Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hazardous Items Disposal

The many cleaners we need to dispose of as household hazardous waste.

After you go through all the "easy" stuff to giveaway, donate and sell you will start to come across the not so easy items.  Those that need to be washed, slightly fixed, or even those that are toxic. Hazardous waste items that require special disposal is actually a pretty large category nowadays.  Electronics (even including electric toothbrushes and toys), batteries, media items like CD's and ink cartridges, propane cylinders,  paints, solvents, automotive cleaners and fluids, household cleaners, aerosols (even hairspray), fluorescent light bulbs, mercury thermometers, pool chemicals, pesticides, appliances both gas and electric, tires, electrical cords and holiday lights now need to be properly disposed of or recycled .  Most states have household hazardous waste drop off facilities usually organized by what county you live in.  You can find Minnesota's drop-off facilities here.  

Many items can be dropped off for free, but some incur fees like old appliances (gas ones being more expensive than electric), tires, mattresses and TVs.  To avoid this we have had good luck with advertising on Craig's List for "scrappers" who want to come and take our used broken appliances away for their metal.  Usually we will say they are on our driveway and give out our address stating first come first serve.  We've never had to wait more than a day for them to be removed (but of course we live in a large metro area.)  Once we even found a local, really local (just a few blocks away from our house) woman who took old appliances for free for her business which repaired and then resold them.

Another possibility for disposing of hazardous material are libraries. Many have drop-off facilities for batteries in the form of a large garbage cans that look like a battery itself.  Libraries often also have a collection box for used eyeglasses which the Lions Club International recycles.  While not a hazardous waste item, eyeglasses that are an old prescription or style for you can still be used by someone else without the means of buying their own and the Lions Club works at facilitating this exchange.  Your old computers, cell phones, GPS etc. can also be dropped off at your local Best Buy store for proper recycling at no charge to you.  For painting supplies you can sometimes find a reuse center like Habitats for Humanity ReStore.  They have a latex paint recycling program called Mix it Up where they mix together paints based on color, sheen and use (i.e. interior vs. exterior), filter it and resell it.  They of course also take any leftover building supplies, old windows, doors, cabinets, sinks and even working appliances.  Really a great resource for donating.  The more we can keep items in use and out of the landfill the better don't you think?

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