6 Things You Shouldn't Throw In The Trash

6 Things You Shouldn't Throw In The Trash

Everybody’s got stuff.  A lot of stuff.  And we’re acquiring more stuff all the time, so we all need to discard some stuff on a regular basis.  In most cases, it’s fine to simply toss unwanted stuff in the trash.  But there are some household items that shouldn’t end up in the trash for health and safety reasons.  

The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of stuff that shouldn’t go into the trash (https://www.epa.gov/hw/household-hazardous-waste-hhw), but here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common items:

1. Electronics

As technology advances, we’re all left with devices that are obsolete, and we’re tempted to dispose of them with the rest of the household trash.  The problem is many of these devices contain lead, cadmium, and other materials that can be toxic, so it’s best to find a local electronics recycling center when it’s time for them to go.

2. Some Household Batteries

Many communities now permit disposal of regular alkaline batteries with common waste, but they still contain toxic chemicals and metals, so it’s recommended to check to see if your community has an established program for recycling alkaline batteries.  Meanwhile, though, rechargeable batteries, “button” batteries, and uninterruptible power supply batteries should always be taken to a household hazardous waste facility. 

3. Paint

Leftover paint should never be poured down a drain; most paint contains toxic chemicals, and besides, it can cause blockages in your drain.  The prescribed method is to open the can and let the paint dry, then take the can to a household hazardous waste facility.

4. Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs – both the tube kind and the curly kind – contain mercury, so they should be taken to a household hazardous waste facility for disposal.  Old-style incandescent bulbs can be trashed with other household trash.

5. Lawn and Garden Chemicals

Lawn and garden products are safe when used as directed, but leftover products shouldn’t end up in the trash, because the chemicals they contain can find their way into ground water.  Either share products with neighbors or dispose of them at a household hazardous waste facility. 

6. Pharmaceuticals

Years ago, it was common practice to flush any unused or expired medications down the toilet.  However, it was later discovered that these drugs were ending up in the drinking water in numerous locations.  For safe disposal, check with your pharmacist, local police department, or search for a local pharmaceutical take-back program.  

In summary, owning stuff is a fact of life in our world.  But it’s also a fact of life that how we get rid of unwanted stuff matters.  To all of us.

A logo for a property inspector

Description automatically generated

(770) 932-8634

Reprinted with permission from Frank Cooper of Atlanta Property Inspections

Insights Home