Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less. Even the most waste-con-scious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle. That’s why our editors spent the summer of 2007 investigating the state of waste management in our country, putting this list togther for you, explaining how we can get serious about the three R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling — and divert more waste away from landfills.
1. Appliances: B-thrifty accepts working appliances, www.bthrifty.com, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them. 800/YES-1-CAN, www.recycle-steel.org.
2.Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110, www.batteryrecycling.com.
3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local Freecycle.org listserv or on Craigslist.org for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, UsedCardboardBoxes.com accepts them for resale.
4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223,
5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to B-thrifty, call 703.496.5100. Donate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532- 1922, www.dressforsuccess.org. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.
6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling: www.ikea.com.
7. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249, www.playitagainsports.com.
8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at www.ban.org/pledge/Locations.html.
9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at www.videofitness.com.
10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.
11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340, www.epspackaging.org/info.html
12. Ink/toner cartridges: Recycleplace.com pays $1/each.
13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Bring them up to B-thrifty, located at 13412 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Woodbridge, VA.
14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000, www.recycleoil.org.
15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, www.collectivegood.com. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: www.donateaphone.com. Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927, www.reclamere.com.