When it comes to tossing things like junk mail or banana peels, there isn’t a lot of mystery involved — those are pretty clear-cut recycle, trash or compost situations. But there are a number of common household items that don’t belong in your trash can. Here are four to watch out for:
Batteries: Since they’re small, it’s easy to just toss your batteries in the trash. Don’t do it! Batteries contain metals such as alkaline, zinc, nickel and cadmium, so they shouldn't’t be thrown in with the rest of your trash or recycling. Instead, bring your batteries to your local Household Hazardous Waste facility and let the professionals handle it. Note: Some retail stores, such as Walmart and Ikea, also participate in battery recycling programs.
Electronics: Have you been eyeing that 60-inch flat screen at Best Buy? We say treat yourself to it! But don’t immediately chuck your old TV into the dumpster. The same goes for other household electronics like DVD players, laptops and printers. These items should be taken to an e-waste center. For more information, visit the EPA website here
CFL Light Bulbs: These energy-efficient bulbs are great for the environment, but they also contain a little bit of mercury, so they’re not safe to throw in the regular trash. Take them down to the Tera leasing office instead.
Paint: Buying the perfect amount of paint for a project isn’t easy, so a half-empty bucket or two is pretty common. Water-based paints aren’t hazardous, so they can go out with your regular trash. However, oil-based paints contain a number of chemicals that have special disposal needs, so be sure to take them to your local HHW facility (or try donating them to a local charity or nonprofit such as Habitat for Humanity).
To find the closest HHW facility, click here