Thursday, February 16, 2012

Change the World Wednesday - non-curbside recycling

This week's Change the World Wednesday challenge at Reduce Footprints is as follows:

This week create a recycle bin for all the non-curbside recyclables - batteries, CFL bulbs, misc. plastics, etc. - and then find out where to recycle them.

Or ...

If you're already a recycling "guru", please tell us about your toughest items to recycle and how you've managed it. And, of course, any tips and ideas you have for recycling would be wonderful!

This is actually an easy one and one I should have thought of doing long ago but haven't.  I try to save things that I can't recycle curbside and take them to alternate locations but a lot of times it's easier to just throw them away because I have no where to put them until I have the chance to recycle them.

I have lots of storage in my laundry room, it's on the main floor between the garage and kitchen so it's a convenient location.  I can easily put an empty box in there and start throwing everything in to it.

My concern, though, is when will I remember to take this stuff to the store or specific location to recycle them?  I know local hardware stores can recycle batteries and bulbs. I know Whole Foods will recycle wine corks.  However that doesn't mean I've managed to bring in the two wine corks currently taking up residence  in my kitchen.  They've been there for months because I know I can recycle them. I just keep forgetting to grab them whenever I go to Whole Foods.

I suppose that is going to be the real challenge.  It's easy to throw these things into a box with the good intention of actually recycling them.  The challenge comes in remember to take them with me when I go to these places so I can recycle them.    I've thought about just putting them in the trunk of my car, but even then it isn't always a reminder since I don't look in my truck before heading into the store and sometimes not even when I leave.

As far as something tough to recycle, I've got one for you.  Do you have tennis shoes that are so old you can no longer wear them and it wouldn't be right to donate them?  Either shoes you wear in the yard or shoes you work out in or just every day tennis shoes.  Did you know that some of your local athletic stores might have a recycle bin for you to drop off the shoes? 

I go through running shoes pretty fast, well, fast compared to a lot of people.  I switched them out once I hit 400 miles.  To give you an idea, my current pair have about 210 miles on them and I've been wearing them a little less than 4 months.  This is actually somewhat low mileage too because I've had to take breaks due to injury and also really limit my running due to the pregnancy status.   When I hit 400 miles my shoes don't look like they need to be replaced but I know they are broken down and it's time.  Normally what I do is then rotate shoes. These shoes become my weight lifting/cross-training shoes, the shoes I was wearing for that become yard work shoes.  So then what do I do with the yard work shoes?  Recycle them!!!

Nike has a recycle drop off box in all their stores.   You can also mail them to them, you have to pay shipping though.

What I prefer to do, however, is find a location for Shoeman Water Project.  This is a local project, so unfortunately those of you in other states won't be able to use this.  The Shoeman Water Project has several donation boxes all over, all I have to do is enter my zipcode and it gives me a list of the closest ones. I just have to remember to take my shoes there.  


  1. That's a great tip about the shoes! I never thought of that. We recycle most everything and compost the rest. It really saves on the trash bill too. We're fortunate to have enough land to put bins in the back of the house for separating our recyclables. We donate lots to our local thrift stores too, and our local animal shelter can take the clothing/linens that aren't the best for donating to the thrift store.

    Peace. ;)

  2. Wow ... short of taking tennis shoes to the Goodwill, I didn't know that they could be recycled. Thanks so much for that tip! I've always had trouble remembering to take recyclables with me when I leave the house. So, I started putting a big sign on my door. Sounds kind of lame but it worked. Every time that I'd leave the house, I'd see this sign and I'd go back and grab my recyclables. After awhile, I started grabbing them before I got to the door so the sign did it's job, I was now in the habit and the sign came down. Another idea is to put your car keys near the recyclable box. My hubby taught me that one. If the keys are next to the box, or whatever I want to remember, then I can't leave until I find them ... and whatever was supposed to go with me. Thanks, as always, for a terrific post! :-)

  3. Do you rotate shoes? If so how do you keep track of the mileage on each shoe?

  4. Michelle...I wish I could get a lower trash bill based on what is actually picked up! Sounds like you guys do excellent with this challenge already.

    Small Footprints - I'm afraid I would never find the keys if I didn't keep them in my purse! haha! Maybe if I put some of this stuff in the bags that I take to the stores to use instead of that's an idea.

  5. Amber - I don't actually rotate my active running shoes. I normally only have one pair of active running shoes at a time. Now..I do want a pair of trail shoes since I trail run a lot. So once I get back into that and buy a pair I will rotate. I keep track of my training on the website Daily Mile. You can actually add equipment to that and when you tag it in a workout, it keeps track of the mileage. That's the easiest way I've found to do it so far.

  6. How about putting the corks in a ziplock baggie in your purse :)

  7. EcoGirl - The funny thing is that I have put the corks in my purse and been to the store that recycles them a handful of times and never remembered they were in my purse. haha!

  8. I hear you on remembering to actually take them to be recycled! At times, the pile gets so big that I can't avoid it. I use a similar method to Sml Footprints. I have a white board hanging on the wall on my way out to the car - ANYTHING I need to remember to bring with me, goes on that white board. I used it for grocery bags when I was "training" myself to remember, library books, things to return to friends, whatever.
    Good luck. We'll see how I do now that I have a couple of these spots going too.