Most of us know that we can recycle aluminum cans, plastic water bottles, and newspapers. But these are far from the only items that can be reused and recycled to keep waste out of landfills, preserve natural resources, and reduce other harmful environmental effects. Here’s a closer look at some often overlooked items that can (and should) be recycled.
Bulb recycling is a good way to protect the environment, in large part because of the many toxic materials found in fluorescent tubes, LED light bulbs, and other modern lighting products. Some bulbs even contain mercury, which can cause significant harm to the environment and human health if it gets into groundwater. Though older incandescent bulbs do not contain these harmful chemicals, they can also be recycled.
Batteries contain even more harmful chemicals than light bulbs, with everything from lead to lithium being found in different types of batteries. When these items end up in a local landfill, exposure to rainwater can cause them to rot and leak harmful chemicals into the soil. Recycling your batteries allows the chemicals and metals to be reused for other purposes, while preventing dangerous landfill buildup.
Many home or commercial painting projects finish with some paint left over. Though many homeowners benefit by keeping the extra paint in a garage if future touch-up work is needed, theatre programs can also benefit from paint donations for the creation of new sets. When such options don’t seem feasible, recycling will keep harmful chemicals out of the landfill and reduce CO2 emissions. Latex paint, in particular, can be readily worked into a new paint product or used as part of a new color mix.
Old furniture and appliances may look like an eyesore and not perform properly, but this doesn’t mean they should be thrown away. Many older furniture pieces can be donated to charity so they can be used by needy families. If a furniture piece is completely unusable, its wood and metal components may still be recycled and used for other means. Appliance recycling is especially important, as many refrigerators and other products contain harmful halogen gas. Recycling will ensure that the unwanted appliance is safely and properly disposed of.
Whether at home or in the office, there are more items you can recycle than you’d expect. Don’t make the mistake of sending them to rot in a landfill. By choosing recycling, you can protect the planet and ensure a brighter, more environmentally friendly future for everyone.