Sunday, August 23, 2015

Where I Take "Hard to Recycle" Items

One thing I love to do, other than "green stuff" is to declutter. There's just something about getting rid of old stuff you no longer need or that clutters up your life and your space that's so freeing to me. And I'm not talking about just moving it from one pile to a cute little organizer box, I mean get it out of my house.  Unfortunately that's not always easy to do. Some things require proper disposal, others turn into nagging tasks, and some do you don't even know where you could take them if you wanted to get rid of them

That's where I come in. Considering my passion for decluttering + green living you can bet I've got a few green tricks up my sleeve when it comes to properly disposing of those "hard to recycle" items you might have sitting at home.  From light bulbs to old TVs and even those cans of paint, I'll share where and how I take my "hard to recycle" items to be disposed or recycled in an eco-friendly way so that you can have a cleaner house and take care of the Earth.

So let's start the drop offs! I'll share where I went, what I recycled, and links to find out if it's available in your area. 

No time for the video? Check out the pictures here...

Drop-off #1: Lowe's Home Improvement Center
Item to be recycled: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
In my green journey, I started out using compact fluorescents and then have recently made the switch to using more LED lights, which left me with a bunch of old CFLs. These light bulbs freak me out because of the mercury...I'm just certain that I'm going to drop one and contaminate myself with mercury or something (never mind my irrational fear of CFLs!). Anyways, we found out Lowe's takes CFLs so I boxed up all the ones we had and took them down to the store.
Find out more here: at about the recycling services available in your area.

With my box of CFLs at Lowe's. 

Here's the little recycling area they had near the customer
service entrance of the store. The instructions said to bag
up the light bulbs and then drop them in the slot at the top.
Luckily we were able to put several lightbulbs in one bag,
instead of just one per bag...we would have been there all day!

As you can see they take rechargeable batteries too!
Drop-off #2: Best Buy
Item to be recycled: Old flat screen TV
This thing has been sitting in my basement for almost 2 years since it stopped working and I was so happy to cross it off my nagging task list! At first I thought I would take it to my city's electronic recycling program, but it costs $5 to do that. So I checked the Best Buy site and they said they would take it for free, all we had to do was drop it off. So that's what we did. Brandon carried it inside and when we got there an employee helped us load it onto a cart and away we went...without the old TV. Yeah! So long TV, hello more space in my storage room.
Find out more here: at about the recycling services available in your area. According to their website they take most electronics and even some appliances at no cost, and you don't even need to have bought it at Best Buy.

Good bye old flat screen TV. 
Drop-off #3: Target
Item to be recycled: Old cell phone and MP3 players
Well I probably could have taken these to Best Buy as well, but I knew Target had a recycling kiosk and I wanted to check it out. As you can see below they take MP3s, cellphones, ink cartridges as well as plastic bags, and other recyclable bottles. All I had to do was bring my old cell phone and two old iPods in and drop them in the appropriate drop box. Done!
Find out more here: at about the recycling services available in your area.

Recycling kiosk at Target.

See ya later old cell phone and iPods.

Drop-off #4: Ripple Glass
Item to be recycled: Glass bottles and jars
Since I'm pretty plastic-phobic, I use a lot of glass when purchasing my food. From spaghetti sauce jars to jelly jars and these things add up! Now in my pre-green days, I chucked my glass containers into the trash and didn't think twice about recycling them because they weren't included in my regular recycling pick up that got the usuals (paper and plastic). But then I learned a fact that changed my thinking forever about glass recycling...when you throw glass into a landfill, it NEVER breaks down!

Say what?! So that pickle jar you just tossed in the trash will stay in that state, essentially forever, and unlike food, paper, or plastic waste that will break down will not. For me this was a glass recycling game changer. Now I feel this ping of guilt when I go to toss a glass jar into the trash and I stop myself and think, "it will never break down!" Ahh! Then I switch gears, give it a rinse in the sink and then put it in my glass recycling container in the garage. Whew...that was a close one.

Need an extra incentive to recycle the glass, just know that glass is 100% recyclable and it can be recycled ENDLESSLY! (read more as to why you should recycle your glass here at the Ripple Glass website)

Lucky for me, in the Kansas City area we have free drop off facilities available all around our metro area with a company called, Ripple Glass. Ripple Glass has a number of drop-off bins often found in local grocery store parking lots, which collect the glass from consumers and then it's taken to their processing plant. Some of the glass is turned into fiberglass insulation, and some is recycled back into more bottles.

I love having a place to take my glass to be recycled locally, how about you?

Find out more here: at about the recycling services available in your area.

Drop-off #5: Cartridge World
Item to be recycled: Printer Ink Cartridges to be refilled
While there are many locations to take old printer cartridges to be recycled, I instead, like refill and reuse them. Here's a local place I've found that I take my cartridges to be refilled. Back when I first started going here several years ago, I had to drop of the cartridges and then come back later to pick them up. But as they have grown more popular there are more cartridges available, so they basically take my old cartridges, save them for other refilling, and then give me cartridges that match my printer that are already filled and ready to go. So no more waiting, but still the savings and reusable factor.

Speaking of refilling my printer ink instead of buying new ones I save $11! For new ink on Amazon, my ink would be $36...$15 for black ink and $20 for color. But at Cartridge World, it's $14 for color and $11 for black. Love it.

The only downside I've heard is that sometimes people have trouble with the ink cartridges not working when installed in your printer. I've ran into this once or twice, but the key is to save your receipt. Usually if it's within 30 days of purchase they will replace it for you for free as long as you have your receipt, so be sure to save that just in case.

Find out more here: at to learn more about them and see if you can find one in your area.

My local Cartridge World. 

What the cartridges look like after they have been filled. 

The black ink I use.

Installing the newly filled cartridges into my printer. 

Good to go and ready to print.

Drop-off #6: Hazardous Waste
Item to be recycled: Old paint, lawn care products, batteries, old cleaning products, toxic flea spray
This by far is my favorite group of things to "recycle" because it clears my house of toxic items that I do not want around. Now you may be thinking, "You're Ashley's Green Life, what toxic products could you possibly have?" But I do still have some. Most come from my husband (since I'm still persuading him to try out some greener lawn/pest care products), and others come from common household products like old paint and batteries. For this specific time, I had some of the "toxic" flea treatments and sprays we tried when our dogs had fleas last year that I was more than ready to get rid of.

Now you may be wondering, why not just toss these items into the trash, who cares? But actually dumping those products in the trash or pouring them down the drain can cause harm to animals, people, and the community. So luckily most counties/cities have programs available to help you dispose of your "hazardous waste" properly. In specific county, it's free and I don't need an appointment to drop off all the items I listed above. For example, the place I take my hazardous waste products collects: automotive fluids, batteries, fuels, household cleaners, lawn and garden products, pesticides, as well as paint and related products.  They do not accept: explosive yard waste, medical waste, commercial waste, pressurized gas cylinders, asbestos, tires, and appliances.

Take a look at the pictures below to see what it was like when I dropped off our load this time around...

Find out more here:  Check out the Hazardous Waste Facility in my county here, or search "Hazardous Waste Disposal" in your town or city to see what's available.

The sign for the Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Center

What we were taking: old paint, lawn care products, antifreeze, flea spray,
fertilizer spray, old spray paint. 

I hated seeing all the old cans of paint from when we painted our rooms, so
I just kept small jars that I labeled with chalkboard labels so I can
keep a small amount if it's ever needed for touch ups. 

You can see I named it
by the room it's in and the paint color. 

Much smaller and more compact for storage than large paint cans. 

I also brought a box of old batteries to recycle at the Hazardous Waste Facility. 

My local drop-off center. 

You just pull up under this roof and then they meet you to start unloading
your load.

Here's a view inside of the facility (through my door window).  ( :

That was all we had to do there, drive up, they unload it, (after checking our ID to make sure we live in the county) and then we drove off with our hazardous waste-free car.

I love dropping this stuff off specifically because it feels so good to get it out of my house. i just feel cleaner and greener without it all just sitting around collecting dust and taking up space.

So that wraps up where I take my "hard to recycle items" and boy do I love how much cleaner and greener my house feels. Where do you take yours? See any place new you might try? Do you have any more to add to the list? Share below. And if you have an item you still aren't sure where to recycle it at, you can always check out: where you can type in the item you want to recycle and your zip code and then find the closest place you can drop it off to be recycled or disposed of properly.

Happy recycling!

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