Cupid Goes Green: Valentine’s Day Recycling Tips


If you’re thinking of Valentine’s Day, a few common things probably come to mind: love, affection, roses, boxes of chocolate, the color red and recycling.

Hold on a minute – recycling? OK, recycling may not be a mental image associated with February 14, but as is turns out, some parallels can be drawn between Valentine’s Day and recycling. A study conducted by Understanding Society found that couples are more likely to recycle than single people.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that greenhouse emissions must be reduced by 25 percent by 2020 for humanity to avoid catastrophic consequences of climate change. Reducing unnecessary waste is perhaps the easiest way for the average person to reduce the effects of climate change by reducing the need for landfills.

The truth is we all have work to do, not just under-recycling single men. Below is a list of items that may not be obvious candidates for recycling but can be easily recycled and diverted from landfills.

For him

Running Shoes: For guys who like to stay active, a good pair of workout shoes can make all the difference in the world. Athletic footwear is becoming lighter, more comfortable and flashier, so it’s easy to justify giving in to temptation and springing for a new pair of workout kicks even if your old ones are still usable. Throwing away that old pair of shoes is problematic, however, because of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). EVA, a common component in the midsole of athletic shoes, is highly non-biodegradable and can last for up to 1,000 years in landfills according to Brooks Running. A convenient way to divert shoes and EVA from landfills is by recycling shoes in a proper collection bin or personally giving them to someone in need – just because you no longer need a pair of running shoes doesn’t mean they’re useless.

Motor oil: Changing your own oil is a great way to save money and keep your car running with less polluting emissions but if motor oil isn’t properly disposed of, it can be a serious environmental hazard. Oil can devastate our waterways and ground water supplies if thrown in the trash, but thankfully, it is among the easiest of items to recycle. Check out’s database of motor oil recycling centers and give yourself a pat on the back for recycling your used motor oil – the American Petroleum Institute says two gallons of used oil can power the average household for almost 24 hours.

For her

Cosmetics: Cosmetics are highly packaged, and packaging accounts for approximately one-third of all landfill waste. Retailers like Origins accept a wide array of cosmetics containers regardless of the manufacturer. It’s worth noting that the shelf life for most cosmetics is one to two years, so if you have an abundance of old products lying around, check out The Daily Green’s guide for easy ways to recycle them.

Purses: Ah, purses. Many women own a purse or two that used to be a cherished accessory but has since made its way to the dark, forgotten corner of the closet. If you have an unused purse, consider recycling it before you throw it away without thinking twice. USAgain’s green and white collection bins are best known for accepting unwanted clothing and shoes, but purses and other wardrobe accessories are also accepted to be reused/recycled. USAgain diverted nearly 50 million pounds of unwanted textiles in 2015 alone, a good portion of which were purses and other accessories.

This is truly the tip of the iceberg of household items that are easily recyclable. Whether you’re spoken for or single, take a look around your closet or garage this Valentine’s Day for things you no longer want or need and ask, “Are they recyclable?”

If you’re unsure, do a little research – you might be surprised by how easy recycling everyday items can be.

For more about USAgain and its efforts to reduce textile waste, please visit our website.


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