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Home > Garbage and Recycling > Home Garbage  

Garbage and Recycling: Home Garbage

recycle pics
Even if you do your best to recycle, reuse and reduce, there may still be items in your home that just can't go to the recycler. Here are some tips how to handle that waste.  


home garbageEven with best efforts, there are still disposal items that simply will not go to the common recycler. Since regulations have changed over the past few decades, we can not just throw everything else in our trash.
     So, how do we deal with the unusual things that no longer have any use? There are many options and more created all the time. Let's break it down.
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Remodeling Waste
  • Toxic and Hazardous Waste
  • Other
Couches, chairs, mattresses, love seats and so on furnish our homes and apartments. These items are usually a combination of foam, cloth, springs, leather, wood and so on. Where can these items go when you are finished with them?
     A lot of furniture can find new use when given to a thrift store, office or charity. Sometimes, even if the furniture is broken, they will take them and either repair them or use parts for other furniture. Usually, the really dirty, stained and ripped items are beyond salvageable for use as furniture again.
    If the item can not be salvaged as new furniture, there are companies that can strip down the items and recycle them. Ask your garbage service provider or you can look at Earth911 for places to take your furniture. 

Major appliances include: washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, freezers, washer and dryer and dishwasher. Many people have these appliances installed by the company that sold them the replacement. Many of these companies will also haul away your old appliance. Sometimes, you will receive a rebate for replacing these "less efficient" older appliances so it is worth checking out. If you can not get a rebate and/or the installing company will not haul away the appliance, there could be local companies that recycle the appliance.
     Small appliances include: toaster, vacuum cleaner, blender, coffee machine, microwave, BBQ/Grill, hand mixer, hair dryer, electric toothbrush and much more. Like the major appliances, these items can find new life either repaired or recycled. However, most stores will not take your old appliance when you buy the new. There are very few rebates for these items as well. We suggest you start by seeing if a charitable organization will take them. Many will tinker with the appliance and repair it. If they can not repair it they will probably recycle it.
     These days, there are so many companies involved in recycling your appliances that they are not hard to find. Again, you can call your garbage service provider or take a look at some of these links. Find rebates. Earth911 on major appliances. Earth911 on small appliances.

Remodeling Waste
OK, you have picked out your patterns, colors and furnishings. You have set a budget, created a plan and got the contractor and permits. Have you given any thought to where the demolition materials are going to go? These materials can be: concrete, wood, drywall, metal, brick, glass (windows and mirrors), stumps, earth, rock.
     We believe that hiring a good contractor is a very green thing to do. We say this for 2 reasons. Reason 1: you will not need to hire a second contractor 6 months later to rip out and fix what the first contractor did (creating more waste). Reason 2: a good contractor will know where to take your construction waste so that it is responsibly disposed of. See our section on Contractors to learn about hiring them.
      For the do-it-yourselfer you should know that these days there are many types of waste facilities. In other words, there are specific "landfills" for construction and demolition (C&D). Sometimes your materials can go to the municipal solid waste landfill (conditionally exempt small quantity generator) but you should consider getting your materials to the C&D landfill. Also, if you think that the materials are still somewhat usable, consider donating your materials to Habitat for Humanity. They may even help with your demolition. Check the EPA site for more information on C&D materials. Go to Earth911 section on construction materials.

Toxic or Hazardous Materials
These materials include: insecticides, paints, paint thinners, automotive fluids, fluorescent lights, herbicides, fertilizers, some treated wood, pool chemicals, some batteries, asbestos and more. These items are not generally accepted at curbside or your landfill, so where can they go?
     Don't panic. Many transfer stations and landfills will have designated drop areas for much of these material. A quick call or visit to your garbage service providers web site will tell you what materials they will accept in separate areas at the facility.
     Many hardware stores will take your old fluorescent lights and paints. Your local PUD or other utility might take a few items. Oil/lub places may take your used oil and other auto fluids. Tire stores might take your old tires.
     Another possibility is that your town might have a "household hazardous waste collection day". An annual event where your garbage provider contracts with a company to accept your hazardous and toxic waste. Companies like these already have a place to send your waste so that it will be recycled or disposed of properly. Click to see the EPA lists of hazardous wastes. You can go to Earth911 to find places to drop off specific wastes in your area.

There are other household wastes not covered here. Check out the following links:


Items in our "Waste and Recycling" section.

  • Recycle Centers:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Composters:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Vermicomposters:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Garbage Bags:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Recycle Kits:
    Home Recycling ________________



Check out these pages for more details: