Recycling Things Without Recycling Symbol: 6 Helpful Tips

Recycling Things Without Recycling Symbol

Having the recycling symbols helps when sorting out things to recycle. The items that indicate the symbol can head to the recycling plant. But, not all items I use at home come bearing the global recycling symbols. 

Can I recycle things without the recycling symbol?

It’s possible to recycle things that don’t bear the recycling symbol. But, most recycling plants won’t accept them, for they might have questionable materials. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with creative ways to repurpose the items at home. 

In this article, we get to check out some helpful tips when recycling things without the recycling symbol. 

Which Things Lack the Recycling Symbol?

I use things at home that can’t end up in the recycling bin. The reason is these items don’t bear the international recycling symbol. But that doesn’t mean I can’t reuse or repurpose them at home. 

Some of the items to look out for include:

  • Items tainted by food like plastic cups, plates, forks, and knives
  • Wax boxes
  • Light bulbs
  • Plastic toys
  • Sporting items
  • Medical waste
  • Plastic wrap
  • Garden tools
  • Egg cartons
  • Ceramics
  • Kitchenware
  • Styrofoam
  • Bubble wrap
  • Shredded Paper

I can find all these items in my home or at the office. Instead of throwing them in the bin to end up in a landfill, it’s better to reuse or repurpose them when possible. 

Why Can’t Things Without the Recycling Symbol End Up at the Recycling Plant?

When I try to take items that lack the recycling symbol to the recycling plant, I’m often turned away. I’ve learned these items don’t fit the criteria they require. Plus, they have many questionable properties. For instance, wax boxes have a sticky texture that can clog the machines at the plant. 

For such items, it’s better to repurpose or reuse them. Having too many questionable ingredients makes it difficult to add even some form of plastic to recycling waste. Each item fit for the recycling plant has the chasing arrows and a special number inside them. 

The number is what tells the real story. It tells which type of plastic it is and where it’s headed in the recycling process. When different things lack such clear guidelines, it’s better to reuse or repurpose them in other ways.

6 Helpful Tips on Recycling Things without the Recycling Symbol

1. Have a Reuse Station

Not every item in my home ends up in the recycling bin. Recycling plants only accept those bearing the recycling symbol. So, what happens to those plastic items that don’t have the symbol. Or things like Styrofoam and bubble wrap?

I had a light bulb moment and came up with a start a reuse station at home and in my place of business. Here, you can develop creative ways to repurpose the different items. Another positive for such a station is that it makes it easier to sort out the things I must reuse or repurpose. 

A reuse station can be a desk, shelf, cupboard, or even an entire room when you have different things. After sorting things out, you can develop creative ways to recycle them. 

2. Donate Different Things

In some communities, they come together to create a reuse station. Some go as far as having social media pages for recycling. Most of the items that make it to the platforms lack the recycling symbol. 

The best way to ensure they don’t end up in landfills is to donate them. Perhaps you have some broken plastic chairs that you don’t want to throw away. It’s possible someone else can repurpose them, so you put them on display as donations. 

Donating these items stops filling your space and won’t be part of the massive landfills. Donations also lead to great ideas on how to reuse these different things. 

3. Reuse Waxed Carboards

Think of items in your home like juice boxes. Most are made using waxed cardboards that are shiny inside. The purpose of the inner gloss is to prevent the cardboard from getting soggy. Unfortunately, most recycling plants won’t accept these as part of recycling things. 

So, what becomes of all those juice boxes you have at home. It’s better to come up with creative ways to recycle them. For instance, I’ve made some amazing germination stations for seeds before spring. Plus, the bigger ones make the best planters for my plants and flowers. 

In addition, I’ve turned wax cardboards into items like coasters or placemats. The shiny inner layer is quite appealing, plus it will prevent any spillage from getting on my table. 

4. Keep Electronics Aside

Find out if the electronic manufacturers in your area have a buy-back policy. That means you can take old phones, TVs, and appliances to the companies. The buy-back policy is to reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills. 

You also get a little bit of cash that you can use in different ways. Start by checking if the company has a buy-back policy, then see where the drop-off stations are located. 

Also, you can keep these items by the road. Anyone who passes by and wants to get an old radio or kitchen appliance can do so. 

5. Reuse or Repurpose Plastic Toys

There are some plastic toys that you can recycle. But, this will require taking apart the different parts. However, not all carry the recycling symbol, which means you must reuse or repurpose. This becomes quite a challenge when you have a mountain of old toys at home. 

The good news is that you can do different things with old toys. Start by sorting those in good condition and those wholly worn out. All toys that are in good condition can go to a new home. Think of a children’s home or a friend with a new baby. Rehoming the toys helps keep them out of landfills. 

Another option for old toys is holding a toy yard sale. Or you can go to the small market in your area and put them on display. When you sell them, you get a little cash in your pockets. 

6. Repurpose Shredded Paper

Does your office produce a large amount of shredded paper each week? Unfortunately, it’s not possible to send this to the recycling company. The best thing is to reuse or repurpose the shredded paper in other creative ways. 

Since shredded paper is small, it can work wonders for your garden. I find it quite easy to use this since it easily breaks down after a certain duration. Also, you can add the paper to your compost. But, be alert to the type of paper in the shredding bin and pick only the biodegradable kind. 

It means to steer clear of any paper with too much color or gloss. Such paper takes too long to break down and can cause complications in your garden. Shredded glossy paper is better for things like topping up gift-wrapping or creating a lovely collage. 

In Conclusion

Not everything I use at home or in the office can end up in a recycling plant. Such things don’t bear the recycling symbol, so it’s better to reuse or repurpose them. The good news is there are different ways you can reuse or repurpose these items. 

In this article are some helpful tips to help us out. Following these tips will help us play our role in saving and safeguarding the environment.


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