Recycling at Home: Transforming Waste into a Greener Future

October 28, 2022 in environment, recycling

Article summary and Key takeaways: Recycling at home is an important way to reduce waste and protect the environment. This article explores 35 old unused items that can be recycled at home, including paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, metal, electronics, and textiles. It emphasizes the benefits of recycling, such as conserving resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The article also discusses the importance of teaching recycling in schools and provides tips for setting up a recycling system at home. Additionally, it highlights creative ways to reuse old items and examples of products made from recycled materials. The article concludes by emphasizing the need to research local recycling programs, donate or sell usable items, and repurpose or upcycle items to further reduce waste.


Recycling has become increasingly important in today’s world as we strive to reduce waste and protect the environment. While many of us are familiar with recycling common items like plastic bottles and aluminum cans, there are actually numerous household items that can be recycled right in the comfort of our own homes. Not only does recycling at home help reduce landfill waste, but it also conserves valuable resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In this article, we will explore 35 old unused items that can be recycled at home, and discuss the benefits of recycling and how to incorporate recycling into our daily lives.

Common Household Items that can be Recycled

Paper and Cardboard

Newspapers and Magazines

One of the most common household items that can be recycled is paper, including newspapers and magazines. These items can be collected and recycled into new paper products, reducing the need to cut down more trees and conserving valuable resources.

Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard boxes are another easily recyclable item found in most homes. Whether it’s the packaging from an online order or an old shoebox, cardboard can be broken down and recycled into new cardboard products.

Office Paper

Unused office paper, such as printer paper or notebook paper, can also be recycled. By recycling office paper, we can reduce the demand for new paper production and save energy and water in the process.


Bottles and Jars

Glass bottles and jars are highly recyclable and can be melted down and turned into new glass products. It’s important to rinse out these containers before recycling them to prevent contamination.

Drinking Glasses

While drinking glasses are not typically accepted in curbside recycling programs due to their different composition, they can still be recycled. Consider donating or giving away old drinking glasses instead of throwing them away.


Bottles and Containers

Plastic bottles and containers are commonly recycled items. Look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of these items to ensure they are suitable for recycling. Recycling plastic helps reduce the demand for new plastic production and conserves energy.

Plastic Bags

Although plastic bags are not typically accepted in curbside recycling programs, many grocery stores have designated recycling bins for plastic bags. Reusing plastic bags or opting for reusable cloth bags can also help reduce waste.


Aluminum Cans

Aluminum cans are one of the most valuable recyclable materials due to their high metal content. Recycling aluminum cans saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, making it an environmentally-friendly choice.

Steel Cans

Steel cans, such as food cans, can also be recycled. Like aluminum cans, recycling steel cans conserves resources and reduces the need for new metal production.

Tin Cans

Tin cans, often used for canned vegetables or soups, can be recycled as well. By recycling tin cans, we can help decrease the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.


Old Cell Phones

Many individuals frequently upgrade their cell phones, leaving old devices unused. Instead of letting them collect dust in a drawer, consider recycling them. Old cell phones often contain valuable metals that can be extracted and reused.

Computers and Laptops

Obsolete computers and laptops can also be recycled. Many electronic retailers offer recycling programs where you can drop off your old devices for proper disposal.

TVs and Monitors

Old televisions and computer monitors contain hazardous materials and should not be thrown in the trash. Instead, find local electronic recycling programs that accept these items.

Clothing and Textiles

Old Clothes

Instead of throwing away old clothes that no longer fit or are no longer in style, consider donating them to a local thrift store or clothing recycling program. These items can be reused or recycled into new textiles.

Bedding and Linens

Bedding and linens that are no longer needed can also be recycled. Look for recycling programs that accept old sheets, towels, and other textile items.

Recycling at School

Common Recyclable Materials Found in Schools

Paper and Cardboard

Just like in our homes, paper and cardboard are commonly found in schools and can be recycled. Encourage students and staff to recycle paper products to reduce waste and teach the importance of recycling.

Plastic Bottles and Containers

Plastic bottles and containers used for lunches or snacks are often thrown away, contributing to landfill waste. Implementing recycling programs in schools can help reduce this waste and encourage sustainable habits.

Aluminum Cans

Many schools have vending machines or cafeterias where aluminum cans are used. By providing recycling bins for aluminum cans, schools can help reduce waste and teach students about the importance of recycling.

Importance of Teaching Recycling in Schools

Environmental Education

Teaching recycling in schools not only encourages eco-friendly habits but also provides an opportunity for environmental education. By learning about recycling, students can gain a deeper understanding of the impact their actions have on the environment.

Encouraging Sustainable Habits

Introducing recycling programs in schools helps instill sustainable habits in students from a young age. These habits can then be carried into adulthood, creating a generation of environmentally-conscious individuals.

Ways to Recycle at Home

Setting up a Recycling System

Identifying Recyclable Items

The first step in recycling at home is to identify which items can be recycled. Familiarize yourself with the recycling guidelines in your area to ensure you’re recycling the correct materials.

Sorting and Separating Recyclables

Once you know what can be recycled, set up bins or containers for each type of recyclable item. This will make it easier to sort and separate your recyclables, ensuring they are properly recycled.

Creative Ways to Reuse Old Items

Repurposing Glass Jars and Bottles

Instead of recycling glass jars and bottles, consider repurposing them. Glass jars can be used for storage or as vases, while glass bottles can be turned into unique decorative items.

Upcycling Old Clothing

Old clothing that is no longer wearable can still have a second life. Get creative and repurpose old clothes into new items like pillows, quilts, or reusable shopping bags.

Using Cardboard for Crafts

Cardboard boxes and packaging can be transformed into fun crafts and DIY projects. From building forts to creating organizers, cardboard is a versatile material that can be repurposed in various ways.

Examples of Products Made from Recycled Materials

Paper and Cardboard

Recycled Paper Products

Recycled paper can be used to create a wide range of products, including stationery, notebooks, and even toilet paper. By purchasing these products, we support the recycling industry and help close the loop on the paper recycling process.

Cardboard Furniture

Cardboard furniture is becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable and affordable alternative to traditional furniture. These innovative designs show that recycled materials can be both functional and stylish.


Recycled Plastic Bottles Turned into Clothing

Recycled plastic bottles can be transformed into polyester fabric, which is used to make clothing, including sportswear and outdoor gear. By choosing clothing made from recycled materials, we reduce the demand for new plastic production.

Plastic Lumber for Outdoor Furniture

Recycled plastic can also be used to create durable lumber, which is then used to make outdoor furniture. This not only reduces waste but also prevents the need for cutting down trees for lumber.


Aluminum Cans Turned into New Cans

Recycled aluminum cans can be melted down and used to create new cans, creating a closed-loop recycling system. This saves energy and reduces the need for mining new aluminum.

Steel and Tin Cans Used in Construction Materials

Recycled steel and tin cans can be used in the production of construction materials, such as beams and reinforcement bars. This reduces the need for mining new metals and helps conserve resources.

Items That Cannot be Recycled

Hazardous Materials


Batteries contain toxic chemicals and should not be thrown in the trash or recycling bin. Many stores and recycling centers have designated drop-off locations for battery recycling.

Paints and Solvents

Paints and solvents are considered hazardous materials and should not be disposed of in regular trash or recycling. Look for local recycling programs or events that accept these items.


Styrofoam, also known as expanded polystyrene, is not typically accepted in curbside recycling programs. However, some specialty recycling centers may accept it. Check with your local recycling facilities for more information.

Certain Types of Plastic

While many types of plastic can be recycled, not all are accepted in curbside recycling programs. Check the recycling guidelines in your area to determine which types of plastic can be recycled locally.

How to Recycle Old Things at Home

Research Local Recycling Programs

Start by researching the recycling options available in your area. Check with your local municipality or recycling center to understand what materials they accept and where you can drop them off.

Donate or Sell Usable Items

If you have old items that are still in good condition but no longer needed, consider donating or selling them. This not only keeps them out of the landfill but also gives them a chance to be used by someone else.

Repurpose or Upcycle Items

Get creative and find new uses for old items. Whether it’s turning glass jars into candle holders or repurposing old furniture, giving old items a new purpose extends their lifespan and reduces waste.


Recycling at home is a simple yet effective way to reduce waste and protect the environment. By recycling common household items like paper, glass, plastic, metal, electronics, and textiles, we can conserve resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Incorporating recycling into our daily lives at home and in schools not only helps the environment but also teaches future generations the importance of caring for the planet. So, let’s take action and start recycling those old unused items today!

Question 1: What household items can be recycled?
Answer: Common household items that can be recycled include paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, and plastic containers.

Question 2: How do you recycle old things at home?
Answer: To recycle old things at home, separate recyclable items from non-recyclable ones, clean and dry the recyclables, and place them in designated recycling bins or take them to a nearby recycling center.

Question 3: What is the easiest thing to recycle at home?
Answer: Paper is often considered the easiest thing to recycle at home as it can be easily sorted, cleaned, and processed into new paper products.

Question 4: Which of the following materials can be recycled at home?
Answer: Paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, and some types of plastic containers can be recycled at home.


About the author 

Jason Farland