When You Can’t Keep It: Hazardous Item Disposal
There’s a lot of things that are worth keeping. Maybe something that increases in value, or something that holds sentimental qualities, or something that you swear you’ll need one day. But sometimes, you just have to get rid of stuff. While the garbage can is suitable for most of these things, certain items require special care during disposal, either for you or the environment. Here are some tips for getting rid of potentially hazardous items.
You’ve probably thrown away a fair share of batteries in your time, whether it’s from a kid’s toy or the TV remote. While alkaline batteries are generally safe to throw away, things get a little complicated once you get into bigger stuff.
Most charities are happy to accept old computers and the like, but some items – like cell phones or old PDAs – have outlived their usefulness. Most of these devices contain harmful substances like mercury, cadmium, or lead that can get into groundwater.
These devices should always be given to a special recycling center; you can find one near you here.
Cars and motorcycles are unique in that even if they no longer run, somebody can make use of the parts. You can likely sell it to a local junkyard for cash; at the worst, it can be broken down for scrap metal.
But if you must throw it away – and sometimes before those places will accept it – you have to do some prep work. Fluids must be drained and recycled; your local garage will probably accept it. Under no circumstances should antifreeze or oil be dumped outside.
Speaking of chemicals, not all of them are automotive in nature: weed killer, old paint, insecticide. Most major cities have recycling centers that accept these chemicals. Check your town’s website to see where you can drop these chemicals.
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