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Dealing with Hard-To-Recycle Materials

Ethan Malone

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Just about everyone has at least a few things in their home that are difficult to recycle, with some of the hardest things being old CDs and DVDs, mattresses, and household hazardous waste. These are also things that for the most part cannot simply be thrown in the trash. CDs and DVDs are made of plastic and do not break down in landfills, mattresses are simply too big just to throw in the trash, and household hazardous wastes are too dangerous to carelessly throw away. Fortunately, it is still possible to recycle these items; it will just take a little extra work.

Recycling CD's and DVD's

With the rise of streaming video and downloadable music, CD and DVD use has been steadily declining. This will soon lead to a surplus of obsolete compact discs that need to be dealt with. Unfortunately, these discs simply cannot be mixed in with the rest of a home's recyclable plastic. CDs and DVDs are made from type 7 plastic, the most toxic kind of plastic available. Type 7 plastics contain polylactides and polycarbonates, some of which are too toxic for the average recycling center to handle.

Instead of simply being thrown in the trash, old CDs and DVDs should be sent to the CD Recycling Center of America. There is no charge for this recycling service, although the center does accept cash donations.

Recycling Mattresses

Although it is illegal to just leave a used mattress on the street corner, it's understandable why so many people do exactly that. There aren't many opportunities to recycle an old mattress, and most donation centers won't take mattresses unless they are brand new. Still, there are some options available when it comes to recycling old mattresses. A mattress that is still in decent condition can be offered for free on Craigslist or similar sites, and there are some recycling centers that can disassemble a mattress and reuse the majority of its components. Some people even opt to do this themselves; it's much easier to recycle pieces of springs and fabric than it is to find a way to reuse an entire mattress.

Recycling Household Hazardous Waste

No matter how "green" a family may be, they will still probably use some toxic household products. Unused paint, chemical cleaners can leach toxic materials into the soil or groundwater if they go into a landfill or down the drain. These should never be thrown in the trash, but they can be dropped off at certain recycling centers that accept hazardous materials. Some services even offer to pick up household toxic materials from homes for a small fee. There are such centers and services in most major cities, and they can be found with a Google search.

Sources:

http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2014/10/21/recycling-cds-dvds-what-to-do/

http://www.sfenvironment.org/article/toxic-products-disposal/toxics-product-disposal-for-residents

http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2015/03/09/what-to-do-recycling-mattresses/


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