Whether it’s time for spring cleaning or you just need to remove the clutter from your home, your first instinct may be to just throw everything in the trash. However, there are certain household items that cannot be recycled because they are made of materials that are harmful to the environment. So when you’re cleaning out those junk drawers or wondering what to do with that cell phone you no longer use, be sure to peruse this list of five items that you always need to recycle.
If you have children with lots of toys, you likely go through alkaline batteries often. It’s easy to just remove them and toss them in the trash. In fact, many of us do this without even realizing it. However, batteries contain metals and chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. In addition, they can be reused to make new batteries and metals. That’s why it’s a good idea to recycle them.
Other types of batteries that can be recycled include rechargeable ones from phones, cameras, power tools and other electronics. There are drop-off locations at popular retailers such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Sears and Radio Shack.
Appliances – both kitchen ones and electronic ones alike – contain many toxic chemicals. By recycling them, you keep chemicals such as mercury, lead and arsenic from harming the environment. Plus, many of these items can be reused to create new materials.
Because kitchen appliances, such as washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators, are often large and bulky, they take up a lot of space at a landfill. There are many junkyards that would be happy to take yours for free. Some manufacturers even offer free pickup for various appliances.
For electronic appliances, such as computers and printers, you can usually recycle these at office supply stores such as Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot for a small fee. Smaller appliances, such as cellphones or tablets, can often be recycled for free.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Although fluorescent light bulbs are energy-efficient, they do contain small amounts of mercury. If they are broken, they can release this chemical into the ground and air, which is not good for the environment.
This category includes items often found in garages and sheds, such as paints, gas, motor oil and pesticides. These items are highly toxic should never be thrown away. Instead, contact local hardware stores or automotive part retailer and ask if they offer any sort of recycling. If not, many towns hold recycling events for these types of substances.
This may seem like a surprise to many, but plastic bags should not be thrown away because they take a long time to decompose. They contain petroleum, which is not renewable. Instead of tossing them, take them to a local grocery store. Many have trash removal bins where you can recycle them.