How to Recycle Bras, Hair, Mattresses and Other Unusual Items

Go even more "green" with these tips.

So you've recycled the glass, paper, cardboard and soda cans but still feel you're taking too much trash out to the can? No worries. You can get even more creative, with these ideas.


Bras aren't exactly biodegradable, but gently used lingerie is a welcome donation for The Bra Recyclers. So long as the clasps and straps work, just wash the bra, fill out a form and send it off.

Slivers of Soap

Some hotels save partially-used bars of soap to re-purpose it and donate it to the needy. Or keep your own soap slivers and put them into the foot of an old pantyhose to create a do-your-own "soap-on-a-rope."

Running Shoes

Shoes wear out after about 500 miles, but several programs can recycle them.

Some organizations ship lesser-used kicks to Third World countries, while companies including Nike will deconstruct the shoe and recycle the materials.

Learn about the process of recycling used running shoes at www.nikereuseashoe.com.

Here are some other links:

http://www.soles4souls.org/about/locations?zip=95065 http://oneworldrunning.blogspot.com/p/drop-off-locations.html


Let it grow out, then get chop it off and make a donation to Locks of Love. The nonprofit provides hairpieces to people younger than 21 who suffer from a long-term illness that affects their hair growth.


You can re-purpose them outdoors. Their mirror-like properties are a great deterrent for birds, so hang them around a garden or fruit trees. Old CDs also make great decor for trees, so save a stack for the holiday season.


An old mattress will sleep in a landfill for about 50 years. Luckily, San Leandro-based DR3 Recycling parts out old mattresses and recycles the cotton, wood, steel and foam. DR3's yard is in Oakland, but there are other spots in the Bay Area where mattresses left behind will be recycled.

TELL US: What are some of the ways you recycle? Are there resources you'd like to share with our readers? If you make recycling available at your business or organization, please add your information in the comments section below.

Julie Pendray February 26, 2013 at 11:30 PM
That link about the soap slivers also mentions dentures!
Jennifer McMullen February 27, 2013 at 04:42 PM
I've been wondering about recycling running shoes, so really appreciate that info. Any tips on where to recycle wine corks?


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