Whether it’s an old refrigerator or prescription medicine, there are probably items cluttering your home just because you don’t know how to get rid of them properly. To get your home back in order, we’ve put together this list which outlines how to dispose of or recycle these ten common household items you just don’t know what to do with.Not only will getting rid of some of this clutter help make room for anything new you’ve purchased, but it will also make you feel good that you’re not just moving the clutter to the landfill.
In addition to cluttering your medicine cabinet, unneeded or expired prescriptions can be dangerous. We used to be encouraged to flush these unwanted pills down the toilet, but this is no longer the best route. Commit to cleaning out your medicine cabinet regularly and drop prescriptions off at a pharmaceutical take-back event, which are typically hosted by local law enforcement agencies or hospitals.
From toasters to washing machines, appliances that are in good working condition can be donated to a church or a childcare center, and could qualify for a tax write-off. If the appliance doesn’t work, consider recycling it through a certified e-waste recycler, or see if the EPA’s Energy Star Program offers a rebate for recycling the item.
3. Books and Magazines
Instead of tossing unwanted books and magazines into the recycling bin (or, worse yet, the trash pile), consider donating them to your local library. Another option is to donate them to a private organization that will distribute them locally, nationally, or internationally. If you have gently used children’s books, contact the schools in your area and ask if they accept donations.
4. Compact Florescent Lamp (CFL) Bulbs
CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, so they’re considered hazardous waste and therefore can’t be thrown in your curbside trash or recycling bins. But, there’s a good chance they can be disposed of at your local hazardous waste facility or through your recycling service provider. Alternatively, many Lowe’s stores accept CFLs for recycling.
5. Power Cords
Do you have a drawer full of power cords and chargers you haven’t needed in years? Use a site like Search Earth911.com to locate a nearby recycling center or e-waste collector that accepts these items instead of throwing them out. If they’re still in working order, you can also try to sell them on sites like Craigslist or eBay.
When it’s time to upgrade your TV, consider donating your old one to a homeless shelter or other facility that helps those in need. Another option is to take it to a large electronics store like Best Buy to have it recycled . Many communities also have donation days where you can drop off old, used televisions and they will reuse them or recycle the pieces safely.
7. Hazardous Household Waste (HHW)
Chemicals like paint, pesticides, and cleaners contain potentially hazardous ingredients, so you shouldn’t pour them down the drain, in the gutter, or put them in a trashcan. Instead, contact your local government and ask if there’s a nearby HHW collection site, or if the city designates a day when citizens can drop off HHW at a specified location.
8. Paper Products
To cut down on the paperwork that clutters your home and minimize the risk of identity theft, buy a quality shredder and use it regularly. Take shredded paper to a secure drop off location, or dispose of it at a community shredding event. You can also recycle your shredded paper by adding it to your compost pile.
9. Old Towels
If your linen closet is packed with towels you no longer need, consider taking them to the local animal shelter where they can be used to dry animals off after a bath or for bedding. You can also take them to a local homeless shelter or charity organization.
10. Computer Ink and Toner Cartridges
Major business supply stores like Staples will recycle your ink and toner cartridges for you, and then provide a discount off the purchase of new ink and toner. Another way to recycle ink and toner cartridges is to mail them to a company that will refill them and sell them back to you at a reduced cost