Real Simple Recycling A to Z
A Comprehensive Primer on Recycling Nearly Everything, Often for a Good Cause

Each water bottle you recycle may seem like a drop in the bucket, but don’t undervalue your efforts.

America is recycling nearly 33 percent of its waste almost twice as much as 15 years ago. But sometimes it can be tough to tell what can go in the bin, what can’t and what your recycling center does and does not accept.

The complete story

Below are a list of links for recycling many items:
American Birding Association – accepts donated backpacks – carpet-reclamation
Flor ( – carpet-reclamation – which will pick up and remove cars, trailers, motorcycles and other heavy equipment for free
The Wireless Foundation – refurbishes old phones to give to domestic-violence survivors – for information about other cell-phone charities – for a list of computer vendors for recycling – donate computers to a charity – donate computers to a charity – repairs your broken computers and gives them to underfunded schools, needy families, and nonprofits
National Crayon Recycle Program – recycles crayons – melts down crayons and reforms them into new ones – DVD & CD swapping – DVD & CD recycling – steel-can recycling – eyeglasses donations – prom or bridesmaid dress donations – will give it to a girl who can’t afford one – formal wear dress donations – they will give it to a girl who can’t afford one – will send you prepaid shipping labels, recycle your gadgets – like PDAs, MP3 players and other devices, then donate the proceeds to breast cancer charities – empty containers of Elmer’s glue and glue sticks
Starkey Hearing Foundation recycles used hearing aids & eyeglasses
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children – to recycle Holiday Cards – TerraCycle will donate 2 cents for each Honest Kids, Capri Sun and Kool-Aid Drink pouch, and 1 cent for any other brand you collect, and send in to the charity of your choice. – a nonprofit that collects used footwear (in decent condition) and distributes it to needy communities. – for a list of recyclers, retail stores, and manufacturers near you that accept electronics, mattresses & more
Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program – accepts old sneakers (any brand) and recycles them into courts for various sports so kids around the world have a place to play – If your sneakers are still in reasonable shape, donate them to needy athletes in the United States and around the world – phone book-recycling
Trade sports gear Play It Again Sports – gives gently used equipment to needy kids around the world – donate skis – to recycle grocery & plastic shopping bags – to recycle electronic waste (or e-waste) – to recycle electronic waste (or e-waste)
You can also send videotapes, cassettes, and floppy disks to, teachers from around the United States specify their wish lists
Ship your old lights to
Ace Hardware stores accept lights as well; search by ZIP code at – For every yogurt cup collected, Stonyfield will donate 2 cents or 5 cents, depending on the cup size