5 Little-Known Recyclable Items to Recycle on America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day, aka National Recycling Day, is a day the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dedicated to promoting the impact and importance of recycling. We celebrate it on November 15 each year, and it’s a day to reflect and consider what we can do to reduce waste and recycle more in our lives.

While most people are aware of the ability to recycle paper, plastic, and aluminum cans, there are several other items that you might be surprised are recyclable. Let’s take a look at these little-known recyclable items to help you decrease your unnecessary waste even more.

5 Things You Should Recycle on America Recycles Day

Here are five things you should consider recycling on America Recycles Day this year.

1. Textiles

At this point, we’ve all heard about how harmful fast fashion is to our environment. Each year, 92 million tons of textiles are sent to our already overflowing landfills. Each person throws out an average of 82 pounds of textiles every year, even though 95% of all textile waste is 100% recyclable. Even worse, those textiles take more than 200 years to break down.

That’s why you should consider recycling your textiles instead of throwing them in the trash. The easiest way to get rid of your clothing and textiles sustainably is by donating them. If your textiles are at the end of life, however, you can still recycle them with an approved recycler. Keep in mind that textiles don’t just refer to clothing; they also include blankets, towels, tablecloths, curtains, bedding, and more.

2. Candles

Did you know that candles can be recycled? And not just the glass container—the wicks, glass, wax, tin cover, label, and cardboard packaging can all be recycled. But keep in mind that, most of the time, you can’t just toss the whole candle in the recycling bin (unless your municipality has a candle recycling program in place). Instead, you’ll have to source-separate the candle and recycle the different parts.

For example, you can save all your partially used candles and scrape out the wax, then combine and melt it together to create a new candle. Candle vessels make excellent receptacles for different items, from pens and pencils to sand and seashells. Alternatively, you can just clean and recycle the glass containers and tin lids rather than tossing them.

3. Soft Plastic

Most people know that hard plastic can be recycled, but soft plastic can be recycled, too. Soft plastic is used on things like chip bags, cling wrap, and pasta packaging. It’s crinkly and soft. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of thinking that since they can’t toss it in their normal recycling bin, it isn’t recyclable—which isn’t the case.

There are designated soft plastic recycling drop-off spots around the country that allow you to drop off your soft plastic waste. So why not start collecting and saving your soft plastic and making a trip to a drop-off spot once a month or so?

4. Beauty Products

An astounding 70% of the packaging used in skincare and beauty products ends up in landfills. As the beauty and skincare industry has exploded in recent years, we’re starting to see an uptick in its environmental footprint. Thankfully, most beauty and skincare containers are completely recyclable.

After finishing your product, clean out the container and make sure your city’s recycling program can recycle it. Don’t toss out partially used beauty products, either. Instead, consider donating them.

5. Old Corrugated Containers (OCC)

You may have never heard the term “Old Corrugated Containers,” but you definitely know what they are. OCC is commonly referred to as cardboard. And while our cardboard recycling rates are higher than some of the other things on this list, they’re still hovering at around 69%.

As our online shopping habits increase, our need to recycle cardboard becomes even more significant. So if you aren’t already recycling your cardboard boxes or OCC, it’s time to start doing it.

How to Make An Impact on America Recycles Day

At the end of the day, people don’t have much control over what their municipalities recycle. For example, if your city doesn’t have a textile recycling program, you might have difficulty recycling your unwanted textiles.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Change only happens when people demand it. So, rather than just continuing to toss your recyclables in the trash, make America Recycles Day matter by encouraging your municipality or retailers to do more.

If your favorite beauty or clothing store doesn’t offer a take-back program yet or your municipality doesn’t have a way to recycle these items, encourage them to start. Let them know that CheckSammy can help them offer new sustainability initiatives. We handle the heavy lifting and logistics so they can focus on what matters most to them: serving their community. Encourage your cities and retailers to contact CheckSammy and start making recycling more accessible.

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