Proper Disposal Guidelines for Household Items

Have you ever had an item you were getting rid of in your house that you knew might be hazardous or need to be recycled in a particular way, but just weren’t sure how to do it? Rest easy – we have you covered!

Many times at a client’s house we have encountered paint cans, lightbulbs, medications, computers, and many other items to dispose of. Here are a few of the most common items we see and what to do with them when you are ready to say goodbye.

Paint Cans – Latex paint is recyclable, but oil-based paint is considered household hazardous waste. Look for a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility in your area and they generally will take them for you.

Computers – These cannot be thrown away in the garbage or recycled in the way that we recycle other items. Computers and monitors can have materials in them that may cause harm to the environment. State and federal regulations can be very stringent when it comes to electronics. Many times you can check with the manufacturer of the product and they offer recycling or buy back programs. Local retailers such as Best Buy or Staples offer these programs as well.

Expired or Unused Medications - Medications are not recyclable but many pharmacies will take back medications to dispose of them properly for you. There are also many local Drug Take Back programs that are held in local communities several times per year that you can  take them to. Whatever you do, do not flush them down the toilet or dispose of them in the trash.

Small Appliances – Small appliances like toasters, microwaves and blenders can be a big environmental problem if you do not dispose of them correctly. You cannot throw them in the garbage or recycling bin. Similarly to computers, you can use an electronic specialty recycler for these items. Additionally, donation locations such as Goodwill will take these items if they still work and you can usually get a tax write off for donating them.

Overall, its tricky to know how to properly recycle certain household items, and even more difficult to find the proper people to dispose of them.  At Organization Made Simple, Inc. we have found www.earth911.com to be a great resource for determining recyclable items and finding proper locations to drop off items for clients. It is great to be enthusastic about organizing and getting rid of old items, just remember to do it in an environmentally friendly and safe way!