Recycling can be about more than just reducing the amount of materials sent to a landfill. Sometimes recycling can involve putting things to good use that you no longer want. Instead of throwing something out, think about the many ways that you can recycle it and brighten someone else’s life.

Christmas Lights

1These days, people are ditching the old style Christmas lights for the newer LED types. The LED lights burn less energy and they can also be programmed to do a variety of patterns. Throwing out your old style incandescent light bulbs with your glass recycling is not a good way to dispose of them. But you can take those old lights to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s during the Christmas season and have the store recycle them. Many of the stores that take trade-in Christmas lights will also give you a small credit towards the purchase of new LED lights.

Shoes

2As Americans, we sometimes take something as important as shoes for granted. When we don’t like the pair we have or they get a small hole in them, we will usually throw them out and buy new ones. But instead of throwing them out, you can recycle your shoes and even save a life. When you donate your old shoes to charity, you are helping nearly 300 million children around the world who do not have any shoes at all. It is estimated that the lack of proper footwear causes the deaths of up to one million of those children. That is how your recycled shoes can save lives.

Electronics

3Technology changes rapidly these days, and many people do what they can to keep up. A common practice is for people to throw an old laptops or cellphones in a drawer and then move on to buying a new one. But you can sell that old cellphone or computer and use that money to buy a new iPhone or Ultrabook. There are plenty of places that will buy that old device and let you recycle it into cash. There are also non-for-profit organizations like Cell Phones for Soldiers that collects donated cellphones. When upgrading your electronics, look for positive ways to discard the old alternatives.

Batteries

4When non-rechargeable batteries die, most people usually throw them away. The batteries that contain metals such as nickel are recyclable. As a matter of fact, the more hazardous the battery material is, the more likely you will be able to have it recycled. Instead of throwing out those dead batteries and unleashing harmful materials into the environment, find out if your retailer has a battery recycling program. If you cannot recycle them locally, then there are companies you can mail the batteries to for proper recycling.

Corks

5The corks that are used in wine bottles are often discarded after the bottle has been opened. But there is actually a national network of cork recycling retailers that will take those used corks from you and recycle them into flooring materials, ceiling tiles and corkboards for school classrooms.

Recycling is one the best ways for anyone to help the environment. You should always check and see if there is way to recycle something and preserve our natural resources before throwing it into the garbage. Remember that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

SEE ALSO: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress

Featured photo credit: Different Colored Bins For Collection Of Recycle Materials via Shutterstock

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