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Miscellaneous Recycling Ideas

Have a Lot of Stuff?

Have old eyeglasses and other items that you thought you could never get rid of?

Shop at and hold your own garage sales.  They are a great way to promote the reuse of items.

Join the freecycle.com network (http://www.freecycle.org/).  This site allows you to give and get FREE STUFF.

Reuse ordinary items in creative ways!

-       Yogurt containers

o     Can be used as small pots for gardening

o     Fill them with juice and freeze them to make popsicles

-       Plastic water bottles

o     Wash and reuse them several times. Fill them with tap water, or invest in a water filtration device, such as a BRITA instead of buying packs of bottled water.

o     When you do decide you are finished with a bottle, rinse it out, flatten it, throw the cap away, and recycle the bottle.

-       Cardboard boxes

o     Fold and store them if you have room, they will come in handy when you pack up at the end of the year

o     If you are relatively far from the recycling bins, use a cardboard box for a recycling receptacle in your room, so you are more likely to recycle

-       Magazines

o     If you are feeling creative, and have a dull, bare dorm room, try making a collage!

o     Lots of places with waiting rooms, such as doctors and dentists’ offices would welcome magazine donations

-       Shoes

o     If your heels start to get worn down, go to a cobbler rather than throwing them away (Galtelli’s Shoe Service is just minutes away from Rhodes)

o     Donate pairs you grow out of to consignment shops like the Discount Veterans or Salvation Army

-       Plastic Bags (between 500 billion to 1 trillion are consumed worldwide each year)

o     Reduce waste and keep your food ripe longer! Apples keep longer if placed in the fridge in loosely tied plastic bags

o     Use as trash liners rather than buying trash bags

o     Be creative, knit with them, make tote bags, raincoats, and jewelry with them!http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2007/08/plastic_bag_crafts.html

Got a Jar?


There are tons of ways to reuse those Jelly jars, pickle jars, pasta jars, salsa jars, cheese dip jars, sauerkraut jars, mustard jars, any jar you can imagine. Here are some ways how:


 ***Decorate a jar with cardboard, bottle caps, can tops, some felt, and perhaps a cotton ball to make a jar circus of fuzzy critters. Fill it with candy and wrap it up to give as a christmas gift. 

  ***Fill a jar with coffee beans, and snugly fit a candle into the center as a centerpiece or a secret santa gift.




Trash or Treasures?


Do you have clothes falling out of your closet? 

Still have that old appliance you know you're never going to use?

How about those last season shoes you'll never wear again?


Virtually all the resources flowing through the materials economy eventually end up as waste to be disposed somewhere, usually dumped or burned or recovered for recycling. As the volume and toxicity of waste grows, recycling can't solve the whole problem. To learn more about what you can do as a consumer, a worker, and/or simply a member of the global environment, check out The Story of Stuff, and the helpful tips included in the site: http://www.storyofstuff.com/


Skip the trip to the mall, and try opening the doors to some awesome thrift stores! Memphis has a cornucopia of second-hand shops, thrift stores, and consignment boutiques.  Here is a list of the most popular thrift stores in the Memphis area.  You can shop 'til you drop, or drop off some unwanted clothes, furniture, books, toys, or miscellaneous items while you're there.


Disabled American Veterans: (901) 797-9995 3440 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38112

Thrift Citi: (901) 458-7154 3382 Summer Ave. Memphis, TN 38122

Goodwill: (901) 458-6610 574 S Highland St. Memphis, TN 38111

Salvation Army: (901) 525-6676 130 N Danny Thomas Blvd, Memphis; (901) 543-8586 696 Jackson Ave, Memphis  

Repeat Boutique: (901) 327-4777 3586 Summer Ave. Memphis, TN 38122

  • Want to keep wearing and just Revamp Your Old Clothes? If you are not ready to part with something just yet, but there is a tear or stain in your clothes, it does not mean that it is completely unsalvageable. Either mend it yourself or have someone do it. If you do not mind, you could apply patches or appliqués to the damaged spot of the garment.
  • Tired of wearing your old clothes, but still love the patterns? You can make Functional Pieces for your Home such as pillows as well as making your home more energy efficient.
    • In order to make a pillow, you will need the following: old clothes (preferably t-shirts, skirts and dresses), a needle, and thread. Though it is not as energy efficient, you can use a sewing machine. You will need to cut out a front and back piece in whatever shape desired from the clothes in order to make the pillow, so make sure that the pieces you cut out are the same size. Place the two pieces of fabric together with good/right side (the side you eventually will want on the outside of the pillow) of the fabric inside and stitch up around the edges, but leave a 3 - 4 inch opening for stuffing. After stitching, turn the pillow right side out. Then you will stuff the pillow with shreds of old clothing instead of synthetic stuffing. Finally sew up the opening. Now you have a fun way to dress up your space. Click HERE to see more ways to dress up your space.
    • Check out how to make your home more energy efficient with a "Draft Catcher"
  • When making Future Purchases, think about buying quality pieces that will last you a long time and are timeless in style instead of cheaper made goods that are trendy and tear easily. That way there is less material going to waste, and it is a way to save money in the long run.


            Do Something Useful With Old Athletic Shoes 

*It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unworn shoes lying in their closets* - (http://www.soles4souls.org)

Instead of this large amount of shoes going to landfills, we can recycle shoes for greater purposes

Ø  Pass them onto a shoe recycling center that donates locally or to other countries where people are in need of this necessity

o   Programs include:

§  Soles4Souls 

§  Shoes for Africa

§  Helping Hands Shoe Bank

§  Running Wild

Ø  Donate them to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program, where shoes are recycled into material called Nike Grind

o   this material is used to create playground and athletic surfaces

o   only athletic shoes can be recycled (no metals or spikes) where the rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the upper shoe are all recycled

o   if no Nike location is nearby, you can mail in your shoes

o   for more information, visit http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/how-it-works/faq


Participate in the Donate-A-Shoe Program at Breakaway Running Athletics Store in Midtown Memphis (1997 Union Avenue)

o   these shoes go towards local charity organizations including Idlewild Presbyterian's "More Than a Meal" program, First Presbyterian Church's Clothes Closet and Memphis Leadership Foundation's "Refugee Empowerment" program

o   the store offers a $10 discount on a new pair to each individual who donates a pair of shoes

o   shoes should have following: not be more than 500 miles worn in, no large holes. intact shoelaces, not excessively dirty

o   for more information about this project, read this article http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/nov/14/easier-streets


          Are You An Avid Reader?                                  
There are multiple ways to reduce MONEY and PAPER consumption!

Trade books online (good option for those who especially like to own personal copies of books) :

Utilize these websites:  PaperBackSwap.com,  Bookmooch.com, Titletrader.com, or Bookins.com 

v No membership fee

v First three sites only make you pay for postage on books being sent

v The last site only makes you pay for books you received - so if you have a lot of books you want to give away, you don’t have to pay for all the postage J

v  Earn credit points for each time you swap books and use them to redeem books

v  You can do a “pay-it-forward approach” at bookcrossing.com, where you post online what public place (i.e. coffee shop, park bench) you are leaving a book so someone else can pick it up

Go Electronic:

v Purchase a portable eBook reader

v Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page , lets you read free online books with over 25,000 title selections

v To save paper, try audio books


v Start using your library card

v Go to used bookstores and thrift stores

                  Be Creative With Old CD/DVDs!

Unfortunately, Memphis does not have any cd recycling centers.  Consequently, an increased number of cds are thrown away and eventually end up in landfills or incinerated (causing air pollution).  Until a recycling system gets implemented, we could use some creative ideas and do something neat with them! The following are some suggestions:

Ø  Make coasters out of them! Just decorate them with miscellaneous materials  (i.e. felt, magazine clippings) and paint.

ü  Use rubber bumpers on bottom to make them less slippery

ü  Go to  http://www.wikihow.com/Design-a-CD-Coaster for

more suggestions and tips


Ø  Make a fun clock! Just decorate, add numbers, and add clockworks.

ü  Go to  http://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-CD-Clock/ for exact details of putting one together.





Ø  Need a key, bracelet, rubber band, or even a headphone holder? Use the 50 cd pack spindle holder that holds the cds. Only other supply you need is a lot of double sided tape.

                         ü Decorate the outer region for aesthetic appeal. 

ü  Refer to  http://www.instructables.com/id/headphone-holder/ 





Ø  Do your parents have fruit trees in their backyard? Hang cds from the tree to keep birds from eating your precious fruit!














Ø  Need to practice your rifle shooting skills?  Apparently, one internet user claims that cds are good for shooting targets instead of using clay targets.


Ø  Have a small paint project but don’t know where to put the paint? Use an old cd to put small amounts of paint on! 


Ø  For other ideas, go to http://www.internetfamilyfun.com/recyclecds.htm.


When compacts discs are placed in the trash, it is harmful to the environment. When discs are recycled properly, it will help stop unnecessary pollution, conserve natural resources, and slow global warming.  The plastic used in compact discs can be recycled into other everyday items, including household products, building materials, and auto parts.” 

                                                                                        spokesman from cdrecyclingcenter.org