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How to Recycle All Sorts of Plastic Stuff

Here's a quick guide on how to recycle a whole bunch of everyday items that we all have in the house.  Everything from plastic grocery bags and cell phones to packing peanuts and juice drink pouches.

Plastic Grocery Bags
Most stores that recycle plastic grocery bags, including Stop & Shop & Whole Foods, will also accept other bags (like the ones you get newspapers and produce in & drycleaning) that are stamped with a "2" or a "4" code.  

FedEx Envelopes
Ultra-durable Tyvek envelopes - the thin ones used by many shippers today - can be recycled through only a few area municipalities, including Cambridge, MA.  However, Tyvek maker DuPont takes back used envelopes through a mail-in program.

CDs and CD cases
Send them (including Blu-ray and HD DVD discs) to the Salem New Hampshire-based Compact Disc Recycling Center (http://www.cdrecyclingenter.com), the recycling arm of a manufacturer of compact discs.

Ink and Toner Cartridges
Both Office Depot (http://www.officedepot.com/techrecycling) and Staples (http://www.staples.com/ecoeasy) give out $3 in-store creditfor each empty cartridge you bring in.  Another option is to refill your cartridges with ink (refills cost about $10/$15 at many stores - even Walgreens).

Cellphones
The Norwell-based nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers (800) 426-1031 or http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com) raises money selling donated cellphones to recyclers to buy phone cards for soldiers stationed overseas.  All kinds of mobile phones are accepted via mail and at drop-off points, including many AT&T stores.

Computers
TecsChange (617) 442-4456 or http://www.tecschange.org), a Roxbury-based non-profit, uses an all-volunteer staff to refurbish donated computers, then ships them around the world to social justice groups.  Accepted items include CD-ROM drives, modems, small laser printers, desktop computers, and laptops.

Juice-drink Pouches
A compbination of plastic and aluminum, these lunchbox staples (Capri-Sun for example) are difficult to recycle.  But a company called TerraCycle (http://www.terracycle.net) is collecting the pouches and, depending on the juice brand, will donate 1 or 2 cents per pounch to charity you choose.  It then turns the waste into toe bags and pencil cases.

Foam Packing Peanuts
Polystyrene is notoriously difficult to recycle.  But UPS Stores (http://www.theupsstore.com) accept packing peanuts for reuse, and some municipalities will recycle them.  Another option is to mail them to the Alliance of Foam Packing Recyclers (http://www.epspackaging.org/info.html).

Gift Cards
Any ideas?

Source: Boston Globe Magazine: September 28, 2008

Reviews
Seattlegirl
Useful info, thanks!
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