ABC's of Recycling,

S is for Sneaky Surprises (to Avoid!)

Jul 31 2023

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ABC’s of Smart Recycling: Letter S

Tips on how to avoid a recycling FAIL by keeping all those sneaky no-no’s out of your Blue Bin!

If you’ve followed our blog for the last 18 months, you know a LOT about how recycling and waste handling works in our area. But there are a few sneaky items that sometimes end up getting sorted into the wrong bin.

Here’s what to watch out for:

1.) Things Hidden in Your Mail

Bulk mailings sometimes contain odd items like mock-credit cards made of plastic, pennies, nickels, dimes, dream catchers, and even cloth or plastic bags.

These materials should NOT be tossed into mixed paper recycling.

Always open your mail and make certain there’s nothing but paper in there!

2. Sneaky Batteries

Be on the lookout for the tiny batteries in items that are reusable or recyclable. They fit in medical devices like hearing aids, but also can be hidden in greeting cards that play music or record a message. More strange places batteries hide? Kids’ light up shoes. Heated socks, gloves and jackets. And concert/party shirts that light up.

If it lights up or makes noise, make sure you remove the battery before you donate or recycle that item.

3. Disguised electronics

Keep an eye out for everyday electronics that could creep into your trash. Things like electric toothbrushes, old TV controllers, and all those noisy kids’ toys should be taken to electronic recycling and not thrown in the trash.

Take electronics to a recycling location or event near you.

4. Concealed Toxins

Old fashioned thermometers, whether they are for taking your temperature or for checking the weather outdoors, often contain a dangerous chemical: mercury. And that’s not the only place mercury can be found in your home. Thermostats manufactured before 2006 used up to 3 grams of this dangerous toxin. Fluorescent light bulbs are another common source. And did you know gas-fired appliances, like your oven or water-heater, may also contain mercury? Anything containing mercury should be taken to HHW for proper disposal.

Mercury isn’t the only dangerous chemical hidden in our homes. Smoke detectors use a small amount of radioactive material to do the job of detecting smoke. Even though the effectiveness of the detector only last about five years, that radioactive material is dangerous a LOT longer. Old smoke detectors should be brought to SCARCE for proper disposal (fees apply).

Take anything containing toxins to the HHW facility near you.

Recycling and proper waste handling can feel tricky. Now that you know what to watch for, you can call yourself a Smart Recycler!

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