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Going Green: Five Surprising Recyclable Items


At Southwest Airlines, we have established an onboard co-mingled recycling program that we are proud to report has diverted more than 12,500 tons of paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard from landfills into recycling facilities since August 2008.  That’s the weight of nearly 300 Boeing 737-700 aircraft! When they’re not on our canyon blue planes, many of our Customers and Employees also recycle commonly-known items, including paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass.  But many other items can be recycled, and some of them on this list may surprise you:
  • Wine corks: After you’ve enjoyed that bottle of wine, you can actually recycle both the bottle and the cork stopper.  ReCork is a company that recycles cork and upcycles it into other products.
  • Batteries: The best way to get rid of batteries after you are finished with them is to recycle them—rather than throw them in the trash.  Check with your local Hazardous Waste Facility, or consider using a mail-in battery recycling program.  Even better yet, use rechargeable batteries to get more use out of them.
  • Carpet: If you’re remodeling or replacing carpet at home, consider recycling rather than throwing out old carpet.  According to the Carpet America Recovery Report, which provides carpet recycling resources, more than 500 million pounds of carpet was diverted from landfills and had a variety of uses, including providing power and creating new materials, like composite lumber.
  • Crayons: These can be recycled through companies such as Crazy Crayons, which takes crayons that people send in and reforms them into fun shapes that can be used again.  According to this group, they have collected more than 96,000 pounds of crayons and have prevented them from being tossed into a landfill.  If you’re feeling crafty, try this tutorial from Martha Stewart to remold crayons into usable pieces.
Recycling is a process, and we can always continue to find new ways and items to recycle and reuse.  What are some surprising items that you recycle?  Let us know by commenting below.