How To Recycle Almost Anything

You’re so smart, you’ve already figured out how to recycle almost anything; I read all through your comments on my last recycling post how to make less trash and recycle more and, you guysCome on.

Seriously, I was so impressed.

how to recycle anything

I’m adopting so many of your recycling suggestions into my life, and just to make sure everyone gets to see what brilliant suggestions you had for recycling everything in your life, I’m going to share them below along with a few of my own recycling tips.

Brace yourselves for a mass of recycling genius.

how to recycle anything

You guys have got this whole recycling thing down pat.

Who’s Pat?  What’s Pat?

Tell me you watched Saturday Night Live in the 90’s.  Please.

how to recycle paper

Genius ideas to help you recycle almost anything:

  • get chickens to eat leftover trash
  • start a compost bin if you don’t have chickens {most of us don’t}
  • donate clothing to shelters or donation centers
  • up-cycle ripped or destroyed clothing by re-purposing: tear into rags for dusting and car cleaning, recycle gently used fabric into refashioned clothes and toys
  • use school donation bins to recycle big quantities of paper
  • reuse brown paper bags for grocery runs or crafts
  • wrap presents with brown paper bags
  • use glass bottles as containers for lunches
  • use glass bottles as vases and spice holders {genius!}
  • donate used or out of date prescription eyeglasses to optometrists who take them to developing nations for reuse
  • trade in used electronics or donate them to be recycled
  • make curtains from bedsheets
  • recycle aluminum for cash at a recycling center
  • take batteries to stores who accept them; keep them out of landfills
  • start a magazine swap with friends
  • donate books and magazines to your library or put them in a recycle bin
  • start a toy swap in a playgroup to keep kids, wallets, and landfills happy
  • recycle computers by sending them back to the manufacturer, or donate to schools or city programs who need them
  • recycle broken crayons by melting into new ones; they make great gifts
  • donate to thrift stores or the goodwill, and shop there to keep things simple

What else can you think of?  I really can’t tell you how impressed I am with all your recycling ideas, I truly am trying to incorporate so many new recycling tricks into my life.  It isn’t easy to recycle, and in my city it’s almost an uphill battle, but I think we’re all trying and I love all your creative ideas.  Will you please tell me what else you do to reuse and recycle in your home?  Thank you for all your ideas, I love them!

–This post is sponsored by Glad. They’re taking small steps to do their part and want to help you waste less too.–



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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. the emily :

    My husband I were just talking about Pat! You could never get away with something like that these days. But it was sooo funny at the time.

    • Allison :

      It was perhaps the best thing to come out of the 90’s.

  2. Marie :

    Living in Seattle, it’s hard to not recycle! We’re composting, recycling, and turning our trash into treasure. Sometimes those materials make the best crafts!!

    • Allison :

      I’m sure. I feel that way every time I visit San Francisco. I’m hoping Utah gets there eventually, but it’s slow going.

      And you know Marie, a good egg carton is 10 crafts in 1.

  3. Jennie :

    Better than recycling, try refusing. We need to consider our culture of disposables and think of better ways to do things. One thing that I have put a lot of energy towards is reducing my junk mail – this can be done with phone calls, emails, or my favorite, by returning the reply envelope included in the junk mail (usually free to do this) with the junk mail contents, with my name and address circled and a “please remove” note penned on. There is also a great junk mail removal service that is free to start with called Catalog Choice.

    Now, for recycling:

    Used Gift Cards – There is a company called Earthworks that recycles these and other PVC.

    Phone Books – Eco Yellow Pages has a step-by-step guide on how to remove yourself from the delivery recipients list with multiple yellow pages providers – . They also have a link to a form where you can join the fight to make unsolicited phone book distribution illegal.

    Foam packaging – Lightweight “peanuts” made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) contain 25 to 100 percent recycled material. The Plastic Loose Fill Council ( has a “Peanut Hotline” (800-828-2214) you can call to find local recycling centers, including chain-store shippers such as Pak Mail and The UPS Store. To recycle large, molded chunks of EPS used to cushion televisions, air conditioners and such, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers (

    • Allison :

      I agree Jennie, not bringing it into the house in the first place is huge. I need to get really aggressive about the junk mail and catalogs because they’re the worst offender in my life.