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How to Dispose of (Almost) Everything

If you're in the process of tidying up and organizing your home, you'll probably come across some items you want to get rid of, but you're not quite sure how to do so. Here's a look at how to dispose of some of those hard-to-get-rid-of items.

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Mattress and Box Springs

If you have an old mattress and box springs in good condition, consider selling it or giving it away for free on a website such as Freecycle Network, Nextdoor or craiglist. If you purchased a new mattress, see if the store will take your old mattress for recycling. You can also check with your local recycling center or garbage disposal service to see what their rules are with old mattresses and box springs. Yet another option is a junk removal company, like 1-800-Got-Junk?

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Cleaning Products

When it comes to getting rid of household cleaners, follow label directions. If there are no directions, here’s a rule of thumb, according to the EPA:

  1. If it’s a product that you mix with water, it can be disposed of down the drain with running water.
  2. Solid products, such as scouring pads, can be thrown out in the trash.
  3. For products such as oven cleaners and furniture polish, call the toll-free number on the label and ask.

You can also check with your local waste disposal facility if you’re unsure about a certain product.

You can make a homemade cleaner with a few simple ingredients.

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Batteries

Battery maker Duracell notes that if you live in an area with a recycling or collection program, contact them about their rules for battery recycling. Never dispose of large numbers of batteries at one time, and don’t mix batteries with other recyclable items. Here’s the proper way to get rid of 12 hazardous household items safely.

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Medications

Never flush unused medications down the toilet. To get used of unwanted or unused medications, the FDA recommends looking for local disposal options. Many communities periodically offer take-back events that allow you to drop off medications that officials will safely dispose of. Some cities and pharmacies also have fixed drop-box locations. To find an authorized collector in your community, visit takebackday.dea.gov.

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Tires

Want to get rid rid of those old tires? Call your local auto shop first and see if they are worth taking in to be retreaded or repaired. If you are getting new tires at a tire shop, see if they will recycle your old ones for you. Earth 911 says if you plan to recycle the tires yourself, remove the rim and wheel weights; these are both made of metals you can recycle as scrap. It’s illegal to throw away these items.

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Eyeglasses

The World Health Organization says millions of people in low- and middle-income countries don’t have access to basic health services, including eye care. If you have old eyeglasses to get rid of, contact your local Lions Club. They collect eyeglasses and get them to people around the world who need them. You’ll likely be able to find a drop-off location not far from where you live. This is the best way to remove scratches from your eyeglasses.

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Old Appliances

If you’re buying new appliances, see if the retailer will take your old ones to be recycled. Many donation centers, such as Habitat for Humanity ReStores, will also take appliances that are in working condition. If they aren’t in working condition, check with your waste hauler to see if they offer special pick-up services or if the appliances can be recycled curbside.

Check out this warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission about the danger to children from freezers, clothes dryers, refrigerators and other household items.

Here are additional tips for getting rid of old appliances.

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Used Motor Oil

Used motor oil is illegal to throw in the trash! Take your used oil to an oil change facility that accepts it, or to a household waste recycling facility near you. Mobile says that whatever option you choose, it’s always a good idea to call ahead first to make sure the facility is currently accepting used motor oil. Learn how to change your car’s oil yourself.

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Old Electronics

Call your local recycling center to see what the rules are regarding old electronics. Call2Recycle is a helpful website that allows you to find drop-off locations by just entering your ZIP code. Check with your local senior center or other donation centers to see if they are in need of older, but still usable, computers, televisions or DVD players. Here are 10 interesting facts about recycling electronics.

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Building Supplies

If you’re doing a home improvement project and have leftover building supplies or materials in good condition, donate them to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlet. Proceeds from these items help fund Habitat for Humanity homes. If there isn’t a ReStore location near you, there may be a local charity that could use the supplies, or you could sell them or offer them for free on Freecycle Network, Nextdoor or craiglist.

These organizations offer donation pick up for items you don’t want anymore.

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Old Linens

Used linens, including towels, blankets and sheets, are often put to good use at animal shelters and Animal Humane Society locations. Check with your local animal shelter to see if your old linens can be donated. More tips on how to get rid of stuff you don’t need.