Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Five Items to Keep Out of the Trash

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parks trashEven if you’re a recycling and composting expert, you may find yourself wondering about the trashability or recyclability of certain rather ambiguous items. If they’re any of the following five things, the answer is to keep them away from the garbage pile.

Cans of Paint

If you live close to a hazardous waste collection center, you can drop your used cans of paint off to be cleaned and recycled. If you happen to live in Oregon, California, or Connecticut, not only am I surprised you found this blog, but I can also tell you that legislation exists in your state requiring paint companies to take back latex and oil-based paint. Either way, alternatives to trashing paint are a real thing.


If you don’t have any friends who want your old electronics, you can take them to stores like Best Buy, Staples, or any store that has a drop-off program for unwanted stuff.

Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable Batteries contain lead acid and nickel cadmium, and should be recycled at a safe location.


Compact fluorescent lightbulbs contain mercury, a hazardous waste that shouldn’t be in a landfill (here in Washington it’s actually illegal to throw them out with regular garbage). You can recycle them at waste-collection facilities, retailers with recycling programs, as well as through mail-back services.

Automotive Fluids

Here’s another hazardous-waste issue item. Some automotive centers will take back unwanted motor fluids, otherwise you can just find the hazardous waste disposal center nearest you.



One thought on “Five Items to Keep Out of the Trash

  1. Great post, when these items end up in the garbage they cause huge problems. The advice is just as applicable here in the UK as the USA. Most of these are so easy to dispose of correctly with a little thought.