You already know that paper, glass, and plastic goes in the blue bin—but how about pet hair, or old, worn out athletic shoes? Don’t toss these either—they can be recycled. Get the details on nine things you may not have known you could recycle:

1. CFL lightbulbs
Bring your spent compact fluorescent bulbs to the nearest Ikea or Home Depot location; the retailers will take them for free.

2. Video games
Walmart and Sam’s Club locations nationwide now accept old games in exchange for store credit. The games will be refurbished and sold to other gamers.

3. Sneakers
Drop your worn-out athletic shoes at a participating Nike or Converse store and they’ll be ground into building materials through the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program.

4. Pet fur
The charity Matter of Trust is seeking clean hair to help soak up oil spills. Hair salons and pet groomers supply much of the hair, but individuals are welcome to donate too! The organizations asks that donors reuse a box and make sure there is no garbage (such as pins, cigarettes, food, or anything sharp or dangerous for volunteers, who are sometimes students) in the package—only fur, fleece and hair. The address to mail the donations to depends on where you live—sign up at for more detailed mailing instructions.

5. Greeting cards
Mail them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, where volunteers will use them to craft new cards they can sell to raise money.

6. Pantyhose
Hosiery brand No Nonsense collects used pantyhose from any brand and has them turned into building materials like running tracks, park benches, vehicle insulation, and playground equipment. Download a mailing label here.

7. Wine corks
After enjoying your wine, save the cork! You can ship them to Recork and they’ll be turned into new products, like shoes.

8. Makeup packaging
When your cosmetic or beauty supply containers are empty, you may be able to recycle them instead of sending them to the landfill. MACOriginsKiehl’s, and Aveda have recycling programs—a few of which offer rewards for bringing back multiple packages.

9. Designer clothes
You can get rid of unwanted clothes at Nordstrom stores—and get something out of it for yourself. Turn in five items of clothing from the list of accepted brands and you’ll get a $40 Nordstrom gift card in return. Your clothes will be sold on to benefit an array of charities.


Pet Hair Is Reusable! 9 Surprising Things You Can Recycle