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Going Green & Garden

8 Things You Should Consider Recycling If You Don’t Already, Plus a Free Guide!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my stories about the gift that Justin received from Humble Potato Chips and I was absolutely blown away by it! A few years ago I learned that almost all chip bags are not recyclable, sure you can throw them in your recycling bin or drop them off at the local depot, but they actually just go into storage. Meaning, that they either go to the landfill or get stored for testing, in hope of one day they will be recyclable. This is what inspired me to share today’s blog on how to recycle (almost!) everything!

Now, I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of exactly how to recycle everything, even though I could talk about this topic forever. Rather, I’ll share how to recycle those items that we typically question “Is this recyclable?” and at the very end of the blog, you’ll find a PDF or what I like to call my Recycling Bible on how to literally recycle anything you can think of!

Jillian Harris sorting recycling items to their proper bins in the garage

1. Chip Bags

Well, since I started the blog by talking about chips, let’s talk about how to recycle chip bags… the short answer is you can’t (except for Humble Potato Chips!) but I’m going to share why you can’t. Most chip bags are made from a type of plastic called OFP which stands for Other Flexible Packaging, which is a complicated laminated type of plastic that is not able to be repurposed. This means every single chip bag that you’ve ever consumed since the 80s will likely be on the planet forever. Until Humble Potato Chips certified compostable bag!

2. Batteries

Batteries are everywhere, from the ones in your remote controls to electric toothbrushes to your car and more. But the real question is how do you recycle them, obviously throwing them in the garbage is not the proper place for them to be disposed of so where should they go? “Whether it’s your standard alkaline AA battery, a rechargeable cellphone battery, or the battery from your car, you should treat it with care by using safe storage and disposal methods” CTV News. With that being said, there are many local businesses that have battery recycling programs like Best Buy, Staples, and London Drugs!

And actually, rechargeable batteries can be recycled, but before you just throw them in the recycling bin make sure to contact your recycling center!

3. Clothing

I think most of us know by now that donating clothing is > throwing it out! Whether you bring your clothes to Value Village or sell it to a consignment store, it’s better than them ending up in the landfill. Psst… I have some exciting news coming soon on how you will be able to get your hands on some of my previously loved items and a wonderful charity component that goes along with it, stay tuned!

4. Ink Cartridges

Now that we have our office and a printer, there are a lot more ink cartridges floating around these days, and yes they can be recycled! One of the easiest ways to recycle used ink cartridges is through Staples, but depending on where they are from you may be able to recycle them through that specific company as well.

5. Glasses

Do you have a stockpile of glasses with old prescriptions that no longer work for you? Did you know you can donate them? That’s right, Clearly, (one of my all time favourite places to order glasses!) with take your old glasses off your hands! They accept gently-worn glasses that were previously purchased from Clearly across Canada. In partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation, they recycle frames and donate them to someone in need. They take donations at their retail locations, or you can mail them in by contacting their customer service team. In return, you’ll receive $5 Clearly store credit towards your next pair. Talk about a win, win!

Jillian Harris My Favourite Eyeglasses

6. Toothbrushes and Oral Care

Instead of trying to disassemble and recycle your old toothbrushes yourself, there is now a much easier way to do it! The Colgate Oral Care Recycling Program, a partnership between Colgate and TerraCycle, not only accepts old toothbrushes but used toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers as well. These items are each made from multiple types of materials, which means they typically can’t be processed by your regular recycling plant.

7. Razor Blades

It is estimated that 2 billion disposable razors are thrown into landfills each year, which is mind-blowing to me! That’s a huge amount of plastic and metal waste that could have otherwise been recycled. TerraCycle (which I am just learning about!) has partnered with Gillette on a razor recycling program that accepts razors from all brands, as well as the handles, heads, and even the plastic packaging they come in. All you have to do is sign up for the program on the TerraCycle website, print a free mailing label, and send your items in. 

Separated recycling bins for sorting household recycling

8. Crayons

If you have kiddos, there’s no denying that you probably have more crayons than you need (or want!). Instead of throwing them in the garbage, The National Crayon Recycling Program takes your unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons! This program along has prevented millions of crayons from ending up in our landfills.

There you have it, 8 things you may not have known you could recycle! If you’re not sure if an item can be recycled, a quick little Google should do the trick. Also, I highly recommend that you download the PDF below, print it out, and try to incorporate a few zero waste alternatives in your household to avoid items ending up in the landfill!

Guide for reusable and low waste alternatives in your everyday and household use.

Jillian Harris – Zero Waste Alternatives


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