10 No-Excuses Kitchen Items to Recycle

Photo: Chris Atchwell.

Today is America Recycles Day. It’s a nationally recognized day “dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States.” As Americans have started to realize the importance of recycling instead of trashing so much of their waste, the resources for recycling have become easier to find.

Here are 10 items in your kitchen that are easy to recycle. Many of them can be recycled as close as the curb. Others might warrant a trip to a recycling center, but one should be easy to find.

Glass Bottles

Unlike plastic bottles that don’t get recycled to create other plastic bottles, glass bottles can be recycled back into glass bottles. It’s the most common material collected in most curbside recycling programs and apartment complexes.

Aluminum and Steel Cans 

Soda and soup cans are also common in most community curbside programs. If your community does not collect them, recycling centers are usually easy to find. Go to Earth911 to find recycling centers for cans (and almost anything else) near you.

#1 & #2 Plastic Containers

If your community recycling program accepts plastics, chances are they are the ones with the numbers 1 & 2 on the bottom. These are the two most common plastics recycled. Contact your municipality to find out exactly what plastics they accept. If they don’t accept any plastics, again, Earth911 is a great resource for finding a center nearby that will.

Plastic Grocery Bags

Here’s an item that would have been difficult to recycle five years ago, but now most grocery stores have bins where you can bring back the bags for recycling. If you don’t reuse plastic grocery bags, make sure they get recycled.

Cereal and Other Food Boxes

In the past, if your community had a paper recycling program, often food boxes were not included because of waxy coatings. Most programs now accept these types of boxes. Check with your municipality to see if these boxes are now acceptable. If they are, you no longer have any reason to throw them in the trash.

Cereal Box Liners

Those plastic liners that come inside cereal, baking mix and cracker boxes are made from #2 plastic and many communities accept them in their curbside recycling. But before you throw them in with your glass and plastic, think about reusing cereal box liners. They are great for cutting up and placing between formed burger patties in the freezer or placing dipped chocolate-covered strawberries on. It will save you money on buying waxed paper, and you can still recycle them when you’re done.

Bread Ends

Don’t throw out your bread ends. From making fresh breadcrumbs to keeping homemade cookies fresh, there are many uses for bread ends.

Aluminum Foil

Many people don’t realize it, but aluminum foil is just as recyclable as aluminum cans and most often can be placed in the recycling bin.

Kitchen Electronics

Under -the-cabinet radios and TV sets can be recycled just like any other electronic item. To find an e-recycling center near you, check out E-cycling Central.

Old Appliances

If you’re simply upgrading and your original appliance still works, someone will probably want it. You can place an ad on Craigslist to sell it or offer it on Freecycle. If the appliance is beyond repair, contact your municipality to find out where to take it for recycling. Many municipalities offer curbside pick-up as long as you contact them in advance. If your municipality is no help, check out Steel Recycling Institutes searchable Steel Recycling Locator. Most appliances are made of steel.