>> Friday, March 6, 2009
I try not to blog on Friday nights because I would rather spend that time with my husband, but he's out getting us ice cream, and I haven't had much time to blog this week. So I'm going to get this out quick while I'm thinking about it...
On my recent post about recycling plastics, Emily noted that Ikea has recycling stations for batteries, plastic grocery sacks, and compact fluorescent lightbulbs. That reminded me of a few other things about recycling that I think are important. Not related to plastics, but since we're on the subject of recycling...
1. Household Hazardous Waste:
The reason Ikea collects compact fluorescent lightbulbs is they contain mercury, which makes them hazardous waste. There are many other common household items on the hazardous waste list. These items should not be thrown in the regular trash because they can leach harmful chemicals into our land and water. When I looked at the list of household hazardous waste a couple years ago, I was like, "Crap! I've been throwing that out for years!" So make sure you know what's on the list and how to dispose of it by visiting your city's waste management or recycling website. Here are some examples of household hazardous waste:
- automobile fluids / antifreeze
- cooking oil / motor oil
- fire extinguishers (dry chemical)
- fluorescent light bulbs
- fuel oil / lighter fluid / kerosene
- household cleaners /chemicals
- mercury thermometers
- paints / lacquers / polishes
- pesticides / herbicides / poisons
- photographic chemicals
- solvents / thinners / wood preservatives
Many electronics and appliances also contain toxic substances and should not be thrown into a landfill. If the items are not reusable and could not be donated, you should check your city's waste management or recycling website for instructions on how to discard those items. In Raleigh, you can recycle any electronics with a cord by taking them to one of the Multi-Material Recycling Facilities. This is especially important to know with the switch to digital for televisions. Don't throw your TV in the trash!
3. Know Your Recycling Program
Not every area recycles the same things, so make sure you know what's recyclable in your area by checking your city's waste management or recycling website. When I first moved to Raleigh, I wanted some clarification on what was recyclable, so I emailed my local waste reduction specialist, and she replied, "We always are happy to clarify rather than get items we cannot accept." The reason is that one non-recyclable item that goes unnoticed at the recycling center can ruin a whole batch of otherwise recyclable items. So please, please make sure you're only tossing things into your recycling bin that can actually be recycled in your area. In Raleigh, that means no bottle caps, no yogurt tubs, no pizza boxes, no paper towels...This is one of my pet peeves...
To summarize...check your city's waste management or recycling website!
(Okay, I didn't quite make it. My husband's been home about five minutes now...)