Where Your Recycling Really Goes

Gross but true: new floss is made from old floss.

Cara Michelle Smith
Jan 17 · 3 min read
Your recycling doesn’t go where you think. (Unsplash)

The greatest trick corporations ever played was making us think we could recycle their products. -The New York Times

Every single plastic water bottle is just used to make another plastic water bottle. They don’t even clean them.

Millions of composted egg shells go into making just one of those striking, $8,000 mid-century modern sofas in trendy boutique windows.

Once a plastic bag has been recycled three times, they’re exclusively used to make Entourage DVD cases. In even more disappointing news, Entourage DVDs are still selling incredibly well.

The grease from pizza boxes is extracted, bottled by Big Skincare, and sold as a cleansing serum that always seems to make your breakouts worse.

Think you’re being mature by recycling your latest unfinished screenplay? Not so fast. Every recycled page of an unfinished screenplay miraculously becomes another page in Ann Coulter’s upcoming book.

It’s no coincidence that composted banana peels bear a startling resemblance to the scoby in the bottom of kombucha bottles.

Every recycled can of La Croix is chopped, flattened and fashioned into one of hundreds of gaudy faux crystals on the pockets of Miss Me jeans.

In an effort to not waste any paper, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss forced themselves to fill every inch of their old takeout menus, going so far as to scribble their most outlandish, half-baked ideas …and just like that, Confederate was born.

The good news: they found a use for old soda cans! The bad news: the underwire on a bra.

Gross but true: new floss is made from old floss.

All those promo flyers that clog up your mail? You’re better off throwing them away. George W. Bush exclusively paints on canvases made from recycled mailers. Nobody knows why — but then again, nobody knows why George W. Bush paints in the first place.

Be sure to recycle your old Android. That’s how they make new iPhones.

Those branded T-shirts that say stuff like, “I’m a WIFE who loves TRUMP, her HUSBAND and her GUNS” aren’t made with recycled materials.

You don’t have to feel guilty about not using those eco-friendly light bulbs that make your apartment look like a morgue. Sure, the bulbs you use are made from elephant tusks, but who am I to tell you what to feel guilty about?

Thousands of 100% recycled, EPA-certified refrigerators go into forming a single one of Joe Biden’s teeth.

Stop recycling your shoe boxes. Together, we can put an end to the cardboard tampon applicator.

Every single vinyl record sold at Urban Outfitters is just a bunch of melted Legos in the shape of a record.Thankfully, nobody who’s bought a record at Urban Outfitters has noticed, because none of them own an actual record player.

Despite popular belief, Styrofoam can be recycled. What else do you think communion wafers are made from?

In the ultimate ouroboros of self-destruction, America’s plentiful supply of bullet shells can be recycled into one thing, and one thing only: a Hydroflask.

Cara Michelle Smith is a comedy writer in Chicago. You can find her work in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress, The Rumpus and more. You may harass her on Twitter here, so long as you do so creatively.


Medium humor. Large laughs.

Thanks to Alex Baia

Cara Michelle Smith

Written by

Cara Michelle Smith is a comedy writer in Chicago. You can harass her on Twitter at @Cara_Smith5, so long as you do so creatively.



Medium humor. Large laughs.

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