Did you know that recycling goes way beyond soda cans and newspapers? In fact, you can recycle almost everything (except recycling plastic is challenging because not all of it can be recycled).1 If you can’t recycle something, you can most likely upcycle it by donating it and giving it a new home. It helps to know the best places to recycle items, how to find them, and what to do—such as cleaning and repairing—before you recycle an item.

Here’s a list of what you can recycle and how to properly recycle everything in your home, whether it’s tossing items into a recycle bin or giving them away for a second chance.


Ordinary batteries, such as regular alkaline, manganese, and carbon-zinc batteries are not typically considered hazardous waste, so you can throw them out in your regular trash. You can, and should, recycle any battery, however, because the components can be used to make many other items, especially metal products. It’s highly suggested that other common single-use or rechargeable batteries, such as lithium and button batteries, be recycled. Consider these sources for battery recycling:

Whole Foods stores allow you to drop off batteries, paper, and light bulbs into bins as part of its Green Mission Program.

Battery Solutions will accept bulk batteries for recycling through the mail.

Ikea stores also take batteries for recycling.

Best Buy has many recycling options for any tech-type battery, such as camera or gaming batteries.

Before You Recycle Batteries

State laws and regulations for proper battery disposal and recycling continue to evolve.


Here are some ways to recycle your used books:

Donate them.

Bring your books to Goodwill or another charity of your choice.

Offer your books to a local shelter.

Sell your books on Amazon or eBay.

Approach your local library and ask if they are accepting donations.

Make a “free books box” for a train or bus station (check first if it’s okay to leave the box) and place books there for anyone to take and enjoy.

Before You Recycle a Book

Make sure the book is fairly clean. You must remove bookmarks or any tiny pieces of paper and unfold any corners.

Lights and Bulbs

How and where to recycle lights largely depends on the type of light or bulb. Incandescent and LED bulbs can be thrown away in the trash, and not every recycling center takes them. Other types of bulbs may be considered hazardous due to traces of mercury within the bulb and must be carefully handled and recycled. Check with these sources for recycling solutions for your lights and bulbs.

Before You Recycle Lights

If you need to recycle CFLs, fluorescent bulbs, or other bulbs that may contain mercury, check the EPA’s site to see whether your state allows them to be put into the landfill. If you plan to take bulbs to a store for recycling that the EPA recommends, check first directly with the store to see if they are still taking bulbs and lights for recycling.