Surprisingly Recyclable

By: Malena Esposito

4.6 pounds. How much is 4.6 pounds, really? 4.6 pounds is equivalent to about 194 baby carrots, 8 cups of peanut butter, 15 iPhone 7s, and 140 pairs of sunglasses. 4.6 pounds is equivalent to the amount of trash every single person on Earth generates per day. That adds up to 230 million tons (460,000,000,000 pounds) per year. To put into perspective, that’s equivalent to 86,700,000,000 pounds of baby carrots, 808,730,582 cups of peanut butter, 139,840,000 iPhone 7s, and 15,180,000 pairs of sunglasses. That’s a lot of trash. So what can we do to reduce our waste? The most common is recycling.

When we think of recycling, we largely think of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and cardboard boxes, but there’s so much more that can be reused. How about the big cushiony rectangle lying in your room? Although in use for years at a time, as it turns out, mattresses can be recycled. Mattress recycling factories use special saws to deconstruct the parts, enabling wood to be chipped, springs to be magnetically removed, and cloth and foam to be shredded.

Have an old coffin sitting around? Well now, you can put some use to it, thanks to coffin couches! Some bodies must be transported from one casket to another, and due to contamination, the original can’t be used again. A coffin couch has a lid, a cleaned and refurbished interior, and added legs, making for a nice add-on in your living space.

Or what about all those awards from fifth grade rusting away in your closet? In addition to selling plaques, medals, engravings, trophies and sculptures, Lamb Awards started a program to keep old victories out of landfills. Just email them at before sending in awards. From there, pieces are donated to charity or broken down into reusable parts.

Outgrew coloring but still have old crayons laying around? Services like Crazy Crayons, The Crayon Initiative, and Crayon Collection all work to reuse old crayons, keeping them out of landfills. By donating crayons from restaurants or around your house, they will provide purpose once more to children’s hospitals and schools.

How about Christmas lights? Many unbroken and unwanted lights are simply being tossed in the trash, but the Christmas Light Source is pushing to reduce the amount by recycling the plastic, copper, and glass parts. Through this year-round program, you can recycle Christmas lights by sending them to the Christmas Light Source Recycling Program at 4313 Elmwood Drive, Benbrook, TX 76116. All proceeds go to the DFW Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, as they get paid per pound of lights.

See how easy it is to recycle? Just by donating old household items, you’re helping to keep reusable items out of landfills. And this is only a small list; next time you’re faced with disposing a questionable item, do some research to find out if it really needs to go into the trash or not.