How to recycle unusual items

You likely know about recycling cans and bottles, but what about those uncommon items like fluorescent bulbs, half-empty paint cans, or old medications? Read on to learn how to properly dispose of those unusual personal and household items.

Unused or expired medicine and prescriptions
Some medications can be very hazardous to others and the environment. Do not flush old medicines down the toilet or leave them in your cupboard.

Benefits:
  • Improve water quality
  • Reduce drug-related crime
  • Prevent prescription drug abuse
  • Prevent accidental poisoning, especially in children and pets
Many pharmacies will take unused medications. Find a drop-off location near you.

Intact eye glasses and hearing aids
Has your eye prescription changed or have you gotten a newer hearing aid? Donate your unused items to help others see and hear the world around them.

Benefits:
  • Help those in need and others in underprivileged countries enjoy better vision and hearing
  • Reduce waste in landfills
Contact your local Lions Club to learn more about donating eyeglasses, and visit the National Hearing Aid Project to donate a hearing aid.

Household hazardous materials
This includes items like waste oil and filters, drain or oven cleaners, household cleaners, paint, weed killers, herbicides, and pesticides.

Benefits:
  • Avoid environmental hazards and protect scarce natural resources
  • Reduce the nation's reliance on raw materials and energy
Learn more about how to dispose of hazardous waste, and search online for drop-off locations near you.

Lights, bulbs, and ballasts
Many people do not realize that fluorescent bulbs release hazardous chemicals when broken. Proper disposal is important.

Benefit:
  • Keeps mercury-containing products out of waste disposal streams
Many utility companies will accept your old light bulbs, as well as many national retailers including Lowes, Home Depot, IKEA, and most hardware store chains. Other items that should be recycled include holiday lights and extension cords.

Plastic bags and plastic film

One of the biggest pollutants in our landfills and oceans is plastic bags. Additional items include plastic product wrap used to package paper towels, diapers, bathroom tissue, water bottles, electronics, and other items.

Benefits:
  • Conserve energy
  • Keep bags and wrap out of our landfills, streets, and the environment
  • Plastic bags are recycled into many different products, including composite lumber, small pellets, and resin used in a variety of products including new bags, pallets, containers, crates, and pipes.
Search for local drop-off sites.

Do your part to protect our world and recycle when possible.

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