It's not just recycling...it's repurposing
My friend Karen used a term that really struck home with me...repurpose.
Not just use until you can't use it anymore but find something else to do with it besides tossing it into the waste stream until it's really ready to be in the waste stream. In my head (I spend at lot of time talking to myself) I can hear a chorus of but wait a minutes out there. Not everything is for everyone that I am about to discuss. Just do what you can do.
There are a lot of things that can be used more before simply just tossing them in to the garbage or the recycle bin which I am sure you are all doing now. For instance, composting, I have been a big proponent of composting for a long time. Now there are technical issues that go along with it but sometimes it's as simple as tossing the peels and trimmings into your bushes at the property line. What people seem to forget is that most of that stuff is mostly water. So very heavy to move to the land fill. Think gas, think weight. Weight equals more gas. More gas means higher taxes to move stuff that will take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months to decompose in your yard but years in an oxygen deficient landfill. 'Nuff said.
One of the things that I love about my neighborhood list serve is that before people donate to worthy causes, people offer things for free to neighbors. It's pretty much a safe bet that when those neighbors get finished with it, the item will be handed to another neighbor or to a worthy cause. Hand me downs are hip and neighborly not something to be ashamed of and great way to recycle/repurpose.
My favorite thing right now is being able to get coffee grounds from coffee shops for free and using it as fertilizer. Dancing Goats in Decatur let's you pick up the burlap sacks that they get the coffee beans in and use them for whatever. I use them for weed control and keeping the ground moist longer around those plants that I am trying to save after last summer.
Several shoe concerns are into recycling our very high tech shoes. Most of what we think of as old still have miles of wear left on them. Companies recycling shoes include Big Peach Running Company, Niketown, and Abadabbas and there are plenty of non-profits taking shoes too. Think about how meaningful it is for a child to recieve his or her first pair of shoes at the age 5 or 6. Recycle those Crocs!