Don't get me wrong. Recycling is an important part of good stewardship. Heck, we can take our cues from nature on this. A forest floor is a great example of recycling that takes place naturally all the time. When leaves, twigs, branches or pine cones fall to the forest floor, they gather and pile up on top of each other. Over time, the organic matter closest to the soil begins to decompose and becomes rich soil or humus. (Not to be confused with hummus, a tasty Mediterranean bean dip.) As more organic matter is piled on top, more humus forms on the bottom. The cycle can continue endlessly under the right circumstances. Nothing is wasted in nature. Everything is used, reused and recycled. That's a wonderful example for us to follow.
The only problem is, we often feel like recycling is a "get out of jail free" card. We can consume all the resources we want if we just recycle. Not so fast there, Bub! There's a reason why "Recycle" is the third of the Three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Because it's actually the last thing you should do after trying everything else. After you've reduced your waste, after you've reused items again and again, THEN you should recycle.
So, now that you've come to the point when you are ready to recycle the little you have left in your trash, how about looking past the paper, aluminum, and plastic in your recycling bins. Let's look for other things that can be recycled.
Here are a few unconventional items that can be recycled:
- Glue sticks and glue bottles--Elmer's Glue
- Blue jeans--Check out Green Jeans Insulation and Bonded Logic. Both companies make insulation out of blue jeans and occasionally have collection drives
- Styrofoam peanuts--at your local pack and ship store or Here
- athletic shoes--Nike
- ink jet and printer cartridges--Rapid Refill Ink
- Just about anything else--Terracycle