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10 Things You Can Recycle That You Didn't Know About

Updated on October 13, 2011

From Computers to Washing Machines, There's a Way to Recycle Almost Anything!

You already know how to recycle the basics, like bottles, cans, cardboard and paper, but what about the not-so-everyday items?

Items like aerosol cans, cellphones and mattresses can still be recycled, but not curbside. Find out here where you can recycle these everyday items that don't have everday recycling methods.

Computers, Mattresses, Aerosol, Oh My!

*Batteries. These are essential to recycle and contain dangerous heavy metals and chemicals like mercury, so that cannot be tossed into the rubbish. They also can't be sent curbside. When you initially purchase your batteries, don't buy them for the long term. They expire and drain down even when not in use. Consider rechargeable batteries to lower the amount of batteries you consume. Gift idea: Buy rechargeable batteries (and a charger) for children that you give a toy to. It's a fun lesson for them, and you'll be spreading the word about this eco friendly alternative.

*Aerosol cans. The negative consequences of aerosol cans have been largely documented, but if you have some lying around, they can still be recycled! Take the cap off, be completely sure the canister is empty, and peel off the label, just as you would with your metal food cans. Send it curbside, or take it with you on your recycling center trip.

*Computers. A major reason many people do not recycle their computer is for security reasons. To tackle this hurdle, erase your hardrive. It's not as hard as it sounds, and it's easy for others to access your information even if you've deleted sensitive information from your computer. Erasing your hard drive isn't sending documents to the computer's recycling bin, so don't think that's all you have to do! After you're done with that, take a look at TechSoup's Tips for Donating your Computer, which also includes a list of places you can donate to.

*Mattresses. Even mattresses can be recycled. First, evaluate the condition of the mattress. If it's still perfectly usable, put the mattress on Craigslist or to find out what transfer station is closest to you that will accept the mattress. Call before you go to find out if they really do accept mattresses to save yourself the gas and the wasted trip.

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  • Cellphones. There are millions of cellphones floating around the world, many not even activated. There are plenty of organizations dedicated to recycling your cellphone. Like batteries, cellphones contain hazardous chemicals, so they need to be disposed of (or recycled) properly. If you're cellphone is still current technology, you maybe able to get a good price for it on eBay.

  • Washing machines. If you you think you need an upgrade on your washing machine, first evaluate whether you need a new washing machine or if it can be fixed. If it's beyond any repair, definitely purchase an energy efficient, energy star rated model. The front loaders are currently the most efficient and use far less water and electricity. To recycle your old washing machine, contact the retailer, or ask before you purchase your replacement to see if they'll take it to recycle.

  • Scrap Metal. Did you know that scrap metal is in huge demand? Clean out your garage, cellar, barn, attic or storage unit and bring it to a scrap metal dealer. Look up scrap dealers in to see where the closest one is. If you have LOTS of it, you may make some money, too.

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