Top 5 – Solutions to Recycling Problems

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Most of us know how to recycle the usual stuff like plastic milk jugs or aluminum cans. So what do we do with some of the other items that we don’t think we can just toss in the recycling bin? Never fear! Here are Top 5 Solutions to Your Recycling Problems.

1) Light Bulbs
CFLs – or compact fluorescent light bulbs – should never be thrown away because they contain a small amount of mercury. There are several big companies which have convenient drop off sites and will recycle them responsibly. Lowes, Home Depot, and Ikea stores will get the job done for you. Many full service recycling centers will also accept them.

2) Plastic Bags & Baggies
The last thing you should do with plastic bags and baggies is to throw them away. That’s because it will take them thousands of years – if ever – to break down in a landfill. Instead, reuse them first. Even the smallest plastic baggies can be rinsed out and used again. Since most curbside recycling collection services don’t collect them, you can return most plastic bags for recycling at most grocery stores. And get this, most grocery stores (along with Wal-Mart and Target) will also accept most plastic sandwich bags, cereal bags, newspaper bags, and all types of plastic wraps. Just make sure to check with your particular store for details.

3) Batteries
Batteries should never be thrown away because of the heavy metals they contain. They can contaminate land and water. Instead, get those prized materials recycled responsibly. Only a handful of curb-side recycling programs will accept batteries but there are many retailers and full service recycling centers that will take your old batteries. Earth911.org and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation both provide online directories to help you find battery recyclers near where you live.

4) Tattered Clothing
Most of us have given away box after box of good clothing to Goodwill or other charitable organizations. But what about old clothing or other things like rags, bedding or towels that are too worn out to be re-used? Well, Goodwill wants them too. However, the textiles cannot be wet or contaminated with chemicals. These items are sorted and sold for recycling or many other uses such as sofa stuffing.

5) Ink & Toner Cartridges
Every year, hundreds of millions of ink and toner cartridges are used in this country. And, 70% of those end up in our landfills! Printer cartridges are actually easily refilled and recycled. You can also get paid to turn in your old cartridges. You can earn anywhere from a few cents to $20 or more per cartridge. There are a number of online sources that will supply a pre-paid shipping label to mail accepted cartridges in exchange for cash. Or you can turn in your used cartridges for recycling at Office Max, Staples and Office Depot and earn a $3 store credit for every accepted cartridge.

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