Environment & Science

Earth Day: How to recycle bras, wine corks and other things you may not think are recyclable

Unloading a truckload of e-waste at Isidore Recycling Company in Los Angeles.
Unloading a truckload of e-waste at Isidore Recycling Company in Los Angeles.
Charles Castaldi/KPCC

Of the 10 largest cities in the U.S., Los Angeles (65 percent) and San Jose (60 percent) are ranked first and second in recycling respectively, according to a Municipal Recycling Survey from 2009

But there is always room for improvement.

RELATED: Patt Morrison recycles, and 6 other ways to go green on Earth Day

Besides recycling aluminum cans and plastic bottles, what about other junk, such as used electronics and old eye glasses? Those can be recycled, too. 

Here's how to recycle some more obscure items: 

Bras: The Bra Recyclers buy and sell recycled bras, which are re-distributed through exporters and organizations to developing countries around the world. Find drop off locations in Southern California here.

Eye Glasses: You can donate your used eyeglasses, hearing aids, jewelry and giftware to New Eyes For The Needy. See shipping instructions here. The organization also encourages folks to sponsor collection drives.

Greeting Cards: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children accepts used greeting cards from any occasion. Children at the ranch participate in making the new “green” cards by removing the front and attaching a new back. You can also support the cause by purchasing a card. Proceeds support programs for abused and homeless children.

Wine Corks: Drink up, because the organizations ReCORK and SOLE have teamed up to repurpose your wine tops into soles for shoes. Thus far, they've collected 39,563,277 corks. Find a list of drop off locations here.

Ink Cartridges and Other Electronics: You can recycle your empty ink and toner cartridges at Staples and get $2 towards your next purchase. The store also accepts old office technology products, such as computers and keyboards. Find a local store here. If you have an Apple product, Gazelle is a good option as well.

The city of L.A. provides a comprehensive list of what can and can't be recycled. More specifically, here's a breakdown of what is accepted in that big blue bin.

What do you recycle that others may not know about? Share with us in comments. Or tweet us @KPCC using the hashtag #earthday.