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How to Recycle (Extra) Household Items

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How to Recycle (Extra) Household Items
3 min. read
Woman taking out a box of household items

Image: New Africa / Shutterstock.com

When you combine the popularity of decluttering and organizing shows with a lot of time spent at home, it’s no surprise that people are realizing they have too much stuff. And while the first step of decluttering can be a hurdle, it can be even tougher to figure out what to do with all those extra belongings. Especially if you want to be environmentally friendly and not send it all to a landfill. But there are ways to recycle excess household items; it just might take a bit of extra work.

Both recycling and manufacturing require many resources, so the best option is to find a way to reuse an item. This keeps it out of the landfill and also eliminates the need for a new product to be made. But if you can’t give an object new life, it’s time to look for recycling options. To save you some time and legwork, we’ve researched the best ways to reuse or recycle household items other than your everyday plastics, papers, metals and glass:

How to Recycle Old Clothes

Luckily, we have a lot of options when it comes to giving old clothes new life. If your clothes are in good condition, there are many charities and organizations that will gladly take them. But it’s the stained or damaged clothing that most people have a hard time figuring out what to do with.

If the item in question is something you like, but it needs repair, consider taking it to a tailor. You’d be surprised at how inexpensive it is to have a seam or zipper repaired. If the item is beyond repair, look for donation centers that take old textiles and reuse them for insulation or other purposes.

How to Recycle Electronics

After clothes, electronics are one of the items that we tend to replace most often. Unfortunately, old electronics can leak harmful toxins like mercury and lead into the environment if sent to a landfill. But they’re also filled with valuable resources such as glass, aluminum, gold, silver and copper, which can be recovered and recycled. Many electronic retailers now offer recycling programs that allow you to drop off old items for proper disposal.

But there are also programs that help bring electronics to schools and families in need. If your old electronics are still working, one of these programs is the best way to extend their life. You’ll be helping someone in need and keeping harmful waste out of a landfill.

How to Recycle Batteries

Batteries contain toxic materials that can leach into groundwater and should never be thrown in the trash. A variety of retailers now offer recycling programs where you can drop your batteries in a collection bin. If you can’t find a retailer offering battery recycling, look for a collection program or hazardous waste event in your area. And some manufacturers and recycling facilities also offer mail-in programs to help keep batteries out of the trash.

How to Recycle Books

In some areas, you can include books with your regular recycling. But many recyclers only accept paperback books and not hardcovers. So always check your local guidelines before placing any books in the recycling bin. But books are also one of the easiest items to pass on for reuse.

If you’re an avid reader and have many new and popular books, you can take them to a used bookstore and possibly even get a bit of money for them. Older books can be donated at most thrift stores, but you can also take them to your local library. Some libraries will add books to their collection, but most often, they are sold to raise funds for new books.

While recycling household items may take a bit more work, it is definitely worth keeping these items out of the landfill. Add these items to your recycling list to help reduce the amount of waste you create.

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