5 Easy Ways to Recycle Toys, Plastic, and Clothes.

Please stop throwing away broken toys, random board game pieces, small unclaimed Lego pieces, a sock that never finds his match, plastic film, clothes, and textiles too worn and damaged to donate or other household items. Please recycle them so they don’t add to our landfill buildup. Now I know that most people do want to recycle but just don’t know how, where, or realize how many unusable items can actually be recycled. Well, here are 5 Easy Ways to Recycle Toys, Plastic, Clothes and More.

#1 For Toys:
This is a super easy way to do it without leaving the home and make it an act of recycling with your kids. Tom’s of Maine has partnered with the recycling experts at TerraCycle to create the #LessWasteChallenge toy recycling program.
4 Simple Steps:
1) Visit tomsofmaine.com/lesswaste.
2) Enter your contact information to receive a FREE UPS shipping label via email that can be printed at home.
3) Fill an old box with up to ten pounds of broken toys.
4) Attach the free shipping label to the box and drop it off at UPS.

Your broken toys will be sent directly to TerraCycle. This is also a great way to have some conversations about recycling within the family and how to take part in caring for the planet. “Knowing what to do with broken toys is a challenge because as parents we don’t want to be wasteful and throw them away. We want to show our kids there are better solutions,” says Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine.

#2 For Plastic, Electronics, Paper, Glass, Metal, All Household Items, Construction, Automotive, and More:
Earth 911 let’s you type in ANY item that you would like to recycle plus your zip code and they will give you recycling centers and options close to your home from bins to stores (which you will sometimes receive discounts in exchange), companies and non-profit organizations. I really LOVE Earth 911!!!

I really struggle with plastic. I’ve watched and cried over the videos of animals wrapped in plastic, straws being pulled out of turtles’ noses and coral reefs looking like landfills. Again, Earth 911, enter Plastic and your zip code to find out what sort of plastic and where you can recycle.
What our family started doing: At our local Central Market grocery store (owned by HEB), in Dallas, TX, we recycle our plastic film there because our Dallas recycle program does NOT recycle plastic film or plastic bags.

What is Plastic Film?
Produce bags (used for fruits/veggies)
Candy wrappers
Clear dry cleaning bags
Nonfrozen baked goods (used for rolls/bread)
Cereal box liners
Zip-Top Bags and Sandwich Bags
Industrial liners such as shipping sacks, film used to protect, bubble packaging, air pillows

One way to recycle clothes & textiles, or read #4 for other ideas! Photo credit Urban Woodswalker via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

#4 For Clothes and Textiles:
Click here to see how you can recycle and even get discounts for new clothes and shoes. There are several stores that will recycle worn clothes, any brand, in exchange for discounts on items in their store. Simple go to Earth 911, enter “clothes” and your zip code to try and find some stores near you. According to 5 Myths About Used Clothing: On average, Americans decide to get rid of about 70 pounds of textiles each year, with 85 percent of our old duds ending up in a landfill. That means we are collectively generating 14 million tons of clothing waste annually, and only 2 million tons are being donated, recycled, or reused.

#5 Take the #LessWasteChallenge pledge with your family:
Challenge your family to work together to reduce household waste by one pound a week. Take the pledge! There are also fun DIY projects to help everyone in the family get involved in reducing waste.

I used to be intimidated with recycling…Recycling in Germany.

Did you know you could be recycling so many household items? What about broken toys, plastic film or worn-torn clothes?

I used to be so intimidated with recycling. I even wrote a post, “Recycling in Germany is a Nightmare.” However, as my family has grown, I’ve started to realize the impact, NOT recycling extensively, will have on the future of my children.

Will you take the #LessWasteChallenge pledge along with our family? What recycling ideas can you add to this list?

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