Whether you have residential curbside recycling or you take your recyclables to a drop-off recycling center (or trailer), you can assume the following materials will be accepted:
· Plastic bottles and jugs
· Paper, newspaper, cardboard, paperboard, and magazines
· Aluminum Cans
· Steel Cans
Beyond these basic household items, recycling requires a bit of research to determine if an item is recyclable and where it can be recycled. Since I get a lot of calls from folks inquiring about harder-to-recycle items, I’ll try to sum it up for you with this quick list. Of course, you can always conduct a search of nearby recycling facilities by visiting RecycleAL.com.
Household Hazardous Waste (paint, lawn & garden chemicals, cleaning agents)—this is perhaps the most common call I get. While some municipalities offer either an annual disposal day or a drop-off location, many do not. Those of us without this option will have to get creative. If you have leftover paint or lawn chemicals, then perhaps you can find someone who could use it. Freecycle and Craigslist allow you to post items for free. If you have just a small amount of leftover paint, then it will need to dry before disposal. Simply paint it onto some scrap wood or cardboard. Small amounts of lawn chemicals can be absorbed into kitty litter or an oil absorbent (available at auto parts stores).
Automotive Fluids—most auto parts stores will recycle your used motor oil for free. However, finding a location to recycle other automotive fluids can be difficult. Fortunately, we have a few businesses in the state that will recycle your transmission, brake, and coolant fluids.
Alkaline Batteries (single-use batteries)—since 1996, these batteries have not contained mercury. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to recycle them. They can be recycled at various locations throughout the state. Next time you’re in the market for some new batteries, consider buying rechargeable batteries and a charger. If you’ve had a bad experience with rechargeable batteries in the past, it might be time to give them another chance. I use rechargeable batteries throughout my home (TV remote, clocks, and flashlights) and cannot tell the difference in performance. I even found a charger that charges the batteries in 15 minutes and it comes with a car adaptor for charging on the go.
Rechargeable Batteries—these are widely recycled by electronics recyclers, recycling centers, and hardware stores.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)—these swirly energy-saving light bulbs can be recycled at many hardware stores. Look for the collection container near the entrance.
Electronics—items such as computers, cell phones, stereo systems, flat panel televisions, and much more can be recycled at many locations throughout the state. Be sure to check with the recycler before bringing cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and televisions as these are often either not accepted or recycled for a fee.
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Monitors and Televisions—few recyclers accept these without charging a service fee. However, Best Buy stores will accept them if they are 32” or smaller.
White Goods (large household appliances)—many scrap metal dealers and recyclers can accept your large appliances for recycling. Be sure to call in advance to see if they’ll accept appliances containing coolant (i.e. refrigerators, air conditioners) and if they offer free pick-up.
Prescription Drugs—the DEA periodically hosts National Prescription Take-Back Days. The next one is schedule for Saturday, September 29, 2012, 10:00am to 2:00pm. Visit their website to find a participating location near you. (Note: Prescription drugs are not recycled, but are kept out of drinking water supplies through take-back programs. Please do not flush drugs down the toilet.)
While these are certainly among the more conventional hard-to-recycle items, stay tuned for my next blog entry which will cover items from shoes and bras to trophies and sex toys.