Send Your Soda Can Tabs, Bottle Caps, Crayons & More to These Organizations With Cool Recycling Programs

Bottle caps, markers, bread tags... what can we do with these seemingly useless items once they've been used to their potential? Thankfully, there are some pretty awesome companies out there that actually collect these items (and more!) and upcycle them (make them into new products), diverting what would have been waste from filling up landfills! Check out these companies and think twice before chucking your bottle cap into the trash next time (or leaving it on the bottle and throwing it in the recycling bin).

Crayola ColorCycle

Image Credit: Crayola ColorCycle

Crayola ColorCycle is a program that recycles your old plastic markers (not just Crayola! They accept any brand marker, including dry erase markers and highlighters). By collecting old markers and sending them to a conversion facility where they are repurposed, Crayola is able to divert hundreds of tons of plastic markers from going into the landfill. Crayola even pays all shipping charges when you're sending the markers back to them!

What you can do: Reach out to local schools to set up a collection station for used markers. Package your collection, print out a shipping label and send them to Crayola! If you have any old markers lying around your house, send those in too.

The Crayon Initiative

Image Credit: The Crayon Initiative

The Crayon Initiative is a non-profit organization based out of California that collects donated crayons, melts them down and manufactures them, and then distributes them to art programs at children's hospitals across the U.S. Every year, more than half a million pounds of crayons are discarded, "turning into a waxy sludge that clogs our landfills and never biodegrades." 

What you can do: Got a ton of old crayons lying around at home? Donate them to The Crayon Initiative! Also reach out to local restaurants, schools, and other community groups like scout groups, to set up collection boxes where people in the community can donate. 

Danielle Cares for Chairs - Bread Tag Recycling Program

Image Credit: Danielle Cares for Chairs

Danielle Cares for Chairs is a non-profit organization that was started by a 17-year hold high school student, Danielle Rothchild. The organization collects plastic bread tags and sends them to a recycling facility where the funds go to clients who are in need of wheelchairs.

What you can do: Start a collection bin/container in your home to collect plastic bread tags (these tags can also be found on other items, such as fruit and vegetable bags!) Once you've collected a lot, contact Danielle Cares for Chairs to let them know you'd like to donate them! Reach out to friends and family as well as local institutions like schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, etc. to see if they'd be interesting in participating as well.


Envision Hands - Bottle Cap Recycling Program

Image Credit: Envision

Envision Hands is an Australian-based company that collects your plastic bottle caps (think water bottles, soda bottles, Gatorade bottles, etc.) and melts them down to create prosthetic hands for children in need across under-serviced countries. Water bottle caps are recyclable, but are often not recycled because they either get sent to the landfill and they fall through machinery at recycling facilities. Envision Hands takes this "overlooked waste product" made almost entirely of HDPE2 (high density polyethlyne) and upcycles it into something amazing and useful.

What you can do: Start a collection bin/can in your home to collect bottle caps. Tell your friends and family about it as well, so they can contribute to the bin (and hopefully they will tell their friends to also start a collection bin). Contact local schools to see if they are interested in starting a school-wide collection. Once you have a good amount, contact Envision and send the bottle caps over to them!  

Ronald McDonald House Charities - Pop Tab Collection

Image Credit: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is a network of local chapters that helps millions of families with sick children find comfort and support. RMHC partners with United Scrap Metal, which is a company that buys aluminum pop tabs (from soda cans, soup cans, and other aluminum cans) at market rate and markes a charitable contribution. The high-grade aluminum of the pop tab actually has a higher recycling value than the rest of the can, so they get about $0.40-$0.55 per pound of aluminum pop tabs.

What you can do: Start a pop tab collection in your school or home, and reach out to places in your local community (like restaurants) to see if they'd be willing to keep a collection bin out as well! RMHC collects any amount of pop tabs - from a soup can full to a million pop tabs. 

We hope that this has inspired you to rethink what we can do with "waste products", and get out there and start collecting for these amazingly cool organizations! If you know of any other organizations that facilitate/participate in recycling programs, let us know! We'd love to hear more about them.

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