Sunday, November 29, 2009

Out with the old and in with the new and greener!

You've adopted greener habits, separated your plastics from your papers, and taken care to have a more ethical impact on the environment. However, you may still be coming up short on ideas on what to do with the products you have lying around that are considered hazardous wastes. These items include medications, aerosol cans, paint, and more; but instead of throwing your hands up in the air and giving up, here are ways to best take care of said products.

As for used aerosol cans that may still have some residual product in them, because they could potentially explode around an open flame it is best to ask if a nearby household hazardous waste center will accept them. You can find a deposit site nearest you online, and if you are in the United States, you can go here: but if the cans are empty, then they are free to be placed with a regulal recycling collection company. If you've got automotive products such as motor oil, filters, or dead batteries, you can often take them back to the retailer you bought them from for some sort of trade in value or at least proper recycling of the product. Stores such as Wal-Mart, Autozone, and JiffyLube all accept your used motor oil and will properly dispense of it for you.

Hopefully you will be switching out your fluorescent bulbs and replacing them with greener alternatives, but where to take those used bulbs? Because of the mercury present in them, you need to be careful to take them to a proper recycling spot. Home Depot and Ikea both take these CFL bulbs, and you can do an online search for other alternative sites near you. As you've no doubt ditched your old polluting household cleaners and other chemicals, you'll want to
take care to not simply throw them away in the trash or ever dump any of them down a sink. Again, these should be taken to a proper place equipped to handle hazardous wastes, and you'll check for a site the same way you did for those aerosol cans.

Outdated or unused medicine cluttering up your bathroom cabinets? It's never a good idea to wash them down the sink or throw them in the toilet, as whatever was in the pills will only make its way into the water system. So, head to the internet to see what kind of options your own local government has to offer. You can further return to where you were prescribed the pills, or the pharmacy that you picked them up from and see if they are willing to take them. In fact, Costco pharmacies have this very service if you are a member there. And finally, paint doesn't need to make its way into the trash. Paints that are oil-based need to be taken to a household hazardous waste site, but an even better alternative is to donate your left overs to a worthy cause. A charity like Habitat for Humanity is always seeking donations.

In ridding your house of not so eco-friendly products you need to take care to dispose of them with the same aim for an ethical impact on the earth as you are applying when buying greener products. Taking a few extra steps and precautions to ensure that these wastes don't become further pollutants in an integral part in improving your carbon footprint.

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