How to Recycle Common Household Items

Most people know to recycle their cardboard boxes, plastic water bottles and used milk cartons. But there are also a couple of unexpected items you probably have in your house that can - and should - be recycled.

Ink Cartridges: Whatever you do, don't throw ink cartridges in the trash! They have toxic chemicals in them that we do not want ending up in our landfills. Instead, take your used ones to a business supply store, like Staples or OfficeMax, and they'll recycle it for you. Some even give you a coupon to use on your new ink cartridge.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Just like ink cartridges, these light bulbs should not go in the trash. They contain mercury, which is something else that we really don't want in our landfills. Most hardware stores, like Home Depot (or even IKEA!), will recycle these. You can also take them to a hazardous waste facility where they can properly dispose of them. Unfortunately, there aren't very many programs in place to recycle incandescent or LED bulbs, so make sure to do your part with the CFL ones.

Batteries: There are quite a few states that have laws in place about how to properly dispose of your old batteries, so check out where you live here. And although, it's not illegal in every state, your batteries should not end up in the trash. There are usually stores that are designated as battery recyclers, so put your zip code in this locator to find a place where you can drop them off.

Aluminum Foil:  This one also may feel like a no-brainer, but the mistake a lot of people make is leaving food all over it. Make sure that if you recycle your foil (and we hope that you do!), that you've rinsed off anything that might be on it. Then, just throw it right in your bin at home.

Car Batteries: Surprisingly, car batteries are the most recycled item in America. So let's keep it up! Most automotive retailers have a recycling program for these, so you can just drop yours off there. The good news is that if you get your battery changed professionally, they most likely will recycle it for you as well.

Computers: After your new upgrade, give your old computer a better home than the landfill. Actually, nearly 100% of your computer is made out of recyclable materials, and certain retailers offer electronics recycling. Check Best Buy (who offers a great recycling program for all appliances - not just computers) or any electronics store that is near you.

Brita Filters: For a long time, there wasn't an efficient way to recycle these, but thanks to a couple of activists, you can now ship them right back to Brita for free. All you have to do is sign up for the program on their website and dry out your filter for at least three days. And they don't just recycle the filters. They'll take back any of their Brita products!

These are just a few of many items around your home that can be recycled! And although it can be inconvenient to drive to a collection site, you're doing your part to make this world a bit of a better place.


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