May 29, 2012

Second Life, Part 4 – Recycling the Usual, the Unusual, and Everything In Between

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For lots of people in the USA, the act of recycling is a part of our daily, or at least weekly, lives. Hey, even NASCAR is recycling and going green now! Most Americans understand that recycling conserves natural resources and space in landfills. But did you know that recycling also conserves water and energy and helps to reduce air and water pollution? Producing recycled paper uses 65% less energy and 80% less water, and creates 95% less air pollution than making paper from a tree. If all of us recycled our newspapers just once a week, we would save about 36 million trees a year.

It should come as no surprise that here at Cars Helping people we think the best way to recycle is by donating old or unused cars to a charity. For instance, when you donate an old vehicle to Cars Helping, not only do you recycle your vehicle and get a hefty tax deduction, you also help Volunteers of America pay for local programs for homeless people, veterans, children and other folks trying to survive in this jobless recovery. Time to move on to Part 4 of our A to Z guide to recycling nearly everything:

Hearing Aids: If you have an old hearing aid, it doesn’t matter what kind, the Starkey Hearing Foundation ( will take it off your hands and recycle it. Another avenue: the Lions Club in your community. The Lions Club will accept used hearing aids and eyeglasses for recycling and reuse. To find a collection center in your area, go to

Holiday Cards: Those old Hanukkah or Christmas cards…don’t throw them away. St. Jude’s Ranch for children (a well known home for abused youth) has a creative way to reuse our old holiday cards. The kids cut off the cover, glue it to new card stock and sell the now good as new recycled cards to support the ranch.

iPods: If you have an old iPod and want a new one, bring your old one to an Apple store. First they’ll take the old iPod for recycling, eventually breaking it down and recycling its components. Then they’ll give you 10% off of a new iPod. But you have to buy it the new one that day, so bring your checkbook!

Jam Jars: Most areas have container-glass recycling (real speak: glass bottles and jars) which means you can usually put your jam jars right in your curbside recycling bin for pickup. Its nice to clean the old jam out, but not completely necessary. Don’t forget to remove the metal lids for recycling with the metals.

Juice Bags: Unfortunately, common juice bags are a combination of plastic polymer and aluminum, which isn’t recyclable. But don’t throw them away – collect them and send them to your favorite charity. TerraCycle will donate 2 cents for every Capri Sun, Kool-Aid and Honest Kids drink pouch – and a penny for every other brand. Not only that, they provide free shipping. TerraCycle turns old juice bags and pouches into hip and colorful purses, totes and pencil cases. Check them out yourself at Target and Walgreens, or at

Keys and Nail Clippers: Keys and clippers are considered scrap metal and can be recycled, just like most metal objects that aren’t cans.

Leather Goods: If you have old jackets, purses or other leather goods, have them repaired if possible. If you can’t fix them you have no choice but to throw them in the garbage. At this time there really isn’t a viable recycling option for leather goods. If you have gently used shoes you can donate them to, a charity that collects used shoes and gives them to people in need.

The smart way to recycle a used vehicle? Donate it to charity. The smart place to donate car, RV or truck is, the charity donation site of Volunteers of America. Donate your car at Cars Helping People and 100% of the funds earned stays with Volunteers of America to help fund locally based programs for children, the homeless and veterans. Free towing.

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