Surprisingly Recyclable Items in Your Garage

Bulk up your sustainability efforts with these environment-focused tips.

Scattered cassette tapes, VCR tapes, floppy disks and compact discs iStock

It can seem like you’ve got never-ending piles of stuff in your garage, but before you toss boxes into the trash bin, take a moment to consider what can be recycled. To help promote sustainability, we’ve made a quick list of things in your garage that you might not expect to have a second life in them.


You can take your TVs, desktop computers, laptops, printers, cellphones and more to a local Best Buy store for recycling. For a fee, they’ll even pick up the items from your home.

Many cities also have community recycling events that accept electronics. You can also find other electronic recycling services through the Consumer Technology Association.

Old shoes  

With programs like GotSneakers, you can clear out those old shoes and earn some money along the way. To participate, sign up, ship your shoes for free and collect your funds.

Nike and Asics also have footwear-recycling programs. Simply take your old shoes to a participating store near you.

You can also donate your shoes to a local thrift store.

Holiday lights and decorations

Overhead view of storage boxes, one contains Christmas decorations iStock

Have your holiday string lights reached the end of their life? Simply send them to Holiday LEDS for free recycling. As a thank-you for your effort, you’ll receive a coupon you can use to purchase new lights. Holiday LEDS accepts recyclable string lights year-round.

Many home improvement stores also have drop-off counters or boxes for holiday light recycling. Just be sure to call ahead to see if your local store is participating.  

Plastic foam decorations are particularly popular around Halloween and Christmas, but they often don’t last much longer than one season. Use Home for Foam’s search tool to find a place near you that recycles it.

Bygone media

You can use the services of companies like GreenDisk to dispose of your old VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs and more.


If you have other items you’d like to recycle (batteries, light bulbs, medications) but aren’t sure how or where, use Earth911’s database to search for recycling solutions near you.

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