Recycling has been around for quite some time now, and it’s more crucial than ever. Our resources are dwindling, the environment needs saving, and we need to reuse items if we are to stand a chance at survival across generations. However, besides the usual goods you know you can recycle like paper, what other things can you actually recycle? Here are 12 things you can recycle, but maybe didn’t know about. Ready, steady, recycle!
1) Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Instead of just throwing them away, why not recycle them and put them to good use? As you can probably tell, light bulbs are made from a variety of materials such as metal and glass. The light bulbs are pre-broken and washed, then the elemental mercury is extracted. The bits of plastic, metal and glass are then broken down, separated and sent for further recycling.
Bits of crayon too small to even properly hold are annoying indeed, but don’t throw them away just yet. You can actually collect these bits of crayon and send them to a designated recycling plant, where they are melted down and used to form new crayons. Crayons are immortal! We’re unsure if this is happening in Malaysia, but it’s huge in the USA!
Household appliances like blenders or toasters have reached the end of their lifespan? Don’t dump them! Certified waste facilities can take them in and break down the materials, making them reusable again. Got an old mobile phone lying around too? Some recycling plants take them in too, so don’t throw it away just yet!
4) Running Shoes
Your sneakers are starting to wear out or break apart? They’re not for the rubbish bin! Instead, you can send them for recycling. Running/athletic shoes are actually made of several components, including plastic, nylon, metal and cotton among others, and these materials are recyclable.
5) Used Bras
You wouldn’t think that innerwear can be recycled, but they can. Again, we’re unsure if this program is ongoing in Malaysia – perhaps we have a similar one or they can be recycled anyway, but here’s what some people are doing with used bras. Bras still in good condition and “gently worn” are collected and donated to poor third world communities, while damaged or really old bras are taken apart and further recycled. Not a bad way for bras to go, honestly!
6) Toilets & Other Porcelain Goods
You read that right. Your toilet bowl (and other porcelain items), can be remade into useful items. In certain countries, these porcelain goods are actually crushed to make sidewalks and roads. In Malaysia, we don’t know if this practice is being adopted yet, but it’s good to know our toilet bowls can have a new purpose in life!
Everyone probably has at least a couple of carpets in their home, and what happens to them when you decide they’re too worn? Do some research, and see if there are any recycling plants near you that will take in unwanted carpets. Carpets aren’t just fabric, as they are also made up of other materials, all of which can be broken down and repurposed.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to all batteries, and you should definitely not be putting batteries into recycling bins. Batteries need to be handled with care, and recyclable batteries need to go to a proper recycling centre. Recyclable batteries include rechargeable and single-use batteries, but contact a local recycling plant for confirmation.
9) Cigarette Butts
This is an example, and we’re not sure if Malaysia has followed suit, but we really do think it’s a good idea. In Connecticut, Foxwoods Resort Casino has launched a recycling program involving cigarettes butts. What they do is collect cigarette waste, which is separated into plastic, paper and tobacco. The paper and tobacco are composted, and the plastic melted into plastic pipettes, which are cut into pellets and can be resold. If we can adopt this recycling method, it would definitely help with the cigarette butt litter in our country!
Who needs CDs or DVDs now that we have streaming services? They could be a thing of the past, on their way to becoming ancient relics. Before you decide to throw them out, consider recycling them. Certain recycling plants can break them down and breathe new life into them!
11) Washing Machines
Yes, even electronics as huge as washing machines can be recycled. Besides metal, there could be other components of a washing machine you don’t see. Many of those components can be used for other goods and materials. One machine for many here!
Yet another daily-use item you wouldn’t have thought to recycle, toothbrushes are actually recyclable. The plastic holder and bristles especially can be used for other goods, so perhaps it’s time to rethink throwing away your toothbrushes.
The above items are recyclable indeed, but there’s still the question of recycling availability, especially in our local communities. Recycle bins are now everywhere and everyone seems to be using them, but if you’d like to do more, try to find out about recycling efforts in your area!