Sometimes it takes a bit more effort to keep something out of the landfill
By Ann Schimke
Some of the most environmentally conscious among us end up with stuff that can be confounding when it comes time to reuse or recycle. I faced this problem when the strap on one of our convertible car seats became frayed and torn. We had to retire the seat, which led to the question, “What do you do with a big hunk of plastic and foam that can’t be sold or reused?”
I’ve asked some version of that question about lots of items that have worn out their welcome at my house. It could be ripped sneakers, dried-out glue sticks or old holiday cards. I want them gone, but I don’t want them taking up space in a landfill.
In honor of Earth Day this month, why not go the extra mile and tackle some of those hard-to-recycle items stowed in your basement or garage? They may not be accepted in your curb-side bin or even at the municipal recycling center, but programs exist that target such items. Here’s a look at some of them.
Safe Kids Larimer County partners with the Colorado State Patrol, Troop 3C, to collect and recycle old, unsafe car seats. The seats, as well as car seat bases, can be dropped off any time on the south side of the garage building at the Colorado State Patrol office, located at 3832 South I-25, FC (the office is just off of I-25 northbound, just north of the Harmony exit). Stack the seats neatly on the growing pile. The seats are taken away for recycling every February. For more information, call Safe Kids Larimer County at 970-495-7504 or go to www.safekidslcc.org.
The Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program accepts all brands of worn out athletic shoes (plus LIVESTRONG wristbands) at Nike and Converse retail stores. The shoes are ground into a material that is used to build playground and track surfaces. You can drop off up to 10 pairs of shoes (but not cleats or spikes) at retail locations.
The closest store in Northern Colorado is the Nike Factory Store, 5704 McWhinney Blvd., Loveland, 970-663-6570. You can also ship shoes directly to Nike’s recycling facility: Nike Grind Processing, 3552 Avenue of Commerce, Memphis, TN 38125.
For more information, check Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe website at www.nikereuseashoe.com.
Glue sticks...and much more
TerraCycle, an 11-year-old New Jersey company, runs nationwide recycling campaigns called “brigades” that target hard-to-recycle items ranging from glue bottles to corks to energy bar wrappers to drink pouch packaging. Individuals or organizations such as schools or businesses can sign up for the brigades online. TerraCycle covers the cost of shipping recyclable items to the company.
Most brigades are open to new participants, but a few have waiting lists because all current slots are filled. Many of TerraCycle’s brigades offer points for the items collected that can be redeemed for cash donations to the collecting organization or another charity.
The company’s “Elmer’s Glue Crew Brigade,” which is currently open to new participants, accepts all Elmer’s glue sticks, glue bottles, refill jars and glitter glue tubes. Once the glue packaging is shipped to TerraCycle (with prepaid UPS labels), it is recycled into items such as plastic bins.
For more information about TerraCycle Brigades, go to www.terracycle.com/en-US/.
Most greeting cards are easily recycled in curbside recycling bins, but you can get even greener by reusing them instead. If you’re not crafty yourself, send them to St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch, which serves abused and abandoned children in Nevada. The ranch collects all kinds of greeting cards (birthday, Christmas, Easter, thank you, etc.) and reuses them to make new cards that are sold in packs of 10 to benefit the program. When you donate, make sure the backside of the card front is free of writing. The program cannot accept Disney, Hallmark or American Greeting cards. Mail donations to:
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
For more information on the program, go to www.stjudesranch.org/shop/recycled-card-program.