Call your local solid waste department and ask if they have an electronic recycling program.
  • If not, call retailers (Best Buy, Staples, etc.) in your area and they will take your old electronics for recycling.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite eco friendly paper companies.

Ink Cartridges

Every year hundreds of millions of printer cartridges are bought and more than half are dumped into landfills. These cartridges can be recycled and refillable, so there’s no reason tothrow them away with the weekly garbage? 

Reduce & Reuse

Ink cartridges can be refilled up to three times, but I have never met a person that has opted to refill instead of purchase a new cartridge. After they cannot be refilled any more, they can be recycled. 

Retailers can refill your cartridges and they can recycle them when you are finished. You can even refill your cartridges at home!

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT throw in your regular recycling bin.
  • Most office supply retailers can refill and recycle your empty cartridges for you. Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot offer rewards when you recycle and re-buy with them!
  • Even HP allows you to ship your cartridges to them for recycling free of charge. 
  • Cartridges For Kids operates a charity program that collects these items and gives money to schools in return.

Let’s be real—you’re probably going to get that upgrade and get a new phone at some point. There’s no shame in upgrading, especially when every update makes your two-year-old phone glitch and slow down!

Lucky for you, phones can be recycled pretty easily and have one of the highest recycling rates out of all electronics! We just need to do it correctly to ensure it actually gets recycled instead of ending up in a landfill or in the top drawer of our dresser for 5 years.

The most sure way to recycle your phone is to trade it in when you buy a new one. You can also drop it off at an EcoATM near you!

Rules for Recycling



All Glass

Although glass is the easiest and fastest medium to recycle, not all glass can be recycled. Glass that contained food is the perfect glass to recycle and can actually end up right back on your supermarket shelves within 30 days of being recycled and can be recycled indefinitely!

Glasses that have been treated with chemicals such as windows, lightbulbs, pyrex dishes, etc. cannot be recycled in your curbside bin. 

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT put glasses such as pyrex dishes, windows, mirrors, or any other non-food-container in your curbside bin
  • Remove all caps and corks (there is no need to remove the labels, unless you wish to recycle them, they will burn off when the glass is melted)
  • If you wish to recycle non-food containers such as windows and mirrors, you’ll need to schedule a bulk-waste pickup time with your local municipality’s solid waste office.

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a variety of ways to reuse glass before recycling.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that provide eco friendly glass.

Uncommon Goods: Recycled Glass Gifts

Trocadero 1903: Glassware

Wean Green: Food Storage

Glassnow: Bulk jars

American Specialty Glass: Home & Business Construction

Glass Recycled: Countertops

KAT Fabricators: Countertops



Christmas Tree

I know you’re thinking it probably would have been easier if The Grinch had managed to actually steal Christmas… at least the mess would be out of your hair! Luckily for you, it’s actually not too difficult to properly dispose of your tree.

If you must buy a real tree, try to find one that has been potted with the roots still on it. This way, you can plant it in your yard or donate it to be planted elsewhere. 

Many cities collect trees curbside and will properly handle their disposal. You don’t want them ending up in a landfill, however, so make sure of the intentions of the person or company that is picking them up!

Rules for Recycling

  • Remove all of your decor and effects from the tree (including the stand)
  • Contact your local municipality to learn if they have a tree recycling program already in place
  • If they don’t, find a local company that will, and then make moves to have a program in your city for recycling trees!
Construction Waste

At some point in your life, you may decide to do some renovating in your space. Wether that means getting new carpet, replacing doors or tiles, or a total gut and remodel, you need to ensure you are disposing of the ‘leftovers’ properly. Construction and demolition materials include, but are not limited to bricks, concrete, doors, wood, tree stumps, stones, windows, bathroom fixtures, metal, and so on. Keep in mind that even if you wish to be rid of something that is still functional, you can donate or give it away to someone that would make use of it!

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT recycle curbside!
  • Contact your local municipality and see if they have a program in place and can schedule a pickup of your waste
  • Donate items that are still functional to local charities or people you know that will make use if them (when in doubt, give to Habitat for Humanity)

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a variety of beautiful ways to create art from construction waste.


I’d rather be that person with a drawer full of corks waiting for an idea on what to do with them than be the person that just throws them away every time I pop a bottle! Corks can be recycled and repurposed so easily if you don’t like keeping crafting materials on hand.

Rules for Recycling

  • Cork is completely biodegradable, but things don’t degrade as they should in landfills. Piles and piles of plastics and ‘stuff’ keep the biodegradable items from biodegrading. 
  • Cork is compostable!!! Contact local farms or composting services and see it they will take your cork. Be sure it is real cork, and not plastic made to look like cork.
  • Use them for any and all crafts or sell them on an online marketplace or craft resale shop!

Whatever you do, do not flush your unused medications down the toilet!!! Our waters are polluted enough as is without adding more things into the mix. When cleaning out your medicine cabinet, surrender all unwanted and expired medications to your local pharmacy.

If taking such medications to a pharmacy is not an option, you can throw them away. Make sure to dispose of them somewhere that children won’t find them! Mix medications with other materials such as sand or clean cat litter so dogs and children don’t mistake them for something tasty.

Rules for Disposing

  • DO NOT flush unwanted medications down the sink or toilet!
  • Surrender to your local pharmacy
  • Remove all labels from the containers before surrendering
Medical Supplies

Medical supplies can be tricky to dispose of! Sharp items, syringes and tubes are biohazards and need to be properly disposed of. Check and see if your local pharmacy has a program that will properly dispose of them for you! If not, do some searching online for something local or a mail-in program.

Medical Sharp Categories

  • EpiPens and all other auto-injectors
  • Tubes and syringes

Rules for Disposing

  • DO NOT recycle in your curbside bin!
  • Check with your local pharmacy or doctors office and see if they have a collection program
  • Be sure all sharp objects are sealed and labeled in a designated area so they don’t hurt anyone!


Apparel & Accessories

We have all been conditioned to clean out our closets at the end of the season, but did we really need to get rid of that perfectly functional top when we’re just going to buy a similar one when the same season rolls around next year? No, we don’t! If you’re trying to live a more eco friendly lifestyle, one of the best things you can do for yourself and the planet is to not throw away perfectly good clothes. 

Now, a time will come when your clothing item doesn’t fit or is totally ruined. So how can we dispose of our old clothing in a safe way that doesn’t add to one of the biggest polluting industries on the planet (the fashion industry)?

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT throw in any curbside bin of yours!
  • Occasionally you can find a drop-off location for clothing that will be donated to those in need (though you don’t want to put anything nasty or unusable in here)
  • Avoid taking your clothing to thrift shops. These items will be resold when they could otherwise help someone in need of clothing!
  • Attend or consider hosting a clothing swap with your friends! At the end of the swap, donate the leftover clothes to an organization that will freely distribute them to those in need.
  • Some clothing companies like Turning Tides will accept their old clothing and in exchange will give you a discount to their site if the item is not fixable. Turning Tides will turn all clothing that is not fixable into other clothing items or use the material as stuffing for animal beds and pillows. Make companies that have this service your preferred place to shop!

If you haven’t made the switch to package-free bathroom products, you likely have a ton of recyclables in your bathroom! Bathroom product packaging is just as easy to recycle as food packaging, and you can recycle more than you think you can!

Whenever you’re ready to switch to package-free products, don’t hesitate! 

Recyclable Bathroom Products

  • All Plastic Bottles
  • Paper Tubes From Toilet Paper
  • Cardboard Boxes (housing toothpaste tubes or soap bars)
  • Rigid Plastics
  • Plastic Films and Wrappers
  • Deodorant Containers
  • Shaving Cream Containers
  • Glass Cosmetic Containers

Rules for Recycling

  • Rinse out all containers!
  • Place in your curbside recycling bin
  • Certain plastic wraps cannot be recycled curbside (like toilet paper wrapping) and must be taken to a specific drop-off location
Carpet & Rugs

Carpets and rugs will not break down in a landfill and cannot be recycled curbside. When recycled properly, nearly all kinds of carpets can be recycled and turned into new carpets and other plastic products. When shopping for new carpets or rugs, ask around to see if the company you’re looking at has a recycling system. When you purchase your replacement if one is needed, try to find a more eco friendly alternative to the typical plastic carpets.

Rules for Recycling

  • Opt for a more eco friendly alternative to regular carpet when and where you can (options below)
  • The carpet padding is usually recycled separately from the carpet itself, so ensure you have a plan for both when organizing the disposal of your old carpets

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that provide eco friendly carpet and rugs.


Making the switch to homemade or low-waste home cleaners is not easy, but when you finally do it, it will be so worth it. Now, what to do with your empty bottles of chemicals….. Recycle them, of course!

Rules for Recycling

  • Make sure you empty all bottles before recycling! Use all of the product if you can, and if you can’t you can just pour it down the sink (unless the directions on the bottle say to not pour down the drain…)
  • Check the website for your local municipality and make sure they accept that kind of plastic for curbside recycling
  • Put empty bottles in your curbside recycling bin!

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that provide eco friendly cleaners.

Branch Basics

Grove Collaborative

Method Home

Seventh Generation

Common Good


JR Watkins

Mrs. Meyer’s

Better Life






Cooking Oil

It’s easy to get rid of, however, if you have access to large amounts of cooking oil, you’ll want to find a commercial oil recycler to dispose of your old cooking oils.

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT pour down any drain!
  • DO NOT put in your compost pile!
  • For small amounts of oil, you can simply put some paper towels in your trash can and pour the oil onto the towels so it can be soaked up or pour the oil into a sealable container and throw it away
  • You can reuse cooking oil a few times! If you want to reuse the oil, strain it with a fine strainer or a paper towel and store in a cool, dry place
  • Some cities have curbside oil collection (check with your local municipality)

The most eco friendly way to live is to use things until they are no longer usable… but what do you do when that happens to cookware??

Rules for Recycling

  • Some manufacturers have mail-back programs
  • If your cookware still works well, consider donating it to an organization or person that will get good use out of it 
  • Sell unusable cookwares at scrapyards—research what material your cookware is made out of so you can give it to someone looking for that kind of material

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite eco friendly cookware companies.



Furniture is made with many mediums and, therefore, is a bit harder to dispose of properly! It’s always better to repair, recover and fix furniture before buying new, and donate when you must get something new. As a last resort, you can recycle it with bulk waste.

Rules for Recycling

  • It goes without saying that you shouldn’t put furniture in your curbside bin (it probably won’t fit lol)
  • Consider donating it to an organization or someone who will use it
  • Post it on a resale app like Offer Up or Facebook Marketplace!
  • Most cities will offer curbside pickup—you’ll need to contact your local municipality to schedule a pickup
  • For furniture that is made of mostly metal, you can probably find a scrap metal worker or dealer to take it

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite eco friendly furniture companies.

Items That Contain Mercury

If you are unsure wether or not an item contains mercury, check Our household items and products often contain mercury and you don’t want it leaking in your trash bin where children and animals can get ahold of it, especially because some forms of mercury can contaminate the air making it toxic to breathe. Many cities and towns have a hazardous waste collection system for items like these, so you will need to contact your local municipality to find more information. 

Rules for Recycling

  • Check with the manufacturer of the item and see if they have a take-back program in place
  • Check with your local municipality to see if they have a system in place for collecting these hazardous materials

The method of disposal for paints depends on what kind of paint you’re dealing with. Latex water-based paints are incredibly common and are accepted at many household hazardous waste facilities and events. Water-based paints can be recycled and made into new paints, but you’ll have to seek out recycling opportunities to ensure they get recycled. 

Rules for Recycling

  • Paint cans can be recycled relatively easily. Remove the lid and make sure there isn’t any paint leftover (you can scrape out the dried paint and throw it away or use it for an art project). Be sure to check your local municipality, since some cities don’t accept steel paint cans for recycling. If your city does, place in your curbside recycling bin.
  • If there is paint leftover, ensure it is sealed so it does not dry up and store it in a cool and dry place for future use!
  • Donate paint you no longer have a use for!
  • Oil-based paints cannot be recycled. Dispose of them using your local hazardous household waste service. If you cant find this service near you, let the paint dry up and throw it in your garbage bins.
  • Water-based paints can be recycled! Search in your area for a company that recycles paint.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that provide eco friendly paint.

Pesticide Containers

Chemical pesticides can’t be recycled and the bottles they com in can’t be thrown in your curbside bins! Do not pour their contents down the drain and do not reuse their containers. Some cities may have a system in place for recycling these containers.

Rules for Disposing

  • DO NOT toss in curbside recycling bins!
  • DO NOT pour leftover contents down any drain!
  • If the containers still have liquids in them, take them to your local household hazardous waste program for proper disposal.
  • Contact your local municipality to se if your city accepts the containers you’re trying to dispose of.
  • If not, search in your area to find a household hazardous waste recycler and drop them off.



Aluminum is SO EASY to have recycled. Like glass, aluminum can be recycled again and again, and be back on the shelf in an incredibly short amount of time (in this case, 60 days!). Aluminum cans, bottles, etc. can all be recycled curbside. Steel cans are also just as easily recyclable! It is incredibly important to recycle these metals since their availability is dwindling (unlike glass, which we have an abundance of). 

Rules for Recycling

  • YOU MAY throw in your curbside recycling bins!
  • Ensure all of the contents are rinsed out (don’t pour hazardous contents down the drain—you’ll have to surrender that one to your local household hazardous waste department)
  • Remove all lids and nozzles to be recycled separately

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a variety of ways to reuse aluminum before recycling.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that eco friendly products that come in cans.

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is not quite as easy to recycle as aluminum cans. The foil needs to be relatively clean to recycle. Although it’s not as easy to recycle, it is an important material that needs to be recycled. 

Rules for Recycling

  • Be sure to wash or rinse your foil before throwing in the recycling bin!
  • If you can’t wash the food off the foil, or if it has other materials attached to it, you’ll need to just throw it away as it cannot be recycled.
  • Once your foil is clean, roll it up into a ball to make the recycling process easier.

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a variety of ways to reuse aluminum foil before recycling.


Scrap metals are incredibly valuable when it comes to recycling. You can even get paid for taking your metals to be recycled (usually by the pound). From clothes hangers to bed frames, metal surrounds us all in our homes. Since there is a limited amount of metal available, it is important to keep out of landfills. 

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT place in your curbside recycling bins!
  • Scrap metals need to be 50% metal or more to be recycled. It’s okay if it is wrapped in plastics, as long as theres more metal than plastic.
  • If there is less metal than another material, you can remove the metal bits (plastic hangers that have a metal hook, three-ring binders, swivel chairs with all of their metal insides)
  • You’ll need to classify your metals before taking them to be recycled (if you can’t classify them, the recyclers may be able to help). Ferrous metals contain iron (like steel) and nonferrous metals consist of everything else. You can decipher which kind of metal you’re working with by using a magnet—ferrous metals are attracted to magnets, and, therefore, will stick together. Nonferrous metals won’t stick.
  • Search online to find a scrap metal recycler in your area. Link up with friends and bring it all at once or even run a collection party! Don’t forget to call the recycler or check their website to see if they have a minimum!
  • Bring your ID! Many metal recyclers will ask for ID to prevent people stealing metals.

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a variety of ways to reuse scrap metals before recycling. Get creative and tag us in your posts!


Books & Magazines

Paper is soooo heavy when you pile hundreds and thousands of pages on top of one another. There is a pretty low market for magazines, books, etc. to be reused, unfortunately. The main papers that get recycled are news papers, cardboard, and printer/office paper. 380 gallons of oil, 17 trees, 4,000 kW of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water are saved when one ton of paper is recycled. 

Books & Magazine Categories

  • Phone Books
  • Paperback Books
  • Hardcover Books
  • Magazines

Rules for Recycling

  • You may throw in your curbside recycling bin!
  • Consider taking your books and magazines to a used book store.
  • Toss out your books and magazines that are in bad condition.
  • Remove the hardcover on books before recycling.
  • remove plastics and recycle separately.
  • Leave all soft-cover books and magazines in one piece.
Cardboard & Paperboard

When cardboard is recycled, most of it is used to make new cardboards, paperboard for things like cereal boxes, chipboard for things like shoeboxes. Paperboard consists of one layer and cardboards have three layers. If you are looking to buy paperboard or cardboard, go for the ones made from recycled materials.

Cardboard & Paperboard Categories

  • Corrugated Cardboard (three layers)
  • Paperboard (think cereal box or granola bar box)

  • Chipboard (think shoe box)

Rules for Recycling

  • You can put these in your curbside recycling bin!
  • Flatten and break down boxes when possible!
  • Do not recycle wet cardboards, even if it has dried out! Water weakens the fibers and can’t be recycled.
  • Remove all labels and insides 
  • If there’s food or food stains in the cardboard, it can’t be recycled. Either cut away the tainted pieces and recycle the clean parts, or throw it all away.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that sell eco friendly cardboard boxes and provide boxes you can rent for your move to lower waste.

Cardboard Boxes


Eco Enclose




Cartons like milk, juice and broth boxes are recyclable!! These cartons are used to make tissues, paper towels, and more.

Rules for Recycling

  • Place in your curbside recycling bin!
  • Remove any straws, wrappings, etc. before recycling
  • Rinse out cartons
  • Be sure there is a recycling symbol before recycling!
Gift Cards & Gift Wrap

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT place all wrapping paper in your curbside recycling bin. Since most wrappings are not recyclable, everything in your recycling bin will get thrown out. Most wrapping paper and ribbons cannot be recycled. It’s better to reuse these materials or not buy them at all. When you inevitably end up with plasticky wrappings, search for a local holiday community recycling event to bring these items to.
  • You CAN put paper-based wrapping (no lamination or plastic) or wrappings made of recycled paper in the recycling bin. Be very picky because if you put the wrong wrapping in the recycling bin, the whole lot gets tossed out to the landfill.
  • When you’ve used all of the money on your gift card, don’t toss it out. Keep a shoe box or bag of your empty gift cards and send them in to so they can be recycled into new cards!
  • If you own or work for a shop that uses gift cards, key cards, etc., consider sourcing them from a company that uses recycled PVC to make these new cards (like
  • When in doubt, reuse. Always save gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and anything else you can reuse!

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse common household items to use as gift wrap.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite eco friendly gift wrap and accessory companies.


Green Field Paper

Bella Gift Wrap


Newspapers are recycled easily and can be thrown in your curbside bins. Newspapers are recycled into new newspapers and other materials! 

Rules for Recycling

  • Toss in your curbside recycling bins!
  • DO NOT recycle wet newspapers (even if thy have dried since) or papers with food on them
  • Can be composted!

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse newspaper before recycling.


Other Ideas

  • Create Art (i.e. sculptures, paintings, drawings)
  • Use to Clean Your Windows
  • Make Envelopes for Mailing



Half of all the recyclables collected each year in the US are paper, although they still makes up 1/3 of our yearly trash output… Let’s ensure we are recycling our paper products properly!

Paper Categories

  • Mixed Paper
  • Office Paper
  • Greeting Cards
  • Paper Tubes
  • Printer Paper and Notebook Paper
  • Tissue Paper

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT recycle wet (even if it has dried out since) or dirty paper
  • Shredded paper is accepted, though less desirable
  • Mark out personal information with pens or markers

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse paper before recycling.

Other Ideas

  • Print on both sides of the paper to reduce waste
  • Use to create art projects (i.e. Sculptures, Paintings, Book Arts)
  • Test print drafts for new projects
  • Make your own recycled paper
  • Create a sketchbook or notebook
  • Use as stuffing for shipping items

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite eco friendly paper companies.

Paper Cups

To-go cups are designed to be used once and then thrown away. These cups can’t even be recycled due to the fact that they are lined with a thin plastic coating. Some can be commercially composted, but only if they are lined with polylactic acid instead of polythylene.

Rules for Recycling

  • Most can’t be recycled. Check the bottom for the recycling symbol to be sure.
  • Try to avoid these cups by getting reusable cups!

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse paper cups before recycling.

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that sell biodegradable & compostable cups. This means when you throw your cup away, it will naturally break down into Earth over time.


Plastic Bags, Film & Wrap

Plastic grocery bags are typically made from #2 plastic (high-density polyethylene) while most produce bags are made from #4 plastic (low-density polyethylene). In most cities, you can’t recycle these curbside. Plastic bags are the most common trash found in our waters. Creatures mistake the plastic bags for food and often end up choking on them. Since these plastic bags are not biodegradable, they will be on this planet far longer than you or I (and even our great, great, great grandchildren). The best way to recycle these plastics is by finding a drop-off location (commonly found at grocery stores like Kroger, Sprouts, etc.).

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse common household items like plastic bags to use as gift wrap.

Other Ideas

  • Make reusable bags, clutches, etc.
  • Use as an art canvas for painting
  • Weave home decor (i.e. baskets, rugs, chairs)

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT recycle curbside unless you know your city accepts them
  • Remove contents
  • Wash out the bags if they are dirty inside
  • Keep a ‘bag drawer’ or box in your house so you can take them each time you go back to the store
  • Drop off at your local collection site!

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that sell plastic bags, film, and wrap alternatives.

Stasher: Reusable Silicone Bags

Vonn Art: Illustrative 100% Recycled Tote Bag

Totebag Factory: Customizable Tote Bags

Unwasted: Silicone Stretchable Lids

The Earthline Co: Cotton Produce Bags

Bee’s Wrap: Food Wrap

Bottles & Caps

Beverage bottles and jugs are most commonly made from #1 and #2 plastics and are accepted at most curbside recycling programs. Like plastic bags, plastic bottles do not biodegrade and are commonly found polluting our waters and being mistaken as food by birds, fish, and other creatures. 

Reduce & Reuse

Below are a few different ways to reuse plastic bottles and jugs.

Rules for Recycling

  • You may place these in your curbside recycling bins!
  • Rinse out the bottles and jugs
  • Check with your local municipality to see if bottle caps are accepted in your area. If not, you can find a mail-in collection service by doing a quick online search.

Go Eco Friendly

Whether you’re craving water, a soda, juice, milk, etc. try to always buy from companies that do not use plastic in their packaging.

Packing Peanuts

Packing peanuts are great for shipping fragile items, but TERRIBLE for the planet!! Since recycling options are limited or often nonexistent, it’s best to reuse or donate your peanuts.

Rules for Recycling

  • DO NOT place in curbside bins!
  • Separate into bags and donate or reuse (shipping stores may accept them for reuse)!
  • You may be able to find a drop-off site or mail-in service that can recycle or reuse them! Do a quick online search in your area.
  • If you must throw them away, gather them up in a sealed bag so they don’t escape and fly around everywhere when your trash gets picked up!
  • Opt for water soluble peanuts the next time you have the option!

Go Eco Friendly

Below are our favorite companies that provide eco friendly packing supplies.

Uline: Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Eco Enclose: Alternative Box Fillers

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