6 Recycling Strategies That Are So Wacky They Just Might Work


Once our garbage is touted from the curb it tends to be out of sight, out of mind. But all that trash adds up and our footprint is quite large. Every American wastes or causes an estimated one million pounds of material, from carpet to package peanuts, in addition to 28 billion pounds of food and 710 billion pounds of hazardous waste.

Conventional recycling programs help lessen some of that impact but you can actively lower the amount of garbage to be managed. From turning aluminum pop cans into a solar heater to wearing recycled plastic bottle earrings their are many crazy recycling ideas that could just save the planet.

1. Beautiful bottles

Wine cork boards have long been a popular do-it-yourself activity and now wine bottles are having their time in the spotlight. They can be turned into everything from wall art to lighting fixtures.

Each week, Americans throws away enough glass to fill a 1,350-foot building and recycling just one bottle will save enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.

Join other Etsy sellers hip on wine-bottle refurbishing and you could make a little money, too.

2. Comfy, cozy trash

Don't take out the trash, sit on it! Nick DeMarco designed the XS Chair (or trash chair) as a California College of the Arts student using a buyer's own garbage and was featured ICFF's Sustainable Design for Mass Production exhibit series in New York.

Create your own trendy and Eco-friendly furniture using the plastic, zippered bags you get with new comforter sets and fill them with your own garbage. 

3. From cereal box to sorter

Love your morning bowl of cereal but don't dig the cardboard waste? The boxes, when wrapped in fabric remnants and then glued together make awesome paper sorters.

Create several and organize your home and office! The planet and your wallet will thank you.

4. Tie it up

Instead of throwing old ties away why not sew them into something wearable? The long, sleek lines are perfect for a slimming and funky, yet elegant, dress.

5. Handy dandy phone books

If you're like me, several phone books are delivered to your home every year. In Minnesota alone, 13,000 tons of phone books were distributed in 2006.

You can help keep that tonnage out of the trash by turning phone books into everything from funky office organizers or even building a home. Utilize Google Translate and see even more ideas here.

6. Fashionable flip flops

Summer beckons and that means flip-flop season is upon us! Buoyed by being cheap, as well as our fondness for casual clothing, some 20 million pairs are sold annually.

Instead of throwing old flip-flops away they can easily be refashioned and worn again or turned into art, keeping tons of plastic out of landfills.