We rarely think about the trash we throw away on a daily basis. It’s second nature to take a plastic wrapper, throw it in the garbage bin, and prepare your bags for weekly pickup. And most of the things you throw away on a regular basis fit this system just fine.
However, even if you rent a dumpster, there are some household items that you can’t simply throw away. You’ll need to take them to a specialized facility if you want to dispose of them properly.
Why Can’t You Throw It Away?
First, why can’t you throw these items away?
The exact reasoning will depend on the specific item, but generally:
The most significant factor is the environmental damage that’s possible if you throw the item away without much consideration. In some cases, the material has the potential to leach into the soil – or even contaminate the ground water. Heavy metals, chemicals, and other substances then have the potential to kill various forms of wildlife and plants, resulting in major (and often irreversible) environmental damage. In some cases, if these elements find their way into the drinking water, they can even have an impact on human beings, ultimately resulting in physical harm and/or birth defects.
Many of these environmental effects can be easily avoided if the material is properly recycled. Breaking down the material to its base components and reusing them can completely negate this potential harm. Similarly, some of the items that follow are rare or have rare components; if these resources are finite, recycling is vital to ensure sustainability.
3. Legal consequences
If you’re not persuaded by the above two points, you should at least be persuaded by the fact that there are often steep legal consequences for irresponsible disposal of certain items. Depending on where you live, if you’re caught throwing away something that could potentially cause environmental damage, you could end up with a hefty fine – or even face jail time.
Household Items You Shouldn’t Throw Away
These are some of the most common household items that you should never throw away:
1. Paint (and related products)
Oil based paint is highly flammable and contains chemicals that may be harmful for the environment. The same is true of many products similar to paint and related to paint, such as paint remover, varnish, stain, and other coatings.
If a battery goes dead, your instinct may be to toss it in the trash. But batteries contain heavy metals and other hazardous materials that can damage the environment.
Almost all manner of electronics can be harmful for the environment. They frequently contain heavy metals and other toxins that are rare and can get into the soil and groundwater.
Gasoline, oil, and other types of fuel should not be thrown away. They’re chemically volatile and flammable – and dangerous for the environment.
5. Light bulbs
Fluorescent and CFL light bulbs often hold mercury – a deadly material for many species. They should be disposed of responsibly.
Note that this is only a partial list, and there are many more items in your home you shouldn’t throw away carelessly. Review manufacturers’ warnings and waste policies in your area before throwing a questionable item away.
What to Do Instead
So what should you do instead of throwing these items away?
1. Use up
In some cases, you’ll have the opportunity to completely use up the material in question. For example, you can simply pour the rest of your gasoline into your car’s fuel tank and not worry about disposal in the future.
You may also be able to sell the item to a third party. For example, if you’re upgrading your refrigerator, you can probably sell your old one for cash and let someone else get more use out of it.
If you’re an artist, an engineer, or if you’re creatively minded, you could even upcycle some of these materials. For example, you could turn your old electronics into a sculpture, a collage, or a similarly physical work of art.
4. Properly recycle
For most consumers and most items, the best option is to properly recycle the item in question. You can head to a local recycling facility and drop it off – and in some cases, get some extra money for doing so. There may also be designated drop-off points for specific items, which you can find at local businesses or some recycling centers.
Being a responsible citizen means handling your waste responsibly. It doesn’t take much time or effort to learn which items in your house can’t be thrown away and follow those rules. If you do, you’ll protect the environment, stay well within the law, and possibly make some extra cash to boot.
Article Submitted By Community Writer