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Top 10 Odd Uses for Recycled Products

re·cy·cle (verb)

1. Convert (waste) into reusable material.

2. Return (material) to a previous stage in a cyclic process.

Benefits of Recycling

  • Recycling stimulates jobs and US competitiveness.
  • Recycling saves room in landfills and reduces incineration.
  • Recycling prevents pollution from production of products made from virgin materials.
  • Recycling saves energy.
  • Recycling decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.
  • Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations.

Hotel Soap Slivers

Have you ever heard of the organization called Clean the World? Well, it is a nonprofit organization that recycles and donates things to the needy. For example, the little slivers of soap and shampoo at the hotel that you leave in the shower are now being recycled by more and more hotel chains. Clean the World is dedicated to preventing millions of deaths caused by acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease by helping collect, recycle, and distribute the soap and shampoo products discarded by hotels daily. Clean the World has distributed 8.5 million bars of soap to more than 40 countries including Haiti, Mexico, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mali, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Albania, Armenia, and also to North American homeless shelters and missions.

Clean the World Hotel and Brand Partners:

  • 1,100+ hotels
  • 260,000+ hotel rooms daily
  • All 50 US States & Puerto Rico
  • 10 Canadian Provinces
  • Walt Disney World
  • Caesars Entertainment
  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Peninsula Hotels
  • Marriott, Hilton, IHG
  • Fairmont, Ritz, Starwood
  • Best Western, Choice
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Marriott Vacation Club

*The two biggest killers of children under the age of 5 can be greatly reduced by soap intervention.


A British company, Knowaste, has been recycling disposable diapers since 1999. Cloth diapers have always been recyclable, but very few Americans use those anymore. The average baby requires 6,000 disposable diapers before they are potty trained; therefore, it is a very good thing that the US has recently started recycling diapers. Knowaste became the UK’s first company in 2011 to recycle AHPs to handle 36,000 tons of material when it opened a treatment facility in West Bromwich.

Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHP) include:

  • Disposable nappies
  • Adult incontinence products (pads and pants)
  • feminine hygiene products

Knowaste technology processes AHPs and reclaims the valuable plastic and fibre to be recycled into products such as:

  • plastic components for product manufacturing
  • plastic recycling bins
  • composite materials replacing steel, wood and concrete
  • cardboard
  • cardboard industrial tubing
  • fillers in the construction and road building sector

Running Shoes

Most of us only have a few pairs of running shoes because we normally only use the same ones over and over. I know that as a runner I have my favorite pair, and all my other running shoes are at the very bottom of my shoe pile. Throughout my research I have found that even running shoes can be recycled into building materials! Or you can donate the ones that can still be worn to the less fortunate. This organization offers the first online recycling and donation directory that helps people find their local and the international shoe recycling program. Visit for more information.

Human Hair

We have all heard of Locks of Love, which is a nonprofit organization that recycles human hair into hairpieces for children under the age of 21 who are suffering from medical hair loss conditions in the United States and Canada. Locks of Love provides help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, helping them face the world and their peers. Children who qualify for these hairpieces have lost more than just their hair; they suffer from self-doubt. Many of these children have been embarrassed by all the attention they get because of the hair loss and they also get teased by their peers simply because they look a little different than everyone else. At locks of Love they believe that even though wearing a hairpiece isn’t the cure for the children, it helps restore some of the normalcy to their everyday lives that most people take for granted. Locks of Love’s goal is to help provide a foundation on which the children can begin to rebuild their self-esteem.

*To donate hair like this little girl did visit the Locks of Love website.


Bikes for the World is another great nonprofit organization that was founded in January 2005 and made its first independent shipment in February to Honduras. This organization puts unwanted bikes in the hands of people, like in third world countries, who would actually use them. Americans throw away 15 million bicycles a year, while there are people suffering to find transportation. That is why Bikes for the World is greatly appreciated by many who have been blessed with a bicycle from the great nonprofit organization. Visit their website to get rid of those bikes that are only taking up space in the backyard and make someone happy like the little girl below who received her very first bicycle from Bikes for the World.


Ninety percent of mattresses can be recycled into fiber for clothing, wood chips, foam products, and scrap metal. So the next time you decide to buy a new mattress, think about recycling the one you plan of getting rid of by simply asking your mattress retailer. Wouldn’t you sleep better knowing that the old mattress isn’t being taken to the landfill but instead getting recycled into neat things?

In the United States, according to Nationwide Mattress Recycling, almost 4.5 million mattresses and 4.5 million box springs are sent to the landfill or incinerator every year in the United States, amounting to 250 million pounds of mattress material. With an average mattress consuming 23 cubic feet of space in a landfill, and the threat of fire retardants leaching from them, there is increasing pressure from landfills to divert mattresses. At the same time, environmental initiatives by the mattress industry, retailers, institutions and the hospitality industry also are creating an increased demand for mattress recycling services. The good news is that mattresses are largely recyclable—over 95% on average according to one mattress recycler.

Adult Novelties

I bet you’ve never heard of being able to recycle those sex toys that you have hidden at the very bottom of your drawer! There is a business called The Folks at Sex Toy Recycling which does exactly what their name implies. Afraid your kids may one day find them and ask what they are for? You don’t want to have to tell them to not play with it because they don’t know where it’s been! This company will gladly receive any kind of toy as long as it has been cleaned/washed. Once they have safely arrived, the toys are dismantled and pieces are separated according to material—silicone, plastic, rubbers, metals—and then either recycled or eco-disposed. Every material finds a home!


In Japan, Isao Miyoshi recently opened a nonprofit organization to recycle the metals found in dentures and donates all the proceeds to UNICEF. Miyoshi runs a dental lab producing new dentures from molds and realized that there are old pairs of dentures that are being thrown way when they could actually be recycled to make new ones by separating the dentures from the metal clasps, and the metal is then recycled. Each set of dentures contain about $25 worth of precious metals, including gold and silver, and every year there are around 3.6 million sets of dentures manufactured in the world! There are people who don’t know about this organization and throw the dentures away. Imagine how much money could be made out of all the unwanted dentures! This organization in Japan has raised more than $250,000 for UNICEF and a few other organizations.

This organization accepts used dentures by mail and asks local governments and dentists to place collection boxes in their offices. In cooperation with a metal refining company, the association promotes the donation of dentures by giving presentations nationwide, contributing part of revenues to welfare organizations in neighborhoods of cooperating local governments and sending letters of appreciation to dentists who support the movement. It also publicizes the location of collection boxes to encourage participation. If you would like to recycle dentures, you may mail it to 350-8799 Dentures Recycling Association Japan.

Prosthetic Limbs

“Prosthetic components are generally not reused in the United States because of legal considerations. However, used prosthetic limbs may be disassembled and the components shipped to Third World countries for use by landmine victims and/or other individuals in need.” That was said by the Amputee Coalition of America. The following organizations may accept donations of used prosthetic limbs and/or components, depending on their current program needs.

  • Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics – Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics has teamed up with Physicians for Peace. Their goal is to collect old prosthetic parts and to ship them overseas so that more amputees will have greater access. They will accept prosthetic donations at all their facilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  • Limbs for Life Foundation – Thanks to the World Limb Bank, the Limbs for Life Foundation is able to collect and distribute used prosthetics and prosthetic components free of charge to amputees in Third World countries. Parts are used to create prostheses for their recipients, thus reducing the costs for the prosthetics. They also accept unused socks or liners.


For a regular burial, it is often less expensive and more eco-friendly to buy a coffin made of cardboard, which is made from 100% recycled materials.

Check out these super cool houses made of recycled materials!

Today, many people see recycling as a hassle. However, there are still a few who think outside of the box and see recycling not only as a way to save energy, but also as a way to save money while having some fun. Some creative people have thought to use products that could be shredded or melted as whole objects to create new buildings. Imagine how neat it would be to live in a house made out of recycled bottles, cardboard, tires, or straw bale!

This picture is a house made out of straw bale. Below is a video that shows the process of building a house of straw.

These two houses (above and below) are both made of recycled bottles!

The picture above is a house made of cardboard!

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