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Recycling 103: Going the Extra Mile

Updated on September 20, 2011
Photo by Leah Ireland
Photo by Leah Ireland

Here you are-- a proud recycler, you've read recycling 101 and 102, have a designated area in your household for recycling, you disassemble and recycle product packaging like a pro, and boldly inform your friends when they put their recyclables in the trash. You have proudly labeled yourself as "green" but now, you find yourself wondering, what comes next? What more could there possibly be to recycle?

This article addresses those items that most people don't think to recycle. Things like old shoes and leftover paint, as well as the other unexpected items found listed below.

Be sure to log on to and see what recycling options are available in your area.

Baby Products

It is important to properly dispose of broken or unsafe baby equipment, in order to keep it out of an unknowing family's hands. An unsafe car seat must not end up at a second hand store, and shouldn't go in the landfill either.

The BabyEarth RENEW mail-in program specializes in disassembling and recycling baby products such as car seats, highchairs, swings and strollers. If the item received is still in good usable condition, they will donate it to a family in need. Contact for more information.


Carpet is a great material to reuse and recycle, as the fibers can be broken down to create an entirely new product. Before recycling carpet still in good condition, contact your local Habitat for Humanity for reuse and help benefit a needy family. Otherwise, check with local carpet dealers and recycling locations for proper disposal of unwanted carpet material.

Compact Discs

Unwanted CDs and DVDs can be sent in to many different mail-in recycling companies. So gather up all those old America Online CD roms from the 90's as well as your old scratched and broken CDs and DVDs and check Earth911 for your nearest mail-in location.

Photo by Leah Ireland
Photo by Leah Ireland

Household Cleaners

Common household cleaners contain man made chemicals that contaminate the soil and leach into the water supply. Many of these chemicals are not regulated and are suspected by some to cause cancer and other serious illness.

The environmentally safe option for household cleaners is to buy products with plant based cleaning agents rather than harsh chemicals. Or, you can make your own natural cleaners by using common household ingredients to save money and energy.

You can responsibly dispose of your unused household cleaners at most hazardous material disposal sites.


Unwanted or used paint is another material that can avoid the landfills. While it isn't actually recycled, it is collected at most paint retailers, hazardous material collection sites, and Habitat for Humanity locations for reuse and resale.

Photo by Leah Ireland
Photo by Leah Ireland


Old worn out shoes don't have to be thrown away. Nike has a mail in program that accepts all athletic shoes not containing metal. The Reuse-A-Shoe Program recycles the shoes and uses the materials to make different athletic surfaces such as running tracks and playgrounds. All shipments over 40lbs are paid for by Nike, so make a combined effort with friends and family members to send in your worn out tennis shoes.

For more information, log onto

Photo by Leah Ireland
Photo by Leah Ireland

Our Choices Make a Difference

We as humans are reaching a critical turning point in the world. We can no longer get away with the wasteful lifestyles that dominates society. Our world must be respected and cared for to ensure a healthy and happy future for the next generation. It is necessary for us to change the way we think, starting with small steps like making an effort to recycle our waste. These small steps that we all are capable of is what will drive our society into an evironmentally conscious way of thinking. We all hold the power to change the world, that power is found in our choices. Whether we choose to purchase products made with recycled materials or ride a bike to work instead of drive, each choice we make influences the future of society.

Help spread the knowledge. Make the right choice.


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    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 5 years ago from Australia

      I believe it is important for everyone to make an effort to recycle. Thanks again, summerclark7387.

    • summerclark7387 profile image

      summerclark7387 5 years ago from Beautiful Southern Oregon

      Thanks so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed them, it sounds like you are already quite the recycler :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 5 years ago from Australia

      I've worked my way through all three of the hubs in your recycling series now. Phew. Nothing for me to feel guilty about in this one.

      I have a friend who, once a year, collects shoes from everyone he knows and then sends them to a third world destination to be distributed within the community. When collection time rolls around, some of us go out on shopping sprees to buy extra shoes that are brand new.

      Voted all three up. You give lots of good ideas and food for thought. Thank you. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 6 years ago from southern USA

      You have expanded my knowledge on this subject. Faith Reaper