Reduce, Reuse Recycle
You CAN make a difference!
Aseptic Packages-Just a fraction of U.S. Households can recycle these paper-and-foil juice packets through curbside recycling. You are welcome to ship clean, compact aseptic packaging for recycling to: BRING, Recycling, Reuse Warehouse & Business Office at 86641 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, Oregon, 97406 (541) 746-3023
Autos, Trucks, Trailers, Boats, Jet-Skis, Motorcycles, Snowmobiles, RV’s- Even if your vehicle does not run, lots of nonprofit organizations will take it. Vehicle donation programs will accept towable vehicles and pickup is free. Ask your favorite nonprofit organization whether it accepts vehicles. Habitat for Humanity does.
Batteries- Household Single use batteries: Across the country Batteries Plus stores accept batteries for recycling.
Rechargeable batteries: RadioShack and Office Depot accept batteries from wireless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, cordless power tools, digital cameras and radio-controlled toys at no cost. These are Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-on) and Small Sealed Lead Acid (Pb) batteries weighing less than two pounds. To find other nearby recyclers, try earth911.org.
Books- consider donating books to libraries, thrift stores or the International Book Project
Car Batteries, Motor Oil, Oil Filters, Antifreeze- Many auto-parts stores and service centers that sell these items will take your old ones for recycling, to find location near you, go to earth911.org. Nearly 40 states have laws ensuring your state’s status, go to batterycouncil.org.
Carpet and Padding- Find potential contacts and locations of carpet reclaimers at carpetrecovery.org.
Climbing Gear- Join the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation in supporting the Khumbu Climbing Center, a vocational program for Nepali climbers who work with climbing and trekking expeditions in the high Himalaya. Many Sherpas have perished in the Himalaya due to inexperience and avoidable mistakes. By teaching our fellow climbers how to be safe in the mountains, we hope to make climbing a safer way of earning a living for our mountain friends in Nepal.
Climbing is gear intensive. For the Sherpas to learn correct technique they need functional and up-to-date equipment. Please consider passing on your reliable gear for use in the Khumbu Climbing School & Center. A ‘biner here and a nut there… it’ll all add up! Gear we need: Helmets, carabiners, cordelettes, nuts, ice screws, crampons, ice tools, harnesses, headlamps Go to www.alexlowe.org, and read more about the Khumbu Climbing School. Email from the website to find out how to send in your gear.
Eyeglasses- Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, the optical stores at Sears or Target and your local Lion’s Club will take them. Refurbished glasses are delivered to developing countries.
Fruit Rinds, Veggie Scraps, Coffee Grounds, Tea Bags-Turn them into a rich compost for your garden or houseplants by starting a compost bin or worm bin – even in a large city, no matter how small your space is – go to www.compostinstructions.com.
iPods-If a friend or loved one does not want your hand-me-down and selling it on eBay isn’t your thing, consider Apple’s recycling program. Take an unwanted iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo to any Apple store. You’ll get a 10% discount price break on any new iPod and Apple says the oldies will be processed domestically.
Magazines, Catalogs, Phone Books- Friends or family may want the old magazines or many libraries and local coffeehouses will accept them for a second and third and etc. readings, make sure you cut out the address info first. Check with your curbside recycle programs to see if they accept these or see if your local recycling bins have one for these items.
Miscellany – Crayons, Art Supplies, Wine Corks, Fabrics-Many states have “materials exchanges” where odd stuff is collected and made available to the public for use. Outdated calendars, office papers that is used on one side, wallpaper, flooring samples, crayons and other stuff can be reused in creative ways. To find out if there is a materials exchange center near you, search Google for “materials exchange” or call your local hazardous waste department.
Newspaper, Aluminum Cans, Metal Cans – Curbside recycling programs traditionally accept these mainstays, if your does not, the nearest scrap yard wants them. Ask around to see if a local charity collects aluminum cans to raise money.
Paint- Your community’s household hazardous waste program will take paint cans and possibly recycle leftover paint into newly formulated paints available for resale. Some nonprofit organizations welcome usable paint, to check locally go to Earth911.org. Empty dried out paint cans and lids are often accepted in regular curbside recycling programs. Check and see.
Paper, Cardboard Boxes- Chances are that your curbside recycling program accepts more type of paper these days than just flattened cardboard boxes and newspapers. Los Angeles residents, for instance, can also recycle clean and dry computer paper, ledger paper, wrapping, art and craft paper, mail, flyers, telephone books, note cards, blueprints, magazines, file folders, paper bags, Post-It notes, catalogs and all envelopes with windows. They can also toss in “chipboard” boxes including empty rolls of toilet paper, cereal boxes, frozen food boxes, shoeboxes and detergent boxes.
Plastic Bags- Use supermarket kitchen bags as kitchen garbage bags or as pooper-scoopers for dogs and waste. Some supermarket recycle bags, check at the front of the store for the bin. Dog parks often invite the public to stock their makeshift pooper-scooper bag dispensers. Stock them with grocery bags, clean produce bags, those plastic sleeve-length bags that come with home delivered newspapers and crumb-free bread bags.
Plastic Containers- Community recycling programs often accept plastic bottles marked “1″ or “2″ on the bottom. Rules for other plastics vary wildly from place to place. Some places now accept plastic containers marked “1″ through “7″, check with your local recycling center.
Packaging “Peanuts”- Most UPS stores accept clean foam peanuts or search LooseFillPackaging.com.
Pots, Pans, Aerosol Cans, Aluminum Foil- In New York City, it’s the law; Residents must place all that stuff in recycling bins. Failure to separate them from the garbage or to clean up aluminum first can lead to a ticket. Many recycling programs do not accept any or some of these items. Los Angeles for example, takes the clean aluminum and aerosol cans, but not the rest. See your local scrap yard.
Printer Cartridges- First, save money by refilling the inkjet cartridges a few times through ink-refill services offered by such providers as printpal.com or CarrotInk.com. Then take exhausted ink cartridges to large office supply stores which will take them back and usually offer a discount on replacement purchases. PetSmart also has a inkjet recycling program and uses the proceeds for animal protection charities.
Smoke Detectors- They last only 10 years and contain radioactive Americium 241, so send dead ones back to the manufacturer with the words “Up for Disposal” and “For Recycling” on the package.
Videotapes, Floppy Disks, Zip Disks, DVD’s, CD’s, Jewel Cases- Ship them to Missouri via media mail, where disabled employees of the nonprofit Alternative Community Training erase and repackage donated media for resale under the GreenDisk label. Download a donation form from ACTRecycling.org. Or you can ship directly to GreenDisk through its Technotrash Pack-IT service, www.greendisk.com. You can ship up to 20 pounds for $5.95.
With thanks to Sally Deneen and the May June 2006 issue of E- The Environmental Magazine