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You Can Recycle More Than You Think

Cleaning out doesn’t have to mean creating a mountain of trash. “Green” organizing involves making sure that as few items as possible end up in a landfill. So much of what we toss out is actually recyclable — you just have to know what materials can be accepted and where to take your discards.

Commonly Accepted Recyclables

Checkmark-Iconclear and frosted plastic bottles (grades 1 and 2 most likely accepted)

Xmark-Iconglass bottles, jars, and containers without the lids (brown, clear, and green)

Checkmark-Iconaluminum (cans and foil)

Xmark-Iconsteel cans (the kind that canned vegetables come in)

Checkmark-Iconplastic and paper grocery bags

Xmark-Icontires and rubber

Checkmark-Iconscrap metal

Xmark-Iconautomotive parts (either as scrap or for used rebuilt parts)

Checkmark-Iconthese sites also tell you how and where to recycle more exotic items (see below)

Xmark-Iconvisit,, or to find a drop-off near you

Drop Off Anyplace That Recycles Paper Goods

Checkmark-Iconwhite copy paper and office paper

Xmark-Iconjunk mail and colored paper


Xmark-Iconnewspaper and newsprint

Checkmark-Icontelephone books

Xmark-Iconcorrugated cardboard (not slick)

Harder To Recycle, But Not Impossible

Checkmark-Iconaseptic packaging (milk cartons, drink boxes, etc.) — call Coca Cola at 800-888-6488 for locations

Xmark-Iconrefrigerators, heat pumps, and air conditioners — have to be taken away by a certified hauler

Checkmark-Iconpacking “peanuts” — the Plastic Loose Fill Council offers a list of drop-off sites

Xmark-Iconpolystyrene packaging — the Alliance Of Foam Packaging Recyclers offers a list of drop-off sites

Checkmark-Iconcarpet and carpet padding — Dupont Antron has a program for recycling carpet

Xmark-Iconeyeglasses — the Lions Club accepts donations to fit with new lenses for the needy

Checkmark-Iconholiday cards — send to St. Jude’s Ranch to be made into new cards

Recyclable Technology

Xmark-IconGreenDisk has a program to recycle any media or computer components

Checkmark-Iconcompact discs and computer disks

Xmark-Iconcomputer equipment and components

Checkmark-Iconmagnetic video, audio, and data tapes

Xmark-Iconink and toner cartridges — choose from a number of recycling programs

Checkmark-Iconcell phones, cordless items, and rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries

Xmark-IconCall2Recycle offers a list of drop-off centers

Toxic Substances To Be Disposed Of With Care

Checkmark-Iconmotor oil, antifreeze and other automotive fluids — take to your local quick lube shop

Xmark-Iconhousehold cleaners, poisons, paints, and solvents — call your garbage company for advice

Checkmark-Iconlead acid batteries — take to an automotive shop or contact The Battery Council to find a drop-off center

Xmark-Icontake non-recyclables to a toxic waste drop off — do not put in the garbage

Checkmark-Iconsmoke detectors (contain radioactive material) — call First Alert at 800-323-9005 for instructions

Xmark-Iconfluorescent light bulbs and thermometers (contain mercury) — call your garbage company for advice

You Can Not Recycle — Don’t Even Try It!

Checkmark-Iconother grades of plastic (varies by local area)

Xmark-Iconwaxed, food contaminated, and oil-soaked paper

Checkmark-Iconstickers and plastic laminated paper such as fast food wrappers

Xmark-Iconpet food bags

Checkmark-Iconcarbon or thermal fax paper

Xmark-Iconsanitary products or tissues

Checkmark-Iconplate glass and mirrors

Xmark-Iconcrockery, china, or pottery

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2010

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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