Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Recycling

What to do with your holiday cards? Recycle them! St. Jude's Ranch for Children in Nevada takes all used greeting cards and turns them into "new" cards. Their Recycled Card Program has received over one million cards, and you can buy cards through their website. They are Christian and thus deal with such holidays, but they also collect and sell birthday and thank you cards.

The DC government is collecting trees, wreaths, and other greenery to compost. Residents should place the greenery in curbside tree boxes from Friday to Jan. 10th. Residents can also drop off trees at the Ford Totten Transfer Station from Saturday to January 9th.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yoga mat update

The Washington Humane Society also takes used yoga mats (see #14 in the General DC Recycling Info column to the right)!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Airport Recycling Competition

Let's just put it simply. In the DC area, the far-and-away leader in recycling is BWI Airport. BWI recycling went from less than 5% of waste in 2004 to 28% in 2006, which is extraordinary since only one or two US airports have over 25% and the percentage of total waste that is recycled in the United States is 32.5%. The BWI recycling program saves approximately $15,000 per year. According to GreenMiles in fall 2007, "Until recently, National didn't have any recycling at all." More info soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The House Office Buildings (and soon the Senate) compost

The House Office buildings have implemented some great practices that should be replicated in other government and commercial spaces in the DC area:
* Switching to primarily fresh, organic, locally grown food sources (within 150 miles of the Capitol, wherever possible), thereby reducing packaging waste and fuel burdens for delivery.
* Banning Plastics and Styrofoam from use in kitchen and cafeteria. All Styrofoam® and plastic food service items have been replaced with fully compostable, American-made plates, utensils, cups, water bottles and glasses.
* Sending all food waste and biodegradable food service containers to commercial composting facilities. The House Office buildings use Bates Trucking to haul the compostable materials to Recycled Green Industries, a composting facility in Maryland and within cost effective hauling range of Capitol Hill.
* Instituting a Pulping Practice to extract water from the food service waste stream, reducing the weight of the waste by up to 50% and thus the fuel used to transport it, and making the waste ready for composting.

Since initiation of this program, more than 660 tons of landfill waste has been diverted to regional composting companies in 2008. Do you know of a restaurant or other location that should compost? Let them know about Bates Trucking, Recycled Green Industries, and EnviRelation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yoga mat recycling

Yoga charities all across the United States desperately need your donated yoga mat. Donate your gently used yoga mat to The Bolder Mat Company, and they will refurbish it and donate it to yoga charities. Your mat will then be used to teach at risk populations about the benefits of yoga. The Bolder Mat Company also sells yoga mats and eco-friendly yoga mat bags made from T-shirt scraps.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cork recycling clarified

Cathy gave over 10 pounds of corks to an artist in town last week. We usually ship our corks to Yemm and Hart, which now pays for corks and turns them into tiles. Terracycle (and the local artist) also collect plastic corks. So, there are many people that want your wine corks! Relatedly, World Wildlife Fund has asked everyone to buy wine with natural corks.

“Cork harvesting is an environmentally-friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. Synthetic and screw top closures are more harmful to the environment because they use more energy in production and are oil-based products” World Wildlife Fund, May 15, 2006. Did you know that the Cork Montados, the cork oak savannahs, are the continuation of an ancient practice and multi-dimensional use of land around the Mediterranean Sea? The Cork Montados actually protect the biodiversity and certain wildlife that is endangered or on the brink of extinction and are a hedge against desertification caused by global warming as the Sahara creeps into Europe. Real cork is sustainable, synthetic and screw caps are not.

Andrew very intelligently asked, doesn't recycling corks undermine cork agriculture? My answer is that 1) recycling keeps cork and other materials out of landfills, 2) recycling cork through Yemm and Hart helps to build a new market with sustainable materials but does not infringe on the wine cork market, and 3) the amount of cork we are recycling is so small comparatively. So, buy wine with natural corks and recycle all corks. Don't toss your corks because many groups want them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Whole Foods on P St recycles Brita water filters and more

Whole Foods on P St recycles Brita water filters, batteries, cell phones, and clothing. They also compost! Thank you, Whole Foods!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Capitol Hill Radio Shack now recycles batteries!

Yes, the Radio Shack right next to the Eastern Market Metro (717 D St SE) is now collecting regular and rechargeable batteries for recycling. Just give your used batteries to the sales associates, and they will collect them. Of course, you can always recycle your batteries through DC government e-recycling, but this means driving to the Fort Totten Trash Transfer Station. Now you can just walk by our local Radio Shack. The DC Recycler will be regularly picking up the batteries for recycling. If you want your local Radio Shack or hardware store to collect batteries, just ask them! They may want to recycle them themselves or you can pick them up on a regular basis and recycle them yourself. It's an easy way to help keep batteries out of landfills. Thank you, Capitol Hill Radio Shack!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

DC Recycler is thankful for the DC government's recycling program

While the DC government could do so much more, it is doing a great job collecting and composting leaves this year. This project alone keeps thousands of pounds of material out of landfills and reuses this usual "waste" for gardening, etc. According to the DPW website, DC residents may pick up mulch March through November at New Jersey Avenue and K Street, SE, from 7am to 3pm, Monday through Saturday. Residents are allowed to take up to three 30-gallon bags (large trash bags). The mulch is free, but residents must bag it themselves. Interestingly, through its Helping Hand Program, the DPW will even provide mulch and tools for large-scale neighborhood beautification projects, who knew? Of course, the DC government is getting us to do its dirty work, but, if you want to get something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself. In any case, thanks to the DC recycling program for composting and recycling. Let's work towards expanding recycling in the District.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My personal recycling center

Some might think that collecting recycling at holiday parties veers too close to collecting garbage. However, with this very attractive "personal recycling center" on my shoulder, I will discretely collect wine corks, Brita water filters, and batteries that my friends and neighbors bring to holiday parties. It's easy and oh so "chic."

Holiday Recycling

Holiday gatherings are a great opportunity to collect items for recycling. For example, our block is having a progressive cocktail party, where we move as a group from house to house. I'll be collecting Brita water filters, non-plastic wine corks, and batteries for our group. As part of the DC Recycler recycling circle, Kim collects the filters, Cathy collects the batteries, and I collect the wine corks. See the July 25th posting below about starting your own recycling circle. It's easy and interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Fair Trade Chocolates as Gifts

Well, this isn't about recycling, but it is about a great chocolate company that is located in DC. Divine Chocolates is a company owned by farmers in Ghana. Their farmers' cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo, is truly amazing. The chocolates are fair trade, are delicious, and would make very nice gifts, in my opinion. Kuapa Kokoo has invested its Fair Trade income in building schools, sinking wells for clean drinking water to villages, providing mobile medical clinics for farmers in remote growing regions, and fostering women’s income generation projects to help women earn additional income for their families when the cocoa season is over. Most chocolate companies have horrible labor records, but Divine Chocolates seeks to provide an alternative to this. AND Divine Chocolates is located in DC!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Washington City Paper exposes commercial recycler failure

Washington City Paper did an amazing job reporting on the failure of many commercial recyclers, condos, apartment buildings, and businesses to recycle. Some commercial haulers mix recycling with garbage and delivered it all to the dump and other non-recycling locations. Since business waste represents 75% of all DC waste (residences make up 25%), this is really serious. If you see recycling being mixed with trash, please call DC's Department of Public Works (202-673-6833), or email them: Only by complaining will we force the city to enforce its own laws. As I mentioned before, when I worked for NY state government, we wanted the public complain, so that we could get the resources to do our jobs and deal with public demands. At the same time, as far as I know, DC does recycle residential recycling, so don't stop recycling!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Recycled Printer Cartridges!

You can now buy recycled printer cartridges that are 100% guaranteed from Castle Ink. They have ink refill kits, inkjet cartridges, laser toner cartridges for a huge variety of printers (Dell, HP, Epson, Lexmark, Brother, and so on). AND they are cheaper than new cartridges. Even more impressive is that they PAY up to $4 for your old cartridges. So, why are we buying new cartridges and toner??

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sign up for wind power

While this isn't about recycling, you can switch to 100% wind power and stop encouraging new coal plants. Clean Currents provides this option for DC and Maryland residents. It's easy to sign up.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Anything that goes in a landfill doesn't decay

I heard this long ago, but was uncertain whether it was true. The DC Office of Recycling reassured me that, yes, anything that goes in a landfill does not decay. So, don't think that your biodegradable bags or corn cups will decompose in the landfill. They do not want ANYTHING to decompose there (since it would produce awful run-off, etc), so they don't provide the conditions for this to happen. Therefore, biodegradable items have to be composted. And you can't compost them in your backyard because most items require special conditions to compost. Therefore, you need to have a great workplace that uses a commercial composter (e.g., the House Office buildings, the National Geographic Society, On the Fly) or you have to find a commercial composter yourself.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sometimes you just have to do it yourself

At the end of the Green Festival, I happened to meet a few members of the inspiring Boonsboro Recycling Task Force. Ten residents of Boonsboro, MD decided that they would just have to organize recycling themselves. What they did can be done by anyone interested in expanding recycling. The Boonsboro crew saw immediately that the DC Recycler had the same goals.

1) Figure out ways to collect recycling that the city doesn't yet recycle. While those in Boonsboro had to organize a recycling dumpster, here in DC you could work with neighbors to find a business that could collect for you. Hill's Kitchen collects Brita water filters for us, which we pick up and send away for recycling.
2) Get the schools recycling. The Task Force started environmental clubs in their high school and middle school. According to DC government, the DC schools are way behind on recycling. If you have a daughter or son in the DC schools and interested in recycling, you can contact the Office of the Chancellor to join the program to start a recycling program in their school.
3) Ask the government to expand recycling. From my experience in government, we always wanted residents to complain and demand better service. If you don't demand, the government officials have no leverage in starting or expanding programs. Just call 311. You can let them know what kind of recycling DC should have, request a recycling bin, ask them recycling questions, report recycling violations (for example, at restaurants), etc.
4) Provide information about what can be recycled and where. The Boonsboro group created a recycling how-to information sheet that was mailed with the residents’ town utility bills. Let your neighbors and friends know about regular DC recycling and new recycling possibilities. Also let the DC Recycler know and we'll post it to the blog!

The Boonsboro group even organized their own Green Festival last year with a recycling collection zone, a kids zone, a clothing swap, and 80 vendors. The Boonsboro group also saw that DC has only 31 recycling cans in public spaces, when little Boonsboro already has more than that! Get some friends/neighbors together and change your world.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The DC Recycler is ready for the Green Festival

I will be investigating the recycling opportunities at the Green Festival today. Lots of excitement!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reporting live from the DC Green Festival

Yes, the DC Recycler will be reporting LIVE from the DC Green Festival this weekend (Oct. 10 and 11). The Festival will take place at the Washington Convention Center, very close to the Mt. Vernon Square (yellow and green lines) and McPherson Square (blue and orange line) Metro Stations. Lots of great speakers -- Joel Salatin, Cornell West, Amy Goodman -- and interesting workshops on community gardening, alternative energy, composting, and the parallel hemp universe. The Festival strives to be a zero-waste event, so there will be lots of recycling and composting to report on.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Commercial Recycling

In DC, 70% of trash is generated by businesses and other non-residential sources. So, residences are not the serious problem. We should be looking to convert commercial trash to recycling. Recycling is required in all commerical establishments, BUT businesses only have to recycle glass, paper, and metal (aluminum, steel and tin). Recycling of plastic food containers and beverage bottles is optional. Why do we have to do more recycling than businesses? Businesses should have to recycle plastics and everything else! Why do DC take-out restaurants not have any recycling at all? That is the question of the day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank you campaigns

Many social change groups have realized the importance of thank you campaigns, sending mass thank-you emails to city offices that have started a new program (like when DC greatly expanded its curbside recycling program this year) or a politician who voted for a new policy (e.g., Tommy Wells' support of the 5 cent tax on plastic bags). One morning, I read in the Post about the amazing mental health programs for youths in the DC prison system, so I decided to thank them by email for doing this. I received a real letter in the regular mail, thanking me for my support especially because the press and others are rarely sympathetic to the help they strive to provide troubled youth in DC. The fact that I received a real letter signaled to me that more thank yous are needed! Next time you hear about a great new program or policy send an email of support. Of course, always send an email to push, complain, and needle policy makers to expand recycling and other programs!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cork Collection and Recycling

One can collect (natural) wine corks in an attractive glass jar and then bring them to Hayden's Liquor at Eastern Market (700 N Carolina Ave SE), which are then picked up by the DC Recycler and sent to Yemm and Hart to turn into cork tiles. At the same time, you can see (in the upper left hand corner of the photo) that I don't yet have an attractive way to collect Brita water filters, but Hill's Kitchen (at Eastern Market metro) does collect them for the DC Recycler to send for recycling too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Clear info on Carbon Offsets

Here is some actually useful info on effective carbon offset companies. I know that offsets aren't recycling, and I had disregarded offsets as a scam. However, now there are standards that allow you to know that the green house gas reduction wouldn’t have happened without your purchase. So, now it is easy to buy offsets when you decide to fly, drive, or even just use electricity. Green America has some actual recommendations:

NativeEnergy’s WindBuilders program sells offsets to finance new wind projects. More than half of offset purchases worldwide support renewable energy projects and displace coal-fired electricity. Many projects lack the capital they need to get built.
3Degrees offers offsets from wind facilities in northeastern China and India.
TerraPass offsets support methane capture at landfills from Maine to South Dakota.
CarbonNeutral Company offers offsets from a project that provides seed funding to a pilot solar lighting scheme for midwives in rural India. Their partner is the amazing Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India.

Both the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) and Green-e Climate program require their member retailers to ensure that any reduction in greenhouse gases sold as a carbon offset is "real, verified, permanent, additional, and unique." Basically, you want to know that the reduction wouldn’t have happened without your purchase.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Return your old Patagonia clothes to Patagonia stores

Yes, Patagonia will recycle most old Patagonia clothes into new ones (see details at the website). The DC store in Georgetown will take these items or you can mail them to Patagonia.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hill composting experiment put on hold

Due to a confluence of circumstances, we are putting the Hill composting experiment on hold for the time being. The general view is that bioplastics require a commercial composter. However, I'd like to hear if anyone has successfully composted their bioplastics.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There is a commercial composter in the District!

Remember that bioplastics (like corn cups, corn utensils, etc.) can't be put in your recycling bin or composted at home. EnviRelation is a commercial composter, which collects food waste AND bioplastics. They, however, just collect from businesses, so let your favorite restaurants know about EnviRelation. The bioplastics must come from 100% plant products, which is easy to check by looking for the US Composting Council or Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) logo. Some plastic bags are not made of 100% plant products, so composting them would lead to lots of plastic bits in your compost. BPI has a great website listing Certified Compostable Products (bags, utensils, etc.) by brand name. EnviRelation also composts: paper hot and cold beverage cups, single service disposable containers, straws, stir sticks, dessert bags, portions cups, and sugar and sugar substitute packages. Let your favorite restaurants and cafes know!

Common Good City Farm will be the first "Commons Compost" in DC

Here's the news from Common Good City Farm:

"We are pleased to say we will finally be happy to take your veggie scraps starting in the 2010 spring, Common Good City Farm will begin the first 'Commons Compost' in Washington, DC. You will be able to bring your food waste to the Farm. We will decompose it for you and turn it into usable soil for us to use on the Farm. ...Excited about this? Consider supporting this new venture by donating today. Your donation will allow us to build larger compost bins when necessary and create educational signage to accompany them."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Update on Composting in DC

Exciting new development in the DC area.
1) Composting of leaves
College Park, Prince George's County, and even DC composts leaves, though it is uncertain how many leaves are actually composted in DC.
2) Composting of food waste and maybe bioplastics
* DC Central Kitchen sends some kitchen scraps to a farm in MD.
* National Geographic DC HQ cafeteria.
* House office buildings
* Georgetown University?
* George Mason University?

Cities that already have food composting:

Cambridge and Somerville, MA
Duluth, MN
Modesto, CA
Halifax, NS
Oakland, CA
San Francisco

Maybe we should follow the lead of Cindy Olson of Eco-Coach, who has been urging citizens to call the DC Council and Mayor’s office demanding a better municipal composting program.

More magazines are using recycled or FSC-certified paper

American Prospect, Yoga Journal, the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, Mother Jones, Natural Home, Veg News, Mothering, and other magazines are now using recycled and/or FSC-certified papers thanks to help from Green America's Better Paper Program. They are expanding the market for municipal recycled paper. The Better Paper Program is saying to vote with your dollars (and has a very useful link to Amazon's recycled paper magazines), but I'm not so certain that I would choose my magazines based on their paper content. However, maybe it would be better to contact the magazines that we buy, tell them that we really value the use of recycled paper, and let them know about the Better Paper magazine program.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where does my recycling go?

Our visiting friend Ben B. admitted to two fears about recycling: 1) does the stuff he recycles actually get recycled, especially with city budget cuts, and 2) how does the completely unsorted recycling get sorted and actually recycled? The DC government has a great video on the sorting process that is well worth viewing (especially after the first minute and 40 seconds). So we have dealt with fear #2, but we will have to investigate further to deal with fear #1.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Guerrilla Recycling

Maybe it is time to rethink recycling, a whole alternative paradigm. Of course, as the DC Office of Recycling says: Rethink. Reduce. Reuse... And then Recycle. But what about alternative forms of recycling? What would guerrilla recycling be? Well, guerrillas are irregular forces fighting some conservative state force. Would this be recycling items where you are not the intended recycler? Such as at the House office buildings? At the same time, we don't want to provide a disincentive to pioneering recycling programs. What about exposing businesses that use bioplastics but don't have any plans to recycle these materials? Does the "sustainable" Sweet Green restaurant compost its bioplastics? What about pressuring the DC or other governments to expand recycling? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Update on Composting Bioplastics in DC

People have been buying bioplastics (such as corn-starch utensils, compostable cups, and corn-plastic packaging) as an alternative to petroleum-based plastic. However, bioplastics don't degrade in the regular trash and shouldn't be put in recycling bins. So, commercial, industrial, or municipal composters are needed to process bioplastics, as well as the usual compostable materials. But where are they?
1) San Francisco, Denver, and Halifax, NS provide curbside pick up of compostable materials. (Thanks, Susan D., for this info.) DC should do this too!
2) The DC area does not have municipal or commercial composters available to recycle residents' bioplastics. DC does compost some percentage of the autumn tree leaf pickup and may mulch tree limbs from trimming.
3) However, the House office buildings DO compost bioplastics!

Update: Recycling Batteries and CDs

Thanks to the Office of Recycling at the D.C. Department of Public Works I now have some answers. I have received a great new list of the items that you can bring to Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Recycling. There you can recycle: CDs, DVDs, Video tapes, Audio Tapes, and batteries of all kinds. According to the website Rechargeable Battery Recycling Coalition , you can take rechargeable batteries and cell phones to Frager's (Capitol Hill) and the Radio Shack at L'Enfant.

However, as far as I know, there is no drop-off location on the Hill for regular batteries. VGDA is working with a Hill business to do this. Do you know of battery drop-off locations in other parts of DC?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recycled books go to DC area prisons, shelters, schools

From the very helpful Arlington Co. recycling website, I learned that Books for America accepts (and does home pickups of) donated books, movies, CDs, laptop computers, etc. They use the books to build reading libraries in schools, shelters, prisons, etc. in the Washington, DC metro area (and are branching into rural Virginia) as well. They also provide children with their first take-home books. However, check the website before donating because they have some specific needs. Bring your items to the Books for America's "Bookstore with a Purpose" at Dupont Circle.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Recycle your Brita water filters at Hill's Kitchen!

Yes, Hill's Kitchen is now collecting Brita water filters. Just make certain they are dry when you drop them off. Hill's Kitchen is located right next to the Eastern Market Metro (713 D St SE, 202-543-1997). Thanks, Hill's Kitchen!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Start your own recycling circle

We started the Victory Garden Direct Action recycling circle because there were things we wanted to recycle that the DC government didn't recycle (info on DC curbside recycling). Forming a circle (or a club), or just working one-on-one with a business, makes this kind of recycling much easier. I heard about some interest in this from Mount Pleasant, so I thought that I would provide some tips:

1) Each person could choose to take responsibility for one item. Do you want to collect items that the DC government recycles during its weekly Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Recycling? Or do you want to collect items that need to be sent elsewhere? (The Guide to Hard-to-Recycle Materials is a great resource.) Maybe someone in DC can recycle things that are not recyclable in VA or MD (or vice versa)? Does someone's workplace recycle items that the city doesn't? We originally chose to collect wine corks, batteries, sports bar wrappers, and Brita water filters.

2) Find a business to collect a particular item for you. This isn't necessary, but it does allow you to expand beyond your recycling circle. Choose a business that might sell the item (for example, ask a liquor store to recycle wine corks). You might collect the items once per week, or ask if the owner might want to recycle the items herself/himself. We successfully found local businesses to collect wine corks and Brita water filters.

3) Share the burden. If one person is mailing items while others aren't, trade off, pool money, or do a fundraiser.

4) Think about organizing a school or office recycling circle/club. There many resources to help.

5) Let me and others know about your work. I'll advertise collection locations in the DC area. Just write a comment below. Thanks for your efforts!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Recycle Wine Corks at Hayden's

"Cork harvesting is an environmentally-friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. Synthetic and screw top closures are more harmful to the environment because they use more energy in production and are oil-based products." -World Wildlife Fund, May 15, 2006.

The sustainable harvesting of Mediterranean cork oak forests actually protects the area’s biodiversity and provides a vital source of income for more than 100,000 people in the cork-producing countries of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France. The increase in the market share of plastic corks and screwtops threatens to reduce the economic value of cork forests and could lead to its conversion to other uses, abandonment, degradation, and finally loss. Real cork is sustainable.

Hayden’s Liquor, 700 N Carolina Ave SE, is collecting natural wine corks to send to Yemm and Hart to make wine cork tiles. Buy wine with natural wine corks and recycle your corks at Hayden’s.

P.S. The first 5+ pound box of corks is now making its way to Yemm and Hart!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fuel your car with recycled oil

Imagine running your car on french fry oil. Your car may be able to run on biodiesel. Check out the DC biodiesel resource guide at However, the website is down right now, but Maryland has a biodiesel pump right near us through the Green Guild Biodiesel Coop.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What can I recycle through DC's weekly curbside recycling?

The first question of this blog should have been: What can I recycle through DC's weekly curbside recycling? DC curbside recycling was GREATLY expanded recently. I was really surprised by the things we can recycle now. For example,

milk cartons
aerosol cans
aluminum foil
non-metallic wrapping paper

Here's the very easy to read list: What can I recycle?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekly DC Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Recycling

DPW offers District residents a free, weekly Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic recycling (e-cycling) drop-off service at the Benning Road Trash Transfer Station, 3200 Benning Road, NE, and at the Ft. Totten Trash Transfer Station, 4900 Bates Road, NE, each Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm.

I recently (8/4/09) updated this posting to include the new HHW/E website. It lists all the things you can recycle there, such as computers, monitors, televisions, CDs, and batteries. Machines will be broken down into their component parts (plastic, glass, toxic metals) and recycled or disposed of safely.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

21 things you didn't know you could recycle

The mother lode of information is the Guide to Hard-to-Recycle Materials. A great resource. Green America has put together a great list:

1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances,, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them. 800/YES-1-CAN,

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110,

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they Boxcan use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local listserv or on for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223,

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. ShirtsDonate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling:

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses Glassesare reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340,

12. Ink/toner cartridges: pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local or listserv, or try giving them away at or giving or selling them at will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000,

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell Cellphoneit to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927,

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249,

17. “Technotrash”: Project KOPEG offers an e-waste recycling program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Use Project KOPEG to recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more. Also, easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK,

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from ToothbrushRecycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups. 888/354-7296,

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.