Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Recycling Dangerous Items

You probably already know not to throw those old rusty paint cans that have lived in your garage for the past, oh, ten years in the trash; the same goes for the gasoline container hiding in the corner. Did you know that it is also dangerous to throw out compact fluorescent light bulbs, medications and other hazardous waste such as aerosol cans?

While properly disposing of these items may sometimes take a little extra effort, the following general guidelines can help you do so more easily:
  • Aerosol Cans. Empty cans can be recycled fairly easily through your curbside program or at your local recycling facility. Though partially full cans can be harder to dispose of, don't try to empty them yourself. Instead, see if your local recycling center will take them.

  • Car Stuff. Wal-Mart, Autozone, JiffyLube are just a few companies that recycle used motor oil and air filters. Often times, you can also return dead car batteries to your battery retailer, and they can recycle it for you.

  • CFLs. It's important to properly recycle fluorescent bulbs because they contain tiny amounts of Mercury. Drop CFLs off at any Home Depot or Ikea for free recycling.

  • Medications. Do not flush your medications in the toilet, or flush them down the drain because tiny amounts of pharmaceuticals are making their way into our streams, rivers, and lakes. Your best bet is to find a program that will take back unused medications. Some suggestions, ask your pharmacy or household hazardous waste (HHW) if they will accept old prescription drugs. Costco members can bring unwanted medications to one of its pharmacies.

  • Paint. Do your best to ensure that it gets used. Give it to a friend, use it as primer, donate it. If you cannot reuse it, then search Earth 911 for recycling centers near you. Otherwise, you might need to throw dried paint in the trash if it is not against the law in your community. Remove the lid from a latex paint can and let it dry out until it is completely hard. Take any oil-based paints directly to your household hazardous waste center.

(Courtesy of Green Yahoo)

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