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Where can I recycle....XYZ?

Written By: Leah Morris

People all over the world are producing a shocking amount of trash. Even though most of it can be recycled or composted, the majority is still dumped in landfills.

On average, each American produces 4.4 pounds of trash daily. In 2021, Americans generate 254 million tons of trash (Tree Hugger). While a recent survey says that 94 percent of Americans support recycling and 74 percent say it should be a priority, the national average recycling rate is only 34.7 percent.

If 94% of Americans support recycling, and minimizing their impact on their impact on the environment why don't we do more? 62% indicate they lack recycling knowledge. They just don't know where or what to recycle.

Each county has different recycling guidelines so to best understand your areas recycling guidelines so make sure to check out your county's recycling guidelines. Remember, you can always recycle MORE than just what's collected.

I've put together a running alphabetical list of places that recycle stuff of all kinds. Since I am a Minnesota Girl, I tried to include as many local organizations in my list. My list is forever growing so if you know of a great specific place to recycle items let me know and will add to the list. If you are looking for places to donate items vs recycle- link here

Apple Products

Apple GiveBack is a trade-in and recycling program that’s good for you and the planet. If your trade-in device is eligible for credit, you can offset the purchase price of a new one. If it’s not eligible for credit, you can recycle if for free! If it’s in good shape, they will help it go to a new owner. If not, they will send it to their recycling partner, so we can save more precious materials.

Band Instruments

The Band Instrument Recycle will fix or leverage parts. They will also offer you cash on the spot if items have worth.


There was a time when nobody really recycled batteries, but now it’s much easier to recycle your used batteries. Many national retailers such as Best Buy, The Home Depot, Staples and Lowe’s accept reusable ones, as does Call2Recycle.


If you can’t find a local solution, reach out to companies like the CD Recycling Center of America or GreenDisk. You can mail your CDs to these centers and they’ll make sure they are recycled for new uses. According to the CD Recycling Center of America, specialized recycling companies will clean, grind, blend, and compound the CDs into a plastic that can be reused for items such as auto parts, office equipment, and street lights. The CD Recycling Center doesn’t charge for its service, other than the cost of postage. GreenDisk charges a small fee, but also takes other types of e-waste including hard drives, floppy discs, and VHS tapes. The discs are sorted and processed, then given new life as building materials, automotive products, or even office equipment. Sending your collection may take a little effort, since you will need to box and pay for shipping, but they are saved from ending up in the landfill, where they would sit as they do not biodegrade.


Baby & Kid Clothes -Recycling your little’s most-loved, lived-in clothes super simple. Any non-donatable baby & kid clothing brands are welcome (Psst… no shoes or accessories at this time.)


Crayon recycling was introduced by the National Crayon Recycle Program, which was created to keep more than 45,000 pounds of crayons from ending up in landfills. The NCRP takes old, rejected and broken crayons and recycles them into new ones using a simple process that can further benefit children across the country.


Wine corks can be recycled and used in a variety of materials including flooring tiles, insulation, automotive parts, and sports equipment. The organizations ReCORK and SOLE have also teamed up to repurpose your wine tops into soles for shoes and list of all the drop off locations on their site.


Electronics Recycling of Minnesota is located off Central Avenue, just north of Downtown Minneapolis. Beyond managing the e-waste problem, sustainability demands we prevent it in the first place. If it has a cord, screen, or a battery, they probably take it. Their mission to maximize reuse, and minimize environmental impact begins at collection and follows a path to extend the useful life of electronic devices. They aim to set the standard for responsible recycling and reuse practices for electronics recycling now, and for our future.

Holiday Lights

Send those energy-sucking strands of holiday lights off to to be recycled and you’ll get a 15-percent-off coupon for anything on their site, so you can get the twinkly LED lights of your dreams. The Christmas Light Recycling Program is open year round.


More than 46 million people throw away their inhalers every year. This is a huge amount of waste that can be recycled. If you bring your used inhalers to participating pharmacies, they will be broken down into plastics and aluminum.

Juice pouches

Because most are a combination of a plastic polymer and aluminum, these are not recyclable. TerraCycle will donate 2 cents for each Honest Kids, Capri Sun, and Kool-Aid Drink pouch and 1 cent for any other brand you collect. The organization provides free shipping, too. TerraCycle turns them into colorful purses, totes, and pencil cases that are sold at Target and Walgreens stores.

Holiday Lights

Send those energy-sucking strands of holiday lights off to to be recycled and you’ll get a 15-percent-off coupon for anything on their site, so you can get the twinkly LED lights of your dreams. The Christmas Light Recycling Program is open year round.


The Keys for Hope Foundation is a non-profit that seeks to end hunger. The foundation helps by raising money from key drives and donations. The keys are weighed and then sold at recycling centers for scrap metal.

As you can see, there are so many things you can recycle, if you just do a little research.


More than 50,000 mattresses end up in U.S. landfills each day. Fortunately, you can change that. Bye Bye Mattress will help you find your closest recycling facility. Recycled mattresses are used to make fiber for scrap metal, wood chips, clothing, and foam products.


There are more than 300 medication collection boxes located at law enforcement facilities and pharmacies in Minnesota. These collection sites do not charge any disposal fees. Collection sites accept all medicines from households, including prescription, over-the-counter, liquid, solid, and pet medicines.

Plastic Bags

Cub Foods and Kohl's local stores take plastic bags. However, before visiting a drop-off location, please confirm their ongoing collection of plastic bags and wraps. You can find a location nearest you on this link

Running Shoes

Don’t know what to do with your old running shoes? Instead of throwing them out, send them to a recycling program. Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program accepts old sneakers (any brand) and recycles them into courts for various sports so kids around the world have a place to play.


  • All Hasbro toys and games, including: board games, electronic toys & games, metal/plastic/wood toys & games, action figures, dolls, plush toys, etc. Click here

  • Mattel Brands - Barbie®, Matchbox® and MEGA™ sustainability focus after committing to using 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic by 2030. The program currently accepts Barbie®, Matchbox® and MEGA™ toys for recycling with other brands to be added in the future. Click here for more details. Materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content in new toys will either be downcycled into other plastic products or converted from waste to energy.

  • LEGOs Replay - yes we have the answer of what to do with all those used LEGOs! There is now a LEGO recycling program. Yes, you may think of donating or selling old LEGO’s instead of recycling but for some, recycling unwanted bricks can be the better alternative to dumping the bricks into the trash. LEGO bricks are generally accepted by any charity that accepts in-working-order toys. But if you don’t, then check out the brick recycling…

  • L.O.L. Surprise! packaging, accessories, and products.

If the toys you're looking to get rid of are soiled, torn or otherwise not in great shape, recycling them may be the best bet. You can get in contact with your local recycling service and see if they take toys (because they don't always!), or check out TerraCycle. TerraCycle has a partnership with Hasbro specifically for recycling old toys — it's free and easy! You mail in your toys, and they break them down into raw materials to recycle them. Learn more on their website.

VHS Cassettes

If you have VHS tapes that you don’t use anymore (I know I do!) and they aren’t fit to donate, recycle them! There’s a company called Green Disk, who will recycle your “technotrash” for you. The tapes are taken apart and shredded and then turned into all kinds of useful things, like product packaging.

Additional Recycling Resources:

Dakota county (where I live) has an amazing Recyling center. It is a drive thu. You simply separate your Recyling (i.e. batteries, cardboard, metal etc) they pop your trunk and remove it. Check it out here

Find a recycling center in your area or research information about recyclable materials and recycling methods -

We can all do our part to protect the planet. It starts with striving for more sustainable waste management in our daily lives, which can be one of the best mechanisms to help combat global climate change and reduce environmental impacts. By taking steps to reduce waste sent to landfills, reuse what we can and recycle the right way, together we can make a big difference.

Founder & Chief Organizer @Mindfully Minimized

Mindfully Minimized is a holistic organizational solution company committed to helping people clear the clutter from their lives. Based in Minneapolis, Mindfully Minimized was founded by owner and chief organizer Leah Morris who works alongside her clients to help them with their challenging spaces to create a beautifully organized home focused around their intention. Leah is a professional organizer, decluttering expert, speaker & coach. She is committed to helping people declutter their lives to focus on what they love. With her passion for providing solutions to problems and serving others she is able to transform spaces to be more clam, purposeful, sustainable, and joyously livable. Check out her website or you can also follow her on Instagram or on facebook.

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