Paper. Plastic. Glass. Aluminum. When we think about recycling, these are the materials that first come to mind. In reality, there are tons of wacky and wonderful things that can be given a second life—if we’re willing to think outside the box and get creative. Below are five things you probably didn’t know were recyclable. Check them out, and take your green lifestyle to the next level!
1. Running Shoes
After you cross the line of your next marathon, don’t toss those old, stinky, broken down sneakers! Instead of throwing them in the trash, give them a second life by dropping them off in one of Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe recycling bin. This innovative program takes old running shoes and turns them into Nike Grind, a versatile material used to make everything from sports courts and to zippers. Find a drop-off location near you and breath new life into your running shoes.
2. Wine Corks
Drinking a bottle of wine is only half the fun. The other half is turning those wine corks into fun and creative projects that brighten up your home and keep that cork out of the landfill. You can use corks to make everything from clever bulletin boards to chic trivets. We’ll toast to that!
3. Yoga Mats
Yoga is a path to enlightenment, but there’s nothing enlightening about a trashcan filled with old yoga mats. Instead of sending your mat to that yoga studio in the sky, you could always turn them into a pair of flip-flops. While they may not be the most fashionable shoe you’ll ever wear, they’re fine for getting to and from class. If you need more ideas, Treehugger offers up 21 ways to repurpose your old yoga mat. Now that’s dedication!
Your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, which means the average person will go through approximately 156 toothbrushes in their lifetime! That’s a lot of toothbrushes. Keep the earth as clean as your pearly whites by recycling those toothbrushes. Luckily, the organization TerraCycle has teamed up with Colgate to create a free recycling program for oral care products. Visit their website to join the program and participate!
5. Pet Hair
If you own a dog or cat, then you know pet hair is a truly sustainable resource—there’s always more to sweep up! Instead of throwing away all that pet hair, you can donate it to a group called Matter of Trust, which uses it help soak up oil spills. You can also create sweaters from it, which sounds weird until you consider most wool sweaters are make from the fur of sheep. (Actually, never mind—it still sounds weird!)