For those that live in communities with curbside or drop-off recycling programs, identifying objects that belong in the recycling bin as opposed to the trash can becomes second nature. Glass bottles, plastic containers, newspaper and aluminum cans are all easy to separate from the trash stream and send to their rightful place in the recycling loop. But what about when you clean out the garage, basements or other overly cluttered quadrant of your home and come up with strange metal objects that don’t seem to belong in either container? Here are some suggestions. Used/broken keys: Between break-ups, new apartments and old bike locks, it’s likely you have more than a few old metal keys lingering on your keychain. It probably feels weird to chuck these mementos of past relationships and responsibilities in the trash can, but they certainly don’t seem like they belong with your recycling. Think again. Most municipal recycling programs accept metal keys as part of the mixed-metal category. If you feel like getting melted down and made into new metal items is too disgraceful a fate for your old keys, you can also mail them to Keys for Kindness. This family-run organization in New York collects used keys and recycles the scrap metal, donating all proceeds to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Foreign coins: There was a time when collecting old or foreign coins was a favorite pastime for numismatists and travelers around the world. Thanks to the invention of the debit card, however, hardly anyone walks around with a pocketful of change anymore. If you’ve discovered a stash of old coins that can’t be used as currency, it’s important to know that they may still hold a great deal of value. Three organizations in the U.K. accept foreign coins, even those currencies that are now obsolete. The widely recognized Oxfam, which is involved with relief work all over the world, is one of the organizations; you can find drop-off locations and shipment addresses for old money here. If you’d rather support a specific cause, the Royal National Institute of Blind People accepts coins for recycling, as does Marie Curie Cancer Care. Clothes hangers: If you’re an office worker or you simply have a lot of dressy clothes, you’re probably a regular customer at the dry cleaner. Although it’s lovely to have your clothes returned pressed and on a brand new hanger, these wire closet accessories can accumulate quickly. Many drop-off recycling centers will accept wire hangers in their mixed-metals bin, but you should ask your recycling company before dropping them in your recycling container. You might also be able to return the hangers to the dry-cleaning service as a way of helping them reduce their costs and use fewer resources.
Three Metal Objects You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle
You may not expect keys, coins and wire hangers to be readily recyclable, but think again.