Specialized recyclers have sprung up to handle everything imaginable— or unimaginable in some cases: broken crayons, used dentures, old sports trophies, even sex toys. The kitchen is particularly fertile ground for recycling. Following are kitchen items that you’ll probably be surprised to learn are recyclable.
Those little bitty foil wrappers sure add up. Around 80 million chocolate Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped every day. That’s enough aluminum foil to cover nearly 40 football fields. Instead of tossing it out, toss it into the bin with aluminum cans.
We like our chocolate and our wine. 13 billion natural wine corks are sold each year. Get mailing instructions or find a local cork drop-off location on the websites for recyclers ReCORK and Yemm & Hart. Used corks can find new life as placemats, shoe footbeds, flooring, and other building materials.
I hope you know not to pour used cooking oil down the drain. It’s the number one cause of clogs, so clearly a lot of people are pouring it out. Whatever you’ve been doing, you might be surprised to learn that your used oil can be recycled into biofuel. Check Earth911 for a nearby recycling location.
Packaging and more
Terracycle accepts the previously non-recyclable and turns them into products like clipboards and backpacks. Terracycle accepts:
- Drink pouches (like Capri Sun) and single-brew coffee pouches (like Flavia)
- Single-serve treat packaging (granola bars, cookie, gum, and candy bar wrappers)
- Lunch kits (like Lunchables)
- Chip bags
- toothpaste tubes
- small electronics
Barry Snyder doesn’t recycle but will upcycle all those little stickers that come on supermarket produce, turning them into mosaic homages to well-known works of art. Visit Stickerman Produce Art to check out his work and for sticker shipping details.
Remodeling a kitchen, or even just replacing the old toaster— use the Steel Recycling Institute’s location finder to pass along old appliances large and small.