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Did you know that even though 75 percent of America’s waste is recyclable, only 30 percent is recycled? In honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the team at Tioga would like to share some unconventional recycling tips to help you and your loved ones better protect our planet.

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Double check to see if your item is recyclable

Most, if not all, of us reading this are familiar with items that are normally recycled such as paper products, glass and plastic bottles and metal cans. However, did you know that there are organizations that accept countless other items for repurposing? Check out the list below to find out more:

  • Running shoes – Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program recycles any brand of athletic shoe and gives them new purpose through Nike Grind, a program that creates quality performance products ranging from footwear and apparel to sports surfaces.

  • Wine corks – Corks can be repurposed to create a number of products including floor tiles, insulation and automotive parts. Whole Foods Market has teamed up with Cork ReHarvest and offers recycling bins at their stores to allow customers to drop off their cork collection.

  • Mattresses – Did you know more than 50,000 mattresses end up in landfills per day? Organizations like Bye Bye Mattress help you locate your nearest recycling facility so that your mattress can be repurposed into wood chips, clothing, foam products and fiber for scrap metal.

  • Apple products – Have any unused Apple products lying around? Round them up, check out Apple GiveBack’s website and see if you’re eligible for a discount on a new Apple product! If your product isn’t eligible for a refund, they’ll recycle it for you, for free!

  • Christmas lights – HolidayLEDS accepts Christmas lights for recycling year round. And, if you send in your lights, you’ll receive 15 percent off your next purchase from their website!

Sip responsibly

Did you know that plastic straws are extremely detrimental to the environment? In fact, according to Fortune, plastic straws are more harmful to the ocean than cigarette butts, a byproduct that is oftentimes deposed of irresponsibly. One way to combat this is to invest in reusable straws. From metal to machine-washable, there are multiple options for you to cut down on this wasteful practice.

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Make the most of your trash

In 2013 alone, Americans produced around 254 million tons of trash. There are many ways to reduce waste production, but one of the most common ways is through composting. Composting is a type of recycling that takes three basic ingredients: browns (twigs or dead leaves), greens (grass, fruit and vegetable waste and coffee grounds) and water. Composting is easy to do at home, and some cities even have a compost pick up, similar to trash and recycling bin collection.

At Tioga, we’re committed to sustainable practices that keep our earth in the best possible shape. Learn more about our mission and vision for our planet.