Living Green - How To Dispose Of Those Outdated Items

April 12, 2012 - Updated: April 12, 2012


It's time to clean out your basement or garage and you have the same dilemma as everyone else. How do you get rid of all those unwanted items but not contribute to the local landfill site? Household waste does not necessarily have to become garbage. By using the 3Rs, you can make
an environmentally sound decision.

Here are five of the most commonly outdated items that people still have and a quick solution to
see them disappear.

Telephone books keep being delivered year after year when all that information is easily available on-line. Not to mention they are probably starting to pile up on top of your refrigerator or desktop. Your curb side recycling bin will take care of that. Then consider calling your telephone company and request they stop delivery. The books will be recycled and used again for some other purpose.

When it comes to footwear, if you haven't worn them for several months chances are you won't ever wear them again. Instead of dropping them at the curb with the rest of the garbage, consider donating them to a local charity. Especially if they still have a lot of life left in them. Most cities and towns have at least one drop-off box that will accept used clothing items. Old athletic shoes can also by recycled and the rubber used to create several types of sports services. Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program accepts old athletic shoes at several locations across Canada.

If you've still got an 8-track player in the basement do you think you'll ever use it again? Or that computer from the 1990s that is still hanging around? Time to get rid of the old space wasters. Electronics have valuable metals that can be recycled and may contain hazardous heavy metals such as mercury. Instead of adding to the landfill site many large electronic retailers will accept your old stereo or computer and dispose of it properly. In addition, most municipal governments now offer several days each year when they will collect electronics for recycling. Check your local municipal website for pickup dates.

If you have a library of old VCR or cassette tapes, or even CDs or DVDs, it will take a little more effort  to have them go away. Since these items for the most part are not recyclable, many experts suggest donating them to charitable groups or a library if they contain appropriate material.

Finally, take a look in your medicine cabinet. If you have old or expired medication you will want to be sure to dispose of them correctly. Never flush them down the sink or toilet. That will only add to environmental concerns. Throwing them out with the trash is an equally bad idea that could lead to accidental poisoning or drug abuse if they fall into the wrong hands. Speak to your pharmacist. Many pharmacies have 'take-back' programs that accept old medication for proper disposal.

Recycling and reducing your carbon footprint is easy if you are aware of the options. Check with Environment Canada and your provincial Environment Ministry for more information on how to properly eliminate unwanted items while ensuring our environment is protected.

Tagged with: household waste garbage recycling reduce recycle 3rs environment article
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