When we work with clients, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is, “How do I get rid of ______? Can I recycle it?” Whether it’s batteries, lightbulbs, paint or electronic waste, people so often want to discard their items responsibly, but are unsure of how to go about it.
It’s been a summer of crazy weather and it’s becoming more and more clear that climate change is directly impacting all of us. The small choices we make may seem inconsequential, but if everyone makes an effort, the results can be tangible!
Below we have some good tips and links to places that will take care of your hard to recycle items.
We encounter a whole lot of bubble wrap through the course of our work as move managers. The good news is that bubble wrap IS recyclable! The bad news is that it isn’t recyclable in your curbside bin. So you do have to go through a couple of extra steps, but it’s nothing too difficult or inconvenient.
You simply have to take your bubble wrap to a participating drop off location, typically a local grocery or home improvement store. Not sure if your store is a drop off spot? Type in your zip at plasticfilmrecycling.org and you’ll likely get a ton of options for where you can take all of your film packaging such as bread bags and wraps, plastic grocery bags and yup, bubble wrap!
***Before you recycle, consider gifting your bubble wrap to a friend or neighbor who may be moving! The best solution for all plastics is to keep them out of the waste stream in the first place. Facebook Marketplace or other local groups can be great resources to pass on useable items.***
There are so many different types of batteries in our homes these days and there are different solutions for each kind.
Single use batteries such as AA, AAA and 9 Volts -alkaline or lithium- can actually be thrown away in your regular trash now that they no longer contain mercury and other hazardous materials (unless you live in California where it is illegal to put any type of battery in the garbage). You, can however, easily recycle them! National chain stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and Staples all accept single use batteries for recycling. You should definitely call ahead to make sure your local store is a participating drop off location. Or go to earth911.com where you can, again, enter your zip code to find stores close to you.
You can’t put rechargeable or cell phone batteries in the garbage but you can recycle them at most of the same places you take your single use batteries. Another great resource for finding sites close to you is call2Recycle.org. With just a few seconds of research, you can easily find a place that where you can responsibly dispose of all your batteries.
Incandescent and halogen lightbulbs can both be thrown directly into the trash given that they don’t contain any hazardous materials. They can’t be put into your recycling bin because of the wire filaments inside the glass. Out of consideration for your sanitation workers, wrap the used bulbs with other disposable materials to prevent injury from broken glass.
LED lights can also be thrown in the trash but you may be lucky enough to have a local recycling center that will accept them. They don’t contain hazardous materials, but recycling is always the optimal option. One amazing option for all those Christmas LED lights is holidayleds.com. All you have to do is box up your old lights and send them off. The company will do all the recycling for you and you’ll get a coupon for new lights!
Fluorescent tube lights and compact fluorescent lights (the curlicue ones) cannot be put into the garbage. They contain small amounts of mercury that contaminate soil and ground water if thrown into the trash. Again, your local Lowe’s or Home Depot may accept them free of charge, but call ahead to be sure. In addition, many municipalities have a hazardous waste day where you can safely get rid of these types of lightbulbs.
RecycleABulb.com is also a great resource for finding drop off locations for CFLs.
Painting is such an affordable, easy way to upgrade your home. But inevitably you end up with leftover paint. What’s the best way to get rid of it? Depends on the type.
Latex paint can be thrown in the trash if you let it dry out first. If there’s just a bit left in the bottom, open it up, let it sit in the sun and that should be sufficient.
If you have more than that, you can add kitty litter to dry it out even more.. But if you have a decent amount left, you should consider donating it to a Habitat Restore if you have one near you.
Oil based paints should be treated differently, as they cannot be put into your regular trash. They are considered hazardous household waste and must be disposed of at a proper facility. To find one near you, go to paintcare.org and enter your zip code.
The good news is that if properly sealed, most paints will last up to ten years. So seal it, label it and keep it for touch ups!
The bottom line is that getting rid of some of your household waste may take an extra step or two, but for the good of the planet, it’s not just a good thing to do, it’s the right thing.
If you need help with the many many items we all have in our homes, hazardous or otherwise, our Love Your Home Again course has everything you need! Learn how to declutter, organize and make your home a space that brings you peace and happiness! Get started today!