ATLANTA – According to the EPA, the average American produces close to six pounds of trash a day, and only a fraction of that gets recycled. Here’s how you an give those things a second life.
Let’s start with cell phones. How many do you have stuffed in a drawer? The EPA, again, says fewer than 20 percent are recycled. If you do it, you can help victims of domestic violence through Cellular Recycler and to help active-duty military and vets through a program called “Cell Phones for Soldiers.”
Eyeglasses. I have so many of these lying around because, well, I wear glasses not contaccts. Donate them, non-perscription sunglasses, too, because they go to help folks around the world to see. Check out New Eyes for the Needy, a non-profit with a goal to help the poor see.
Same with hearing aids. My daughter wears one so this interests me. The Starkey Hearing Foundation wants this one when my kid outgrows it. It can go to someone without the resources to buy one.
Running shoes. Nike has a re-use program called Re-Use a Shoe Program that accepts old sneakers to make ball courts.
Inhalers. I have these, too. I usually toss these asthma aids into the garbage. Well, don’t. Ask your pharmacist if her pharmacy recycles.
Batteries. Do not throw these things away. Check to see if your office has a program for single-use batteries. Many do. Ours does. Many retailers like Home Depot take the re-useable ones.
A few cosmetics lines want your empties. If you use Lush, Mac, Aveda and Kiehl’s, save your pots and containers.
Greeting cards. St. Jude’s Ranch for Children takes your new and used ones. They recycle and make new ones. Although, one hiccup: They can’t take Hallmark, Disney or American Greetings, according to their website, for copyright reasons.
Finally, those juice pouches and other things that come in pouches. A group called “Terra Cycle” wants them. And cigarette butts, too. Yeah, they make new things from those.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s like dieting. Just make one small change at a time so that you create a new habit, not a new chore. Start with those pouches for juice and laundry pods. Toss them in a bucket until full then recycle. And before you toss out anything now, take to your keyboard and see if there is a way to re-use it before you put it in the garbage can.