Tag Archives: recycle

Get paid for your trash!

Many of the items we use on a daily basis produce a large amount of waste.  Much of our trash comes from food and beverage containers.  You eat a bag of chips, and then that bag sits in a landfill for years.  Other common sources of trash include school and office supplies, small electronics, and shipping materials.  However, there are ways to actually make money from items that normally go straight into the trash.

Here are five types of items that you can get paid to get rid of in an environmentally friendly way.

1.        Food and beverage containers

Within the last few years, a new company known as TerraCycle has found a creative way to reuse candy wrappers, chip bags, beverage containers, and even wine corks.  They take in these types of trash and then turn them into useable products, such as school and office supplies.  The best part is, TerraCycle will pay you for your trash.  By registering your organization (usually a school, scout troop, or non-profit), you can begin to keep track of what you send to the company.  The price is usually $0.02 per piece of trash, but it all adds up to help produce less trash and raise money for local schools or charities.

For more information, visit http://www.terracycle.net


2.       Cardboard

Businesses that ship and receive lots of items end up with lots of boxes to deal with.  They can be recycled normally, but unfortunately such facilities are not always available, or easy to take your cardboard to.  For businesses with a large amount of cardboard, a web-based company will actually pay you for your used shipping boxes.  They require loads of at least 5,000 boxes, but they will work with the business to arrange pickups and payment.

For more information, visit http://www.usedcardboardboxes.com


3.       Appliances

If you have appliances that are still useable, they can always be donated to organizations such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Often, donating any items (not just appliances) can get you a tax write-off, so you save money at the end of the year.  But if they are broken, large appliances can be sold for scrap metal.  Contact your local junkyard or metal recycler for more information and prices.


4.       Ink Cartridges

Offices, schools, and even households can go through quite a number of ink cartridges in a year.  Not only are they costly to replace, they contain plastics and many chemicals that are best not thrown into a landfill.  Thankfully there are ways to get paid for your old ink and toner cartridges.  Some companies refill them and then sell the refurbished cartridges for cheaper than new ones.  Others recycle the entire cartridge.  A quick search online will bring you to many companies that will pay you anywhere from a few cents to several dollars per used ink cartridges.  Check to find a local company, or shop around to see which service fits your needs best.


5.       Sports Equipment

Spring is finally here, and soon we’ll all be heading to the track, field, court, or diamond on our days off and weekends.  If it’s time for a new racket or bat, some stores exist that will let you trade in old items for a discount on new ones.  The company Play It Again Sports has locations across the country, including right here in Southwest PA.

For old athletic shoes, Nike runs a program called Reuse-A-Shoe.  You can donate your old shoes, which will be ground up and used to back the rubber for running tracks, padding under tennis courts, and a variety of other uses.  Individuals and send their old shoes in to be recycled.  Local schools, gyms, and other groups looking for a new athletic surface can research how to get one made from recycled shoes.

For more information, visit http://www.playitagainsports.com

And for Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe, visit http://www.nikereuseashoe.com

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Filed under Creative re-use, how-to, recycle, Reduce, Resources, reuse

No more “paper or plastic?”

Check out this article from CNN about Mexico City banning the use of non-biodegradable bags throughout the city; one of a number of cities and countries (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Ireland) who have committed to lessening their environmental impact through less plastic consumption.

Read it here.

Think a similar ban could work in the Trail Towns? (Be sure to leave your thoughts below!)

Here are some other ways businesses reduce the use of plastic bags in their stores:

  • Ask – Before doling out a bag to everyone (especially those with just one or two items) ask if they need a bag before assuming they do. It might make them think twice about taking one!
  • Bag-share – Create a stock of reusable fabric bags that can be used at and returned to any participating businesses. Encourage volunteers to make and donate bags from old t-shirts and fabric scraps. (Inspired by a program by that name in Massachusetts; check out the link!)
  • Discount –  for folks who bring their own bags; the amount is up to you! (5-10% is average)
  • Raffle – enter customers who choose not to take a bag in a raffle each month.
  • Reuse – encourage repeat customers to bring bags back for recycling or re-use. (Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle already does this!)
  • Sell – offer reusable fabric bags at your register for a relatively low price. You could even have them printed with your logo or other information for free advertising!
  • Reduce – put more stuff  in less bags! A few less plastic bags is better than more.
  • Charge – a small fee for plastic bags may encourage customers to think twice about the impact of their use of plastic, especially if you explain why you’re doing it.
  • Paper – fabric bags are the best option, but paper bags are recyclable whereas most plastic is not and takes years to decompose. (Of course, they use more trees too, but less petroleum products.)
  • Donate – for everyone who chooses not to take a bag, donate 5 or 10 cents to the cause of your choice. (The impact on the customer is great if you grab the change out of your register right then and drop it in the donation jar.)

Go here for links to Even More creative ways to re-use plastic bags. (Including cushion covers and crocheting into purses.)

And find a wide array of articles from the New York Times archive about the plastic bag debate.

And while we’re on the subject, have you heard of the giant swirling mass of tiny plastic particles in the Pacific Ocean? (aka the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and the “Pacific Trash Vortex”.)  It’s estimated to be twice the size of Texas.  That’s reason enough to end the use of plastic bags right there! Read more here.

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