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Where to Recycle Common Household Junk: WCI Wednesday

Where to Recycle Common Household Junk: WCI Wednesday

If you’ve been cleaning your house lately (or packing for college like me!), you might notice that you have a lot of stuff lying around that you don’t exactly know what to do with.

Lots of items often get thrown away, but wouldn’t it be better to have them be recycled or repurposed? So for this week’s Where Can I Wednesday, we’ve covered how to do just that!

Here’s our guide to recycling common household items:


Repurpose Old Nail Polish

repurpose old nail polishDid you know Nail Polish contains the chemicals toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and acetate, all of which are hazardous to the environment? So if you have some nail polish that you don’t quite like anymore, be sure you’re not just tossing it out; if the glass breaks then the chemicals can leach into the groundwater. Try some of these solutions instead:


  • Waterproof your stuff – Clear nail polish can actually be used as a low cost waterproof for small things such as prescription bottles or the address line on envelopes
  • Labeling – The bright colors of nail polish can be used to make a label that you won’t miss! Try it on food containers, plant markers for the garden, or sports gear.
  • Prevent Rust – Just a layer of nail polish on the bottom of metal cans can prevent them from rusting. This way items such as shaving cream won’t leave those annoying rust circles in your bathroom!


  • Household Hazardous Waste Events – You can bring your nail polish to any of the events they host which occur about once a month in the Philadelphia area.

What to Do with Old Denim

recycle old jeansDenim is a great fabric since it’s so durable. So instead of dumping it in a landfill, make use of its durability and try to use one of these ideas instead:


  • Pet Toys – Fill pieces of your old jeans with stuffing and then sew them shut to make cheap toys for your dog or cat!
  • Quilts – Sew a bunch of your old jeans together to make a cute denim quilt!
  • Coasters – If you cut off the seams of your jeans then you can bind them in a spiral pattern and make a great coaster!


  • Blue Jeans Go Green – Mail in your old jeans and Blue Jeans Go Green recycles them into insulation for communities in need! Find out more online.
  • Bring them back to the Store – A lot of stores will actually offer you discounts for your old blue jeans! Right now, both J. Crew and Madewell are running offers until the end of September! Check regularly to see which stores are doing this; as an added perk, most stores that run these offers actually donate the jeans that they collect.
  • Consignment Shops – If they’re still in good condition, you can actually get decent money for your unwanted denim! Check out our list of the best consignment shops in the area, the majority will take jeans.

Getting Rid of Mattresses

donate old mattressesWhen mattresses are thrown away they’re actually a problem for landfills because they can’t be compressed the way normal trash can. So instead, they just take up massive amounts of room. So before you toss your old mattress, here are some better alternatives for it:


  • Salvation Army – The Salvation Army will happily take your mattress off your hands for free as long as it’s in good condition!


  • Richard S. Burns & Company – Drop off your mattress anytime, Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM or Saturday from 7 AM to 3 PM. 4300 Rising Sun Ave.
  • Removal Solutions – Although it’s a little far (they’re located in Collegeville), Removal Solutions will take your mattress for free, even if it’s ripped or stained. Make sure to call ahead for details. 204 Gravel Pike.
  • College Hunks Hauling JunkJust visit their website to schedule, and they’ll come right to your door to take your mattress!

Paying your VHS Tapes Forward 

  • It’s definitely difficult to get rid of VHS tapes when you can’t even sell them on eBay. However, it’s not impossible, just check out our previous post for how to recycle VHS tapes.


Readers, what else do you do with old ‘junk’? Tell us in the comments.


Photos: Creative Commons

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Catharine was an Editorial Intern in 2014. From growing up in Damascus, Maryland to studying Marketing and Finance at Saint Joseph’s University, she got her first taste of sustainability in Elementary School when her mother went on a recycling binge and got the family on board. She assumes she'll probably be something like that when she grows up, too. She loves her other roles as a Resident Assistant and barista at Starbucks. In her spare time, she loves to go for long runs, reading Game of Thrones, and watching Hockey. View all posts by Catharine Gaylord

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