From a very early age, we are told about how we can help save the environment by recycling. As science and creativity continue to work together, there are new recycling techniques people discover each year. Here are the seven things you didn’t know you can recycle, and everyone who cares about the future of this planet should get familiar with them.

Wine corks – your kids and your plants will love them

These peculiar little cylinders only have one purpose – to preserve the quality of wine in the bottles they are sealing. But once you remove the cork from a bottle, there are many better things to do with it than simply throwing it away. First of all, many organizations collect corks and repurpose them. Another exciting way to use your wine corks is as plant compost. Just chop them down into smaller pieces and mix them with other compost ingredients. The corks that are made of natural materials have certain bacteria and agents that promote fermentation in them. All these are highly beneficial for the plants, and the composting process will proceed smoothly.

Another way to recycle wine corks is to use them to produce art. Creative people tend to prefer unique DIY decorative items to the classic ones you can find in stores. If you are one of them, you can use corks together with other stuff to make some truly unique pieces. Also, there’s a famous cork boat kids adore. Take three corks and join them together with glue or an elastic band. Cut two sail-shaped pieces of paper or cards and stick them onto the front and back parts of the corks with a bit of a cocktail stick. And, there you go! You enjoyed your wine, and now your kid gets to play with the corks. The beauty of recycling!

A collection of wine corks spilling from a glass wine bottle that has been toppled over.

Wine corks have a surprising array of uses after they are extracted from a bottle.

Save cardboard boxes after your move is done

It turns out that there are many benefits for those who reuse moving boxes after the move. You can use them later on to keep your kids’ occupied while you set up your new home. Just give them a couple of markers and some stickers, and voila – hours of endless fun! 

Another way to use them is as dividers for your drawers and open shelves. Finally, once you have used them to their fullest, you can take them to a cardboard recycling center.

A dog in a cardboard box.

Cardboard boxes can be reused many times.

Athletic shoes must be one of the things you didn’t know you can recycle

When practicing a sport, it is of utmost importance to have appropriate shoes for it so you wouldn’t hurt yourself. But getting a new pair of sneakers doesn’t mean your old ones should end up in the trash. There are lots of programs out there that take old athletic shoes for recycling. Also, some organizations refurbish used athletic shoes and give them to the less fortunate that need them. 

But before you give them away, consider whether you can repurpose them for your needs. There are all sorts of works that tend to be a bit dirty for which you could use an old pair of shoes. Those are painting, cutting grass, and other forms of gardening or the plain old dog walking along the wet roads after the rain. Those old shoes of yours probably served you well, so give them a chance for a second life, and you will be saving the environment along the way.

Introduce your children to recycling by using crayons

Here’s a fun recycling activity and a great way to teach your kids about sustainability. After using them for a while, crayons become so short it becomes difficult for the child to hold them. You can very easily recycle them into full-length ones at home by doing the following:

  • Remove their paper wrappers.
  • Put them into containers that are heat resistant. Each container should contain crayons of a single color.
  • Heat your oven to 250 – 300°F and put the containers inside until the crayons turn into soup.
  • Pour the crayon soup into tempered molds and let them harden.

This process will be both educational and entertaining for your kids, and you will get to spend some good quality time with them.

A collection of crayons of various colors.

Crayons may be one of the things you didn’t know you can recycle.

Eyeglasses and eyewear can be useful longer than you think

Ah, the lifesavers for all of us without the perfect sight. But eyeglasses are probably one of the things you didn’t know you can recycle, right? They are recyclable for two reasons. First, they are usually made of plastic, glass, and metal – all easily recyclable stuff. Some eyewear is made of wood that is also recyclable. On the other hand, the glasses’ lenses can easily be replaced with new ones, so they can be donated or reused very easily. If you are running on a tight budget, this is an accessory you can save on by installing brand-new lenses on your old eyeglass frame.

Toothbrushes can go back to where they came from

In recent years, dental supplies companies have developed programs for recycling their products. All you need to do is mail them your old toothbrushes and paste tubes, and they will do the rest. Some dentists have similar programs, so you can ask yours for information. Of course, you can always recycle your toothbrush according to the material it is made of. Not sure how? Please consult your local recycling center about this matter; they will likely be interested in recycling it for you.

Human hair waste can be toxic or beneficial – it’s up to us

First, it is essential to highlight that hair waste, which usually comes from hair and beauty salons, can harm the environment in many ways. To name a few, it can end up polluting water, or when it is inside a bag without oxygen, it produces methane gas. But luckily, some brilliant people have come up with ways to recycle human hair waste and make it beneficial instead of toxic. Among other things, human hair can become a fertilizer as well as a pest repellent. Also, human hair contains valuable amino acids experts can extract and use to produce pharmaceuticals. Speaking of medicine-related topics, because of its incredible strength, we can use human hair for sutures in surgeries. There is evidence that this practice goes back to the Middle Ages.  

Final thoughts

As you can see, in the case of these seven things you didn’t know you can recycle, they will help save the planet, and recycling them is fun too. Some of these recycling practices also save you money. So, since they are both economical and eco-friendly, there is every reason for you to try them.