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5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Recycle

Give a second life to wine corks, crayons, sports equipment and more.

Glass bottles, newspapers and mail, plastic containers — we all know these can be tossed into the large blue bins that get collected every two weeks in the town's single stream recycling program.

But did you know that West Hartford's recycling center also collects used motor oil, antifreeze and car batteries? Here are five more items you may not know can be recycled through local or national programs.

1) Sports equipment: Old baseball gloves. Bats. Hats. So many homes have such souvenirs from the kids' playing the game. It's hard to throw away. But Denis Horgan and Dick Foster collect used and new baseball supplies to send to Cuba — where children love the game but usually are too poor to have even the most basic supplies. In the past year, Baseball for Cuban Kids has shipped well more than a ton of baseball equipment to Catholic nuns based in Havana for distribution to kids there. Contact Denis Horgan, denis@bluefoot.tv to arrange a pick-up. For details see: http://tinyurl.com/3gqcau9

2) Wine corks: Cork is a natural material that can be recycled instead of thrown into the trash. All stores have a bin where corks can be desposited. What happens to the corks after they're collected? "On the East Coast and in the UK, corks will be transported to Jelinek Cork Group, one of the oldest cork manufacturers in North America, where old corks will be made into post-consumer products," according to Whole Foods. Learn more about the Cork Re-Harvest program here.

3) Crayons: After your kids reach a certain age, those buckets and bins of crayons wind up collecting dust in cabinets. Instead of tossing them in the trash to die a colorful but lonely death in a landfill, consider sending them to a national program that makes new crayons out of the old ones. Click for more information on CrazyCrayons.com's recycling program.

4) Household items: West Hartford has its own chapter of the national FreeCycle program, which is described on its local website as "a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. To view the items being given away or sought in West Hartford, you must be a member of the local group."

5) Grass clippings: According to the town's recycling center, it's against state law to dispose of grass clippings in your trash can. The  website states that "residents are encouraged to home compost or leave clippings on their lawns to decompose. Mulching mowers (or mulching kits for older mowers) speed up the decomposition of clippings. Thatch and weeds are considered grass. Residents can dispose of grass clippings at the EnviroCycle Recycling Center for a $7 minimum charge (subject to change)."

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