Go beyond cans, bottles and cardboard to get creative with recycling.
Nonprofits and some do-it-yourself hints can help keep items out of landfills while helping others. Here are six items that you may not have considered recycling, and tips on how to make it happen in Santa Cruz County.
Bras aren't exactly biodegradable, but gently used lingerie is a welcome donation for The Bra Recyclers. So long as the clasps and straps work, just wash the bra, fill out a form and send it off.
Slivers of Soap
Some hotels save partially-used bars of soap to re-purpose it and donate it to the needy. Or keep your own soap slivers and put them into the foot of an old pantyhose to create a DIY a soap-on-a-rope.
Runners can log a lot of miles enjoying the trails surrounding Scotts Valley. Shoes wear out after about 500 miles, but don't toss them in the trash. Several programs recycle used running shoes.
Some ship lesser-used kicks to Third World countries, while companies including Nike will deconstruct the shoe and recycle the materials.
Drop off used running shoes at Running Revolution at 1664 Soquel Dr. in Santa Cruz.
Let your hair grow out, then get chop it off and make a donation to Locks of Love. The nonprofit provides hairpieces to children younger than 21 who suffer from a long-term illness that affects their hair growth.
For those who still have CDs, re-purpose them outdoors. Their mirror-like properties are a great deterrent for birds, so hang them around a garden or fruit trees to deter pilfering. Old CDs also make great decor for trees, so save a stack for the holiday season.
An old mattress will sleep in a landfill for about 50 years. Luckily, Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility, 605 Dimeo Rd. and Buena Vista Landfill, 1231 Buena Vista Dr. in Watsonville will take mattresses.