North Americans throw away enough wood and paper every year to heat a minimum of 50 million homes for at least two decades. If that's not enough to make you want to green up, then our planet may be in trouble. If you're a recycle-conscious consumer, chances are you're always on the look out for new and better ways to go green. Everyone knows what to do with plastic, aluminum and cardboard boxes, but not everyone is aware of all the other common household items that are 100% recyclable.
Hair Don't toss those long locks. Take your head to a local salon that participates in the Locks of Love campaign. This charity makes wigs for children who suffer hair loss due to medical conditions like cancer. If you're looking to lose at least 10 inches of hair, Locks of Love can find a way to recycle it into a hairpiece for an ailing child.
Denim If your old jeans are in good shape, you can pass them on to a friend or neighbor in need when your kids outgrow perfectly good jeans or you can donate them to the local thrift store. But how do you get rid of jeans and jackets that have seen their best days? You recycle them, of course. Bonded Logic takes old, discarded jeans and turns them into Ultratouch Denim Insulation. It's a greener solution than fiberglass and much less itchy.
Wine corks Recork.org has been working tirelessly for years to recycle your cast-off wine corks into shoes and other up-cycled products. To date, Recork.org has managed to collect and repurpose roughly 43 million wine corks. So the next time you pop open the bubbly, remember to recycle the cork.
Crayons Who knew there was actually a place to send your broken, abused and cast-off crayon corpses to keep them out of landfills? Crazy Crayons is a national program aimed at doing just that. All they ask is that you leave the labels on and try to buy crayons made in America. So the next time you're de-cluttering the craft closet, toss the crayons in a box and ship them off to be recycled into new, pristine colors.
Appliances If it only stopped working, seriously consider having a repairman in to look at a major appliance. Sometimes the only thing standing between a leaking dishwasher or a flooded laundry room is something so simple as an o-ring seal. Parts like these are super-economical to replace. Tossing a huge, bulky appliance because one tiny seal went bad is costly, inconvenient and anything but eco-friendly.
Keys Metal is 100% recyclable. Every key that goes back for smelting helps the environment. Your investment in the future is double when you donate those old keys to Keys for Kindness, a non-profit organization set up to help MS research. The money earned by the organization when they sell the metal keys to recycling companies goes right back into research for finding a cure. You do have to pay your own shipping to send the keys on their merry way, but it's a small price to pay for helping out your planet.
Trophies Just because those old t-ball trophies are made of plastic instead of brass, it doesn't mean they don't have value. Donate them to a trophy-recycling program like Total Awards and Promotions. These companies can dissect and reuse the parts from defunct awards that they then donate to local non-profits.