Businesses accept items for recycling

Rogue Valley Runners has a solution for people who don't know what to do with their old running shoes — but who definitely don't want to throw them in the trash.

The running shoe, apparel and gear store at 161 E. Main St. in downtown Ashland will take those old shoes for recycling.

"We do accept athletic and running shoes. We send them to Nike, which grinds them up and uses them to resurface outdoor tracks," said Erik Skaggs, a member of the retail team at Rogue Valley Runners. "We consistently have people bringing in shoes. Often when they come to get new shoes, they'll bring in their old shoes."

Rogue Valley Runners is one of several local companies that take old products or packaging for reuse or recycling, supplementing the services of more traditional garbage and recycling companies.

The Jackson County Recycling Directory provides a comprehensive list of both surprising and expected businesses that keep waste out of landfills. It includes addresses as well as phone numbers so that residents can call ahead about companies' rules for dropped off items.

Rogue Valley Runners is on the list, and so is The UPS Store, which has a branch at 2305 Ashland St.

Jason Souders, general manager of store locations in Ashland and Medford, said The UPS Store takes back styrofoam peanuts and airbags. It can't take back biodegradable peanuts or bubble wrap.

Every Wednesday, staff from The UPS Store in Ashland pick up used packaging material from several local businesses, Souders said.

Styrofoam peanuts are reused in packaging and are also donated to elementary schools. While airbags are not approved by UPS for use in packaging fragile items, airbags can be reused to fill up space in boxes containing items that aren't fragile, Souders said.

Among other businesses listed in the Jackson County Recycling Directory, Rogue Biofuels vacuums up oil and grease, Radio Shack takes batteries, a range of cell phone and electronics stores accept old cell phones, Rogue Aggregates and Southern Oregon Rock will take concrete and asphalt, the Home Depot takes intact residential fluorescent light bulbs and Grange Co-op stores accept empty seed bags and plastic nursery pots and trays.

For people who are willing to part with mementos from their sports glory days, Southern Oregon Trophy Co. takes trophies and plaques in good condition, according to the Jackson County Recycling Directory.

The directory also includes information about what items are accepted by more traditional waste and recycling companies, such as Recology Ashland Sanitary & Recycling Service, Rogue Disposal & Recycling, BioMass One and scrap metal businesses.

SMARTWorks Program Coordinator Paige Prewett first developed the directory in 2006 and now keeps it up-to-date.

She said it was created to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-use tool for homes and businesses to find out about recycling, reuse and waste prevention opportunities.

SMARTWorks, or Saving Money and Resources Together Works, helps businesses, schools and residents reduce waste, conserve natural resources and save money through waste prevention, recycling and reuse.

The Jackson County Recycling Directory is available at Hard copies can be picked up at the Recology Ashland Sanitary and Recycling Service office at 170 Oak St.

The Ashland garbage and recycling company recently changed its name after being bought by San Francisco-based Recology, a larger garbage and recycling company.

The Jackson County Recycling Partnership, a consortium of local governments and waste haulers, helps fund some of the costs of the recycling directory.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or

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