Paint, thermostats, mattresses, electronics… now that you’ve added these to your recycling repertoire from last week’s post, we decided to give you yet another handy guide to getting rid of your tricky items the right way.
When we think about all that we consume (not even including food!) on a daily basis, it’s easy to realize that it truly adds up. A cup of coffee in the morning means you purchase not only the java, but a plastic cup. Driving to work consumes gas, and using your computer at work uses energy. While we can’t avoid many of these things (and shouldn’t really have to), making sure items that are typically thrown away are disposed of sustainably can make a huge difference… without much effort!
Aspirins, pills, and other pharmaceuticals tend to sit in cabinets for years. With no easy way to dispose of them, our old, unused pills take up space and create clutter. One safe way to dispose of drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is to crush them into tiny pieces, throw them into kitty litter or coffee grounds, seal them in a bag, and throw it in the trash. No flushing them down the drain, however; recent studies have shown that these drugs may be negatively affecting our waterways and harming marine life. The best option? Find a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsored take-back collection event in your area to drop off old medicines safely and sustainably.
Batteries & Cell Phones
Call2Recycle, a non-profit dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones, has over 30,000 collection sites in the U.S. and Canada. You may find a drop-off location on their website. In 2012, they recycled 10 million pounds of batteries alone! They only recycle rechargeable batteries, not single-use, which tend to look the same. In order to sustainably dispose of single-use batteries, use this handy locator to find a collection site near you.
With clothing, the best place to start is to reuse: donating your lightly worn clothing and shoes to thrift shops, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army lends another life to the material… even better than recycling. If one of these options isn’t feasible, clothing, curtains, sheets, and other textiles can be recycled into everything from cleaning rags to carpet padding and insulation. Find an recycling collection center here.
What are you curious about recycling? We’d be happy to help! Let us know in the comments below, and we could feature your questions in a future blog post.