DO | Recycling Hard-To-Recycle Items

Before my daughter was born, I was tasked with turning our guest room into a baby’s room and turning my office into a guest room. That meant giving myself the difficult task of getting rid of close to 50% of what I had stored in my office – wedding invitations from years past, tons of pages of magazines, newspaper clippings from high school, and a whole bunch of stuff that looked great under the lid of a pretty box.

In addition to the paper items, which were easy to discard, I had a menagerie of other things, including a pile of electronics that no longer worked or were compatible with anything we currently used. Plus, I had a second generation IBM computer which I had asked the previous homeowners to leave with me because it reminded me of the one I grew up using. Once I tried to use it, however, I learned it didn’t get past the initial screen and I didn’t have a new boot disk. At that point it was simply a very heavy door stop.

Since I needed to get rid of these things instead of moving them to another corner of the basement, and I knew I couldn’t simply toss them in a garbage bag and be done with it, I researched my options. Lucky for me, Best Buy has a recycling program which allowed me to drive up and drop off the items (you’re technically supposed to bring them in but they took pity on me since I was close to giving birth). Their comprehensive recycling program takes more than just electronics (see below) and it’s so much better than putting these things in the trash.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.26.30 PM

Since then I’ve found a few other items that I didn’t usually think twice about putting in the recycling bin, but as I’ve tried to increase my consciousness of doing things properly, I have looked into the correct ways to recycle items that seem as though they’d be no-brainers but turn out to be, well, brainers.

Toothbrushes: Though the toothbrushes I tend to use are a combination of plastics, they’re not necessarily toss-able into your recycling bin. I found a company that accepts toothbrushes and more (food packaging, office supplies, and personal products) but you have to sign up and mail them in.

  • Terracycle
  • Bogobrush – provides recyclable and biodegradable toothbrush options, plus a buy one give one program

Lights/lightbulbs: I had no idea there were so many ways to recycle lights. Lucky for the Earth I pulled a broken string of lights out of the garbage bin before they headed to the dump.

Cartons: I knew coated paper wasn’t recyclable, so I thought that transferred to milk and juice cartons as well. I begrudgingly toss them into the garbage can, cursing the lack of facilities. That’s not always the case. Many of these cartons have the recycling symbol on them with the caveat “if there are facilities in your area.” Here’s a site where you can find out more about your local carton recycling options.

Here are a few sites that will help you find locations for recycling many different products in your local area:

Thanks for your interest in making the world a little bit greener!

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