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10 Things You Can Recycle That You Didn't Know About

Updated on October 13, 2011

From Computers to Washing Machines, There's a Way to Recycle Almost Anything!

You already know how to recycle the basics, like bottles, cans, cardboard and paper, but what about the not-so-everyday items?

Items like aerosol cans, cellphones and mattresses can still be recycled, but not curbside. Find out here where you can recycle these everyday items that don't have everday recycling methods.

Computers, Mattresses, Aerosol, Oh My!

*Batteries. These are essential to recycle and contain dangerous heavy metals and chemicals like mercury, so that cannot be tossed into the rubbish. They also can't be sent curbside. When you initially purchase your batteries, don't buy them for the long term. They expire and drain down even when not in use. Consider rechargeable batteries to lower the amount of batteries you consume. Gift idea: Buy rechargeable batteries (and a charger) for children that you give a toy to. It's a fun lesson for them, and you'll be spreading the word about this eco friendly alternative.

*Aerosol cans. The negative consequences of aerosol cans have been largely documented, but if you have some lying around, they can still be recycled! Take the cap off, be completely sure the canister is empty, and peel off the label, just as you would with your metal food cans. Send it curbside, or take it with you on your recycling center trip.

*Computers. A major reason many people do not recycle their computer is for security reasons. To tackle this hurdle, erase your hardrive. It's not as hard as it sounds, and it's easy for others to access your information even if you've deleted sensitive information from your computer. Erasing your hard drive isn't sending documents to the computer's recycling bin, so don't think that's all you have to do! After you're done with that, take a look at TechSoup's Tips for Donating your Computer, which also includes a list of places you can donate to.

*Mattresses. Even mattresses can be recycled. First, evaluate the condition of the mattress. If it's still perfectly usable, put the mattress on Craigslist or to find out what transfer station is closest to you that will accept the mattress. Call before you go to find out if they really do accept mattresses to save yourself the gas and the wasted trip.

Squidoo: A Great Resource for Green Enthusiasts!

There are hundreds of unique, useful lenses to greenify your life right here on Squidoo. Check out the entire category of green living lenses!

  • Cellphones. There are millions of cellphones floating around the world, many not even activated. There are plenty of organizations dedicated to recycling your cellphone. Like batteries, cellphones contain hazardous chemicals, so they need to be disposed of (or recycled) properly. If you're cellphone is still current technology, you maybe able to get a good price for it on eBay.

  • Washing machines. If you you think you need an upgrade on your washing machine, first evaluate whether you need a new washing machine or if it can be fixed. If it's beyond any repair, definitely purchase an energy efficient, energy star rated model. The front loaders are currently the most efficient and use far less water and electricity. To recycle your old washing machine, contact the retailer, or ask before you purchase your replacement to see if they'll take it to recycle.

  • Scrap Metal. Did you know that scrap metal is in huge demand? Clean out your garage, cellar, barn, attic or storage unit and bring it to a scrap metal dealer. Look up scrap dealers in to see where the closest one is. If you have LOTS of it, you may make some money, too.

Have a lens of your own that you'd like us to visit? Tell us about it and we'll drop by as soon as we have a free moment!

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    • profile image 

      3 years ago

      Thank you !!!!!!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Great info! Thanks so much. Re-cycling, re-using, re-pairing, re-modeling, re-sharing & re-viewing.....IT ALL RRRRROCKS!!!!

    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i kept lots of tins and cans, should fetch a lot of money with the recycle ctr

    • Brigitte Thompson profile image

      Brigitte Thompson 

      3 years ago from Austin, TX

      Thanks for the great tips and wonderful Hub

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      If each one of us adds these items to our recycling it will make a difference in the long run. It takes each one of us making an effort to effectively make changes through recycling.

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thank you for these useful tips. I'm sure many folks will find this hub helpful like I have. Up and sharing.

    • gigiee profile image


      6 years ago

      great lens

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      love it ! thank you for sharing with us!

    • casquid profile image


      6 years ago

      You managed to open my eyes. I appreciate you!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      7 years ago

      i know what to do with the cds in order to recycle, but what do you do with the case they come in?

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Thank you for making us all aware of more recycling opportunities. Education is the key to a greener future. I will apply what I have learned here.

    • FunkyJewelleryUK profile image


      7 years ago

      Yay! I am all for making people aware of recycling! Great work. I make my own jewellery using recycled products too. Nice work :)

    • MichaelWoods profile image


      7 years ago

      I love your lens, I have always been cautious about reusing and recycling. It is great to come across a helpful, thoughtful, useful lens as yours. Thank you

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 

      7 years ago

      This is a really great lens...

    • UKGhostwriter profile image


      7 years ago

      amazing! - great lens

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      7 years ago

      What an important lens and series of lenses. Thanks so much for the great information.

      Adding to my favorites and adding a special Angel Blessing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank-you for this going-green information!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love your lens - so informative! Thank you for those well written articles on recycle.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      7 years ago

      Awesome recycling lens- lensrolling to a few of my related lenses -:)

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 

      7 years ago from US/TN

      Some great tips here! Blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome lens-enjoyed it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great environmental lens! Very easy to follow tips. Thanks for sharing!

    • KarenHC profile image


      8 years ago from U.S.

      You've got so many good ideas on your lenses! Great ideas here for getting rid of some of the "stuff" in our house that I didn't know how to get rid of (without putting in the trash).

    • nukemdomis lm profile image

      nukemdomis lm 

      8 years ago

      Right on, I didn't know about mattresses. Thanks for the info.

    • jenms lm profile image

      Jen Schaefer 

      8 years ago from St Petersburg

      Love your green lenses! I have been meaning to put together a green lens for quite some time but haven't done it yet - so many good topics.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Keep on recycling!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is really cool to see what things can be used that are recycled plastics and stuff. They can be turned into carpets or other objects made of the same plastic and it really is amazing when you can renew a resource like that.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      These are some great ideas! Also, many places are offering incentives to recycle your old electronics and may even pay you a small amount for bringing them in. I'll be looking for more of your lenses!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      Excellent lens with great advice and suggestions! We still donate our computers, but we simply remove the hard drive first. We keep the hard drive, so we never have to worry about it and we donate everything else. I did not know you could recycle aerosol cans though. Awesome!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great content and layout! You gave me some great ideas to improve my Green lens. Thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You have some cool green ideals here! Keep up the good work!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      cheers guys you make me tingle on the inside. And helped me with geography homework!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What an awesome lens with lots of excellent ideas. Environmentally Friendly Kudos to you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely work you have done! Keep it going!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      thanks for some great ideas

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      very informative!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      8 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      This is a really good resource, I like having it all in one spot. I have a couple of recycling or reusing lenses I did a long time ago if you're interested, one is on Old Cell Phones and the other on Your Old Digital Camera if you have time to take a look.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is an awesome website it helped me learn to be green

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Recycling is so important. Thank you for posting this top ten list, for it is very informative.

      - Maurizio Maranghi -

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent lens! I am sure it has been very helpful to many.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      9 years ago

      Wonderful collection of ideas!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Some very good recycling info here.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      Wonderful tips and I learned something new. Thanks. I am going to follow up a few of them and see if they have the recycling options here in New Zealand.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great tips, especially the rechargeable batteries. I've always just bought batteries and tossed them after use. I need to buy the rechargeable kind from now on.

    • religions7 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • AppalachianCoun profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens. We were not aware that one could recycle aerosol cans, Thank-you for the great tip.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      great lens with some great tips and info

    • Lori Lee-Ray profile image

      Lori Lee-Ray 

      9 years ago

      great tips!! thank you so much! I added you to my green lense!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Another well done, useful lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What helpful information. I found the information about batteries especially helpful! The next child's birthday party I go to I am going to give rechargeable batteries. What a great idea!


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      we have too recycle things and let earth celebrate plenty of birthdays

    • teamlane profile image


      9 years ago

      Blessings once again! ~ Colleen :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great information! Thanks for writing it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very good info. There are not many places like this that give good pointers and tips on cleaning up the environment. Here is another article that may be useful in uncovering hidden value in recycling your cans.

    • only1bub profile image

      Debbie Hawkins 

      9 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Lovin' the lens! The links in the first box don't work for me though.

    • Charlyjl profile image


      9 years ago

      Recycling is certainly the way to go. Fantastic tips.

    • Sarunas profile image


      9 years ago

      Very useful lens. I gave you 5* ;P

      Keep it up.

    • dahlia369 profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for joining my Squidoo group!

      "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."

      -- Buddha

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You are a featured lens on Green Tips- Quick Fixes, Easy, & Long Haul Choices! this week.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I second "GreenerMe" and all y'all readers here! GreenerMe, thank you for fighting for this planet and using your precious time to enrich us on how we can save our resources and the planet's well-being...!! You have so many of the best lenses on Squidoo; keep rocking!! 5/5 and favorited!!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      9 years ago from Croatia

      Love it, love it, LOVE IT! You did great job here and this lens looks very appealing!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      Great ideas for recycling.

      Often teachers need materials for projects as school. Ask your child's teacher if they need toilet paper tubes, wrapping paper and other items.

      Thank you especially for the tips on recycling computers.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Good tips, especially for recycling mattresses and cell phones. You may be interested in this article on recycling mattresses: (Not a Squidoo lens, and not related to anything I am doing; just an environmental article with useful informaiton.)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! So earth friendly... Thanks for sharing. :)

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 

      9 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Great green tips! Thanks! Woofs, Johann

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      This is a wonderful lens and I'm lensrolling it. I'm eager to read your other lenses, too. I've got some work to do to make my green lenses as good as yours.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      Great information. I use plastic grocery bags to clean up dog poop. I know they are bad, but I feel a little better because I am at least using them more than once. Am I rationalizing? *****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent lens. Important advice.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      We recycle as much as we can. Obviously we can do more.

      Great lens


    • AlisonMeacham profile image


      10 years ago

      I try to recycle as much as I can. It is so important to play a small part in helping to green the planet.

    • Sniff It Out profile image

      Sniff It Out 

      10 years ago

      Nice lens... we should all try to recycle more if we can!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for joining the Envirolens Group!

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 

      10 years ago

      Great idea. I've got a similar lens for UK-based people: Just One More Thing

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      10 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Wonderful tips. Great job! Welcome to Living the Green Organic Lifestyle.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you for all of the great tips!! I will definitely add this to my favorites and use it as a reference.


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