SHOWER CURTAINS AND LINERS. Most facilities do not recycle these because they're made of PVC. (If PVC gets in with other plastics, it can compromise the chemical makeup of the recycled material.)
SIX-PACK RINGS. See if your local school participates in the Ring Leader Recycling Program; kids collect six-pack rings to be recycled into other plastic items, including plastic lumber and plastic shipping pallets.
SMOKE DETECTORS. Some towns accept those that have beeped their last beep. If yours doesn't, try the manufacturer. First Alert takes back detectors (you pay for shipping); call 800-323-9005 for information.
SOAP DISPENSERS (PUMP). Most plastic ones are recyclable; toss them in with the other plastics.
STEREOS AND VCRS. Visit www.earth911.org for a list of recyclers, retail stores, and manufacturers near you that accept electronics. Small companies are popping up to handle electronic waste (or e-waste) as well: Greencitizen.com in San Francisco will pull apart your electronics and recycle them at a cost ranging from nothing to 50 cents a pound. And the 10 nationwide locations of Freegeek.org offer a similar service.
TAKEOUT-FOOD CONTAINERS. Most are not recyclable. Paper ones (like Chinese-food containers) aren't accepted because remnants can contaminate the paper bale at the mill. Plastic versions (like those at the salad bar) are a no-go too.
TINFOIL. It's aluminum, not tin. So rinse it off, wad it up, and toss it in with the beer and soda cans.
TIRES. You can often leave old tires with the dealer when you buy new ones (just check that they'll be recycled). Worn-out tires can be reused as highway paving, doormats, hoses, shoe soles, and more.
TISSUE BOXES WITH PLASTIC DISPENSERS. The plastic portion will be filtered out during the recycling process, so you can usually recycle tissue boxes with cardboard.
TOOTHBRUSHES. They're not recyclable, but if you buy certain brands, you can save on waste. Eco-Dent's Terradent models and Radius Source's toothbrushes have replaceable heads; once the bristles have worn out, snap on a new one.
TOOTHPASTE TUBES. Even with all that sticky paste inside, you can recycle aluminum tubes (put them with the aluminum cans), but not plastic ones.
TVS. Best Buy will remove and recycle a set when it delivers a new one. Or bring old ones to Office Depot to be recycled. Got a Sony TV? Take it to a drop-off center listed at www.sony.com/recycle.
UMBRELLAS. If it's a broken metal one, drop the metal skeleton in with scrap metal (remove the fabric and the handle first). Plastic ones aren't accepted.
USED CLOTHING. Some towns recycle clothing into seat stuffing, upholstery, or insulation. Also consider donating clothing to animal boarders and shelters, where it can be turned into pet bedding.
VIDEOTAPES, CASSETTES, AND FLOPPY DISKS. These aren't accepted. "Videotapes are a nightmare," says Outerbridge. "They get tangled and caught on everything." Instead, send tapes to ACT, a facility in Columbia, Missouri, that employs disabled people to clean, erase, and resell videotapes. You can also send videotapes, cassettes, and floppy disks to www.greendisk.com; recycling 20 pounds or less costs $6.95, plus shipping.