Global warming and its environmental impact have served to highlight other systemic perils — including rampant use of disposable plastics, paper goods and more. But while you are more likely today than before to keep recycling bins in your home full of old soda cans, newspapers, magazines and plastic bags, many people don’t realize tires, textiles, vehicles, technology, and vision and hearing aids are items you can recycle.
Tires have a longer useful life than most people realize. If you have fond memories of the tire swing in your childhood backyard, you have already thought of one. As well, artisans are now making tote bags, jewelry and purses out of recycled tires. There are also companies that specialize in “tire retreading,” a process that literally makes a new tire out of an old tire. Tires that have been retreaded may be used for consumer, commercial and military vehicles. But perhaps the best news is some of these retreading companies will pay consumers who collect and turn in used tires.
Wool and Other Textiles
Wool is one of the most versatile textiles on the planet ¬— and also represents one of the oldest industries on the planet. Wool has many natural benefits most people are not aware of. Wool is fire retardant, moisture retardant, non-allergic, and resistant to mildew and mold. Because wool is also so durable, many wool garments (such as sweaters and gloves) can be unraveled, rewound and reused for knitting, weaving and other projects. Recycled wool is also being used for car and building insulation, mattress production, furniture pads, piano-key felts and speaker cones. Other recyclable textiles include cotton, jute, sisal, burlap and nylon.
Recycled boats, cars, trucks, RVs, yachts, Jet Skis and other vehicles are always in great demand. There are a number of charitable organizations that take in unwanted or unneeded vehicles in all conditions. These vehicles may be reconditioned, sold for parts, auctioned for profit and used for other purposes. Often the proceeds from these donations go to benefit children or high-risk youth, individuals in the prison system, struggling families and other charitable causes. The biggest perk from donating a vehicle is often not even the tax write-off, but the space savings your donation provides for you and your family.
Technology today is changing so fast that today’s hot-ticket gadget may be tomorrow’s old news. For technophiles particularly, the temptation to keep up with technology’s continual advances can result in a growing pile of discarded cellphones, computers, speakers, earphones and Bluetooth accessories. However, in many places around the world — and even some places here in the United States — there are still people who do not have the means to obtain a cell phone or computer. As such, charitable organizations are always grateful for technological donations, which may be used to run after-school tutoring programs, help the unemployed look for jobs, teach single moms computer skills or add computer training to a school’s curriculum.
Vision and Hearing Aids
You may not think your old prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and hearing aids can benefit someone in need, but frames frequently are the most expensive part of a pair of glasses. Charitable organizations are eager to acquire these valuable aids to refurbish them and gift them to a needy individual. It actually costs little to recycle a pair of glasses or a hearing aid before the item can be reused. Just by clearing out your supply of old vision and hearing aids that you don’t use anymore, you can bring new hearing and sight into another person’s life — and free up your space as well.
By recycling unwanted tires, textiles, vehicles, technology, glasses and hearing aids, you reduce your carbon footprint, ease the strain on the environment and help others. A simple Internet search will help you find recycling facilities in your local area, and many local and national online options as well.
Image by DavidMaisel from Wikimedia
Helen Schwartz is a contributing writer who is passionate about conservation and recycling.