Recycling is big business, for the environment and you

People believe that bio-degradable material will do fine in a landfill and we don’t need to worry about the environmental impact. The fact is that virtually nothing in a landfill degrades because it’s meant to be kept dry and stable. A recent study by the Garbage Project showed that newspapers buried in landfills in the 1960’s were excavated to be found intact and readable!

recycling_symbol_1Recycling is not only environmentally responsible, it is the best bet for saving money by both the consumer and manufacturers. Unfortunately, knowing what can be recycled can be a bit confusing. Oddly enough, there are countless items made from recyclable products but which are not accepted by the recyclers due to process issues.

First, locate a reclamation center in your area. Most commercial refuse services, like Rumpke and Waste Management, offer some type of recycling program, complete with specially-marked containers. Municipal refuse disposal services also offer drop off times for specific items like electronics.

The triple rotating arrow logo is the most common symbol for recycling. It appears on products that can be recycled, such as paper, metal and plastic. It’s also seen on recycling containers of all kinds. Many items that are not recyclable can be repurposed. Here are some of the most common recyclables and symbols.

recycling_symbol_3Paper and Corrugated Cardboard – Nearly all paper products can be recycled including phone books, office paper, newspapers, magazines and drink boxes. Not every kind of corrugated packaging is recyclable, however, including any that may be coated with wax or some other water-resisting substance. Most recyclable corrugated material has this symbol. Also, most recycling centers will not accept hard-bound books, pizza boxes or frozen food boxes.


Glass – Clear, brown, green and blue glass food and beverage containers. As kids, many of us collected soda bottles and returned them to local grocery stores to collect the deposit. In some states, you can still get a deposit return on glass drink bottles, but not in Ohio.

recycling_symbol_1Plastic – There are 7 different types of recyclable plastics that carry this symbol. In some states, you can earn money for your plastic recycling of things like drinking bottles, but Ohio isn’t one of them. California and Hawaii are examples of states with paid plastic recycling programs. Plastic grocery bags are recyclable but not generally accepted for recycling for one reason: they tend to jam the recycler’s sorting machines.

recycling_symbol_2Aluminum – Next to heavy iron, aluminum is just about the only material you can actually sell to a recycler. Soda cans are the most prominent, but be ready to do some hard labor. Recycling stations pay by weight and takes around 30 empty soda cans to add up to one pound of recyclable aluminum.


Here are some other common items that you may be surprised to learn are recyclable:

Carpeting – You will need to find a carpet reclamation center near you, but a great deal of residential and commercial carpet is made of recyclable material.

CFL light bulbs – Mercury makes them difficult to dispose of, but Home Depot and IKEA, among others, now have CFL recycling programs. A quick Google search can help you locate a reclamation center.

Ink Jet Printer Cartridges – Companies like Staples and HP have recycling programs for ink cartridges, and some even pay. Online, you can sell your empty cartridges and toner containers for as much as $22 each at

Cell Phones – Kiosk vending machines in local discount stores allow you to sell your “not too old” phones for a few bucks back. You can also mail in your phone to companies like Waste Management to have them recycled. Be sure to remove all personal data from the phone beforehand.

Crayons  – 120,000 pound of Crayons are produced each day in America. National Crayon Recycling program will take them and keep them from the landfills.

Crocs – As with all plastics, Croc slippers are made from petroleum. Crocs Cares will take them and recycle the ‘holey’ footwear into new shoes for underprivileged families.

Packing Peanuts – Polystyrene packing peanuts do NOT biodegrade. Many shipping agencies like UPS and Mailboxes Etc. have drop off bins for your used packing peanuts or visit for other ideas.

Wine Corks – 850 million gallons of wine each year, Yemm & Hart or, will take your old corks and create new products from the cork material.

Here’s the television interview from WDTN-TV2’s “Living Dayton” program, Wednesday April 2.:

Other Recycling Resources:

Recycling drop-off information: Montgomery County:

Sell your scrap – aluminum, vehicles, scrap metal – (River Metals Recycling, LLC, Xenia, Ohio) :

Waste Management:

Rumpke Recycling – For your business:

Ink Jet Printer Cartridge Recycling – Staples –

Busted myths about plastic grocery bags: