Whether you recycle at the curb with the City of Dalton curbside recycling program, or at one of the convenience centers in Whitfield County, you’re probably accustomed to recycling paper, cardboard boxes, aluminum beverage cans, glass bottles, and plastic bottles. These are some of the most common things accepted for recycling in residential recycling programs across the country.
But, there are other very peculiar things that can be recycled too – just not at the curb or at a local drop off site. If you want to take the extra step to recycle something out of the ordinary, consider the following items that can be mailed into manufacturers who are either reusing or fully recycling materials that otherwise would end up in the trash heading to the landfill.
• Egg Cartons: Egg cartons made with paperboard are easily recycled locally with other clean and dry paper products, just drop them in the recycling bin. Foam egg cartons, however, are also recyclable through a mail-in program hosted by Dolco Packaging at http://dolco.tekni-plex.com/recycling. Polystyrene cartons that are clean and dry can be mailed back to their Lawrenceville, Georgia location where they are recycled into other polystyrene based products. It’s best to save them for several months before mailing them out.
• Blue Jeans: Old, worn, torn, and outdated blue jeans, denim jackets and denim shirts that are not good enough to donate are all candidates for recycling by Blue Jeans Go Green at www.bluejeansgogreen.org. Jeans are reprocessed and recycled into UltraTouch Denim Insulation used in residential homes and commercial buildings across the country. Jeans are sometimes collected through special collection drives in department stores or college campuses. However, there is a mail-in program for individuals to send in their jeans anytime.
• Oral Care Products: The paperboard box that holds your favorite tube of toothpaste can be recycled with mixed paper. But, did you know you could recycle your old toothbrush, floss container, and empty toothpaste tube too? Colgate and TerraCycle have teamed up to create the Oral Care Brigade at www.terracycle.com. A brigade is a mail-in program for recyclable materials being processed by TerraCycle a company specializing in hard to recycle items. To participate collect your oral care products in a small boxed lined with a plastic bag. When full tie up the bag, make sure there are no leaks and seal the box. Print your shipping label from the TerraCycle website and send your old toothbrush packing.
• Crayons: The broken, stubby, worn out crayons that your child no longer wants to color with can be recycled, even with the paper wrapper still on them. Mail your collection to the nice people at Crazy Crayons (www.crazycrayons.com) where they’re sorted by color then melted down into uniquely shaped new crayons. The paper wrappers are transformed into fire starters, ideal for camping or fire pits. The new crayon products are even available for purchase on their site.
• Wine Corks: If you purchase glass bottles of wine you should know that the glass bottle is collected for recycling locally. However, the wine corks are not separated at this time for recycling. If you do want to recycle your natural cork stoppers instead of making yet another coaster or memo board with them you can mail them in to ReCORK (www.recork.org). Visit their website for instructions on where to mail your stash. Please note that ReCORK has a minimum of 15 pounds which may require you to get some friends involved in collecting corks too.
• Pantyhose: When I first heard about pantyhose recycling, about two years ago, I was surprised. Then, I thought it wouldn’t last. But, I’m happy to report that No nonsense is still very serious about their pantyhose recycling program. Mail in your old, worn, torn pantyhose, no matter what brand they are, and No nonsense will use them to make park benches, playground equipment, and event toys. Visit www.nononsense.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Pantyhose Recycling on the bottom right for instructions.
• Carpet and Padding: Replacing the carpet in your home? Separate the carpet and carpet padding from the rest of your garbage and take it to the Old Dixie Hwy. Landfill and Convenience Center at the south end of the county. You’ll pay a discounted disposal fee and your carpet and padding will be tested for recyclability at the recycling center located on the same property. Carpet is a source to make new carpet, carpet pad, automotive parts, and even energy. Visit www.DWSWA.org, to download the guide ‘Where does old carpet go’ for more program details.