Get rid of household hazardous waste—and maybe even make a quick buck off your other junk

Consumer Reports News: March 23, 2013 11:23 AM

You've neglected it for ages, but now's the time to get rid of the household hazardous waste—oil-based paints, pesticides, automotive fluids, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and more—that's lurking somewhere in your home.

Improper disposal—pouring liquid waste down the drain or even putting items out with the trash—can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health, says the Environmental Protection Agency. The key is to dispose of all that stuff safely during the upcoming annual municipal or county recycling days in your area.

In New York City, for example, during the Sanitation Department's SAFE disposal days, residents can bring in select solvents, motor oil, flammables, and other materials. Check the website of your municipal or county government or call the local department of public works for disposal details where you live.

You probably have some dated electronics gear around your home, too. But before you bring it to your town recycling center (aka "the dump"), find out whether you can get money for those gadgets from brick-and-mortar or online retailers. If your unwanted gear has no real value, then recycle it.

You might also be able to turn old appliances from energy hogs into cash cows. Utility companies such as Con Edison and government agencies, including New Jersey's Clean Energy Program, will pay you for dated refrigerators and freezers. The programs will send someone to your home to remove the appliance, which has the benefit of getting inefficient appliances with ozone-depleting coolants off the grid.

Paul Eng


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