NIKES AND OTHER SNEAKERS. Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program accepts old sneakers (any brand) and recycles them into courts for various sports so kids around the world have a place to play. You can drop them off at a Nike store, other participating retailers, athletic clubs and schools around the country (check the Web site for locations), or mail them to Nike Recycling Center, c/o Reuse-A-Shoe, 26755 SW 95th Ave., Wilsonville OR 97070.
If your sneakers are still in reasonable shape, donate them to needy athletes in the United States and around the world through www.oneworldrunning.com. Mail them to One World Running, P.O. Box 2223, Boulder, CO 80306, or call 303-473-1314 for more information.
NOTEBOOKS (SPIRAL). It may seem weird to toss a metal-bound notebook into the paper recycling, but worry not -- the machinery will pull out smaller nonpaper items. One caveat: If the cover is plastic, rip that off, says Marti Matsch, communications director for Eco-Cycle, in Boulder, Colo. "It's a larger contaminant."
Envelopes with plastic windows. Recycle them with regular office paper. The filters will sieve out the plastic, and they'll even take out the glue strip on the envelope flaps.
Paper FedEx envelopes can be recycled, and there's no need to pull off the plastic sleeve. FedEx Paks made of Tyvek are also recyclable (see below).
Goldenrod. Those ubiquitous mustard-colored envelopes are not recyclable, because goldenrod paper (as well as dark or fluorescent paper) is saturated with hard-to-remove dyes. "It's what we call 'designing for the dump,' not the environment," says Matsch.
Jiffy Paks. Many Jiffy envelopes -- even the paper-padded ones filled with that material resembling dryer lint -- are recyclable with other mixed papers, like cereal boxes. The exception: Goldenrod-colored envelopes must be tossed.
Padded envelopes with bubble wrap. These can't be recycled. The best thing you can do is reuse them.
Tyvek. DuPont, the maker of Tyvek, takes these envelopes back and recycles them into plastic lumber. Turn one envelope inside out and stuff others inside it. Mail them to Tyvek Recycle, Attention: Shirley B. Wright, 2400 Elliham Avenue #A, Richmond VA 23237. If you have large quantities (200 to 500), call 866-338-9835 to order a free pouch.
PACKING MATERIALS. Styrofoam peanuts cannot be recycled in most areas, but many packaging stores (like UPS and Mail Boxes Etc.) accept them. To find a peanut reuser near you, go to www.loosefillpackaging.com. Some towns recycle Styrofoam packing blocks; if yours doesn't, visit www.epspackaging.org/info.html to find a drop-off location, or mail them in according to the instructions on the site.
Packing pillows marked "Fill-Air" can be deflated (poke a hole in them), then mailed to Ameri-Pak, Sealed Air Recycle Center, 477 South Woods Drive, Fountain Inn SC 29644. They will be recycled into things like trash bags and automotive parts.
PAINT. Some cities have paint-recycling programs, in which your old paint is taken to a company that turns it into new paint. Go to www.earth911.org to see if a program exists in your area.
PENDAFLEX FOLDERS. Place these filing-cabinet workhorses in the paper bin. But first cut off the metal rods and recycle them as scrap metal.
PHONE BOOKS. Many cities offer collection services. Also check www.yellowpages.com/recycle, or call AT&T's phone book-recycling line at 800-953-4400.