This isn't really a design post, but Real Simple has a great article on what can (and can't) be recycled, with some surprises that go way beyond the usual cans, bottles, and white office paper. They also link to some organizations who are making some very cool products from our cast-offs.
Some of the more interesting examples:
Terracycle collects used juice pouches and turns them into shopping bags, wallets, totes, etc. I have one of these pencil cases, and I love its shiny Kool-Aid exterior.
St. Jude's Ranch for Children turns old greeting & holiday cards into new ones.
GreenDisk takes CD jewel cases (and other "technotrash") for reuse or to make new cases.
Images from Real Simple and Terracycle