Cell Phone Disposal
The average cell phone user replaces his or her phone every 18 months. But what happens to their old phone? This infographic from Living Green Magazine shows exactly what happens when users replace their phones.
It turns out that 40% of people keep their old phones as a spare. While this seems like the smart thing to do, you might not even realize that you have multiple cell phones in a box at the back of your closet.
Unlike other types of waste, electronic waste (e-waste) can be harmful if left to decay. Phones, and other electronics, are made up of valuable and precious metals that can not decompose in a landfill.
Benefits of Recycling Phones
If you recycle your e-waste at a local recycling center or store, like Best Buy, the materials will be sourced. In addition to plastic, cell phones contain copper, gold, silver, and palladium, which can be broken down and reused.
You can also consider sending your phones overseas to developing countries. Not only will it help people communicate, but it also creates business opportunities. According to the infographic, “When 10 more people out of 100 in a developing countries use mobile phones the GDP rises by .59% per capita.”
Cell phone companies have also run campaigns to raise awareness about recycling. For example, Nokia donated money to various causes and offered free music and games to people who donated. Still, the large majority of people are holding onto phones.
What’s stopping you from recycling your phone or donating it to a good cause?
Spring Cleaning Disposal: Auto Parts
By now we hope you’ve cleaned out your closet, emptied your medicine cabinet, and cleared your basement of paint cans. You also might have started to think about recycling your roof shingles.
Your house must be spotless at this point, but have you forgotten about your beloved automobile? While, as a dumpster delivery company, we don’t consider ourselves leaders in auto repairs, we do like to share some advice on cleaning up your cars.
First, visit your local auto repair shop for a regular car check-up. People tend to forget to check their spare tires, but that’s an absolute must. Plus, it’s about time to start thinking about that air conditioning system.
So, what if your car is past repair and is sadly sitting (dead) in your driveway?
If you’ve been holding onto a car for way too long, you know. Your neighbors know it. Really, everyone does. Once you’re over the initial mourning period, it’s time to decide what to do with your car.
First find out if it’s worth it to sell the car to a dealership or a service like Carmax.
If it’s really beyond repair, then start considering other options. You can visit a local scrapyard that will give you money in exchange for metals and car parts. For a list of your local scrapyards, visit our homepage and click on the town closest to you.
While some car parts can directly be placed in your Roll-Off Dumpster, others require special disposal instructions. Visit our FAQ page to find out what items are prohibited. Additionally, contact your local recycling center to find out if your car parts could be repurposed.
Visit Earth 911 for more information about recycling various car parts.
Just need a good cleaning?
If you don’t want to spend the money to get your car professionally cleaned and detailed, there’s plenty of products available to clean your cars at home.
Take the time to clean out the inside of your car. Vacuum the interior and try using cotton swabs to clean out smaller areas. Use a damp cloth or mild cleaner to wipe off the interior surfaces. Use a dry, soft cloth and some non-ammonia glass cleaner to clean the windows, inside and out.
For the outside of your car, find a soap specifically made for cleaning cars and mix it into a bucket with water. It’s worth it to buy a quality sponge for car cleanings. Clean the car section by section so you won’t miss a spot, and hose off the sponge before dipping it back into the bucket. Once you complete a section, hose off your car and dry with a cloth.
You then might consider applying a polish, tire shine, and trim preservative.
Now with a clean and safe car and home, you’re off to a fresh start…just in time for summer. Almost.
Spring Cleaning Disposal: Recycle Your Shingles
Did you know that roof repairs and replacements produce 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste each year in the United States?
That’s a lot of shingles!
Luckily not all shingle waste has to go to the landfill. Asphalt shingles can be recycled into making highways and parking lots. Some states regulate shingle recycling, and many companies will collect your extra shingles.
Even if recycling is not required, roofing contractors should be doing it anyways. In fact, recycling 11 million tons of asphalt roofing shingles is the equivalent of saving 11 million barrels of oil.
Roofing contractors can do their part by recycling their shingles or donating unused shingles to Habitat for Humanity or other organizations. Contractors should take accurate measurements to reduce roofing wastes and costs.
Even as a homeowner, make the effort to ask whether or not your contractor is recycling. It’s a simple step towards improving the environment.
For more of our spring cleaning disposal tips, check out our posts for clothing, electronics, medicine and paint.
Spring Cleaning Disposal: Clothing
Spring cleaning is all about getting a fresh start so why not clean out your closet and eliminate those wardrobe pieces that you just don’t wear anymore? Plus, clothing is essentially 100% recyclable. While Americans are recycling 3.8 billion pounds of clothing a year, this only accounts for about 15% of clothes that are disposed and the remaining 85% ends up in a landfill.
The Decision Process
You know that article of clothing that you’ve “been holding onto” for years but haven’t worn? Well, now’s the time to toss it. If you want to make room for new finds you must first part with the old. If you haven’t worn it in months, then you probably won’t wear it again.
The Recycling Process
This is the easiest way to get rid of clothing. First think about any friends or family members that might want to go through your closet. There’s always a friend of a friends that’s looking for clothes, especially when it comes to expecting mothers on the search for baby clothes.
Then of course there is the option of dropping your piles of clothes off at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Your donations will be sold at low cost, making it affordable for low-income families. Even if your clothes are too worn or damaged to be sold, these donation sites will send away your stuff to get recycled.
If you’re looking to make some extra money to replace your wardrobe, then consider selling your clothes. You can post your collection up on Ebay or place an ad on Craigslist.
There are also sites that make selling your clothes even simpler. Threadflip allows you to transform your closet into your own “personal boutique.” The site makes it easy to sell your old clothes and buy news ones.
If you’re not expecting to make much money from selling your clothes, you can always consider swapping. Some secondhand shops like Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet will offer you store credit or cash for clothes.
You might even be able to search for local swapping events where you can drop off your clothes and take home finds from other people’s closets. There’s also Facebook swapping groups where you can post photos of your clothes and take a look at what other people are trying to get rid of. If you’re looking for some unique finds this is a great option. There’s also websites that make the swapping process easier, like Bib + Tuck.
With social sharing sites like Pinterest, there’s no reason that you can’t turn an old t-shirt into a tote bag or use extra fabric to make a headband or other accessory. Seriously, it’s pretty much the sky’s the limit when it comes to the potential you have with a bag of old clothes. You might even be able to get a few unique gift ideas.
Looking for more information from our Spring Cleaning Disposal series? Find out how to dispose of Electronics, Paints & Medications.
Spring Cleaning Disposal: Paint
Finally it’s starting to feel like spring. The weather is heating up, the sun is out and hopefully you are making the conscious effort to clean up your house.
This week we want to talk about paint disposal. You may not even realize that you have half-empty paint cans in your garage or basement. Remember you started repainting your house but then “something came up.” Just accept that it’s probably time to get rid of these paints and start fresh.
Before we get into details about paints, remember that you might be able to donate the leftovers. Contact some local programs like, Keep America Beautiful or Habitat for Humanity, to determine if your paints can be used for a project.
Types of Paint
Before we get into details about the hazards of paints, you must first determine what kind of paint you have. Oil-based paints are considered Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) and are not suitable for reuse after storage. However, you may have latex or water-based paints that are not considered harmful.
To determine what kind of paint you are dealing with, read the labels. An oil-based paint could be labeled “oil based” or “alkyd.” The instructions may also suggest that you clean brushes with turpentine or mineral spirits. These paints can be harmful to your health and the environment. The EPA states the following:
Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.
On the other hand, latex paints do not post the safe risk. These paints can often be washed off with soap and water.
Handling paint disposal varies for the two types, and it’s always a good idea to determine if any local laws govern the disposal of paint. Never EVER pour paint down a storm drain, into a body of water or on the ground. Just keep it in the can. You also should not put your liquid paint out for trash collection or try to burn it.
Because these paints pose some potential harm, you’ll need to take them to a recycling center. Visit Earth911 and input “oil-based paint” with your zip code to determine where you can take your paints. You can also contact your local City Hall for more information.
If you need to get rid of your latex paints, you’ll first want to turn it into a solid. If you only have about a quarter of a can left, leave the lid off and keep the can outside (out of the way of animals and children) until it dries up. Then you can safely disposed of this solid waste with the rest of your trash. Just make sure to keep the lid off, otherwise trash collectors may not pick it up.
If your paint cans are a little bit fuller, use the paint on scrap newspaper and then dispose of your painted paper. You can also add kitty litter or some clay-based material to the paint, mix it in and let it sit until it becomes solid.
Visit the EPA’s website for more information about disposing of harmful waste.
Don’t miss out on our previous spring cleaning posts about throwing out medication and disposing of electronics.
Spring Cleaning Disposal: Medicine
Following with our spring cleaning disposal theme, this week we’ll talk about disposing of medicine.
It’s a good idea to go through your medicine cabinets every few months and dispose of medicine. Many medications come with disposal instructions, but this isn’t true for all of them. If you have old medicine sitting around, it’s time to throw it away.
There’s a few issues that make medication disposal a little tricky. First of all, some drugs that are placed in the garbage could harm other people or animals. You never know who could be going through your trash.
Some medications come with specific instructions to flush them down the toilet. This is because they could be fatal if taken by others, especially children. While some argue that this could leave trace amounts of drugs in the water system, the FDA has compiled a list of approved flushable drugs. Still, there hasn’t been much research on the topic so, if possible, you may want to avoid flushing medication.
When you first go through your medicine cabinet, carefully read the labels. Some will instruct you to flush any extra down the toilet and others may say it’s safe to dispose of in the trash.
Find out if there is a medicine take-back program in your area. The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) schedules drug-take back days, where participating locations collect prescription and over-the-counter medications. This year’s take back day is April 27, 2013.
If you do dispose of medicine in your trash, make sure to scratch off any personal information that might be on the label. The FDA also says that if no instructions are on the drug label and there is no drug take-back program in your area, throw the drugs in your trash but follow some easy steps:
Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
For more information on safe medication disposal in your area, visit the FDA’s website.
Spring Cleaning Disposal: Electronics and Batteries
It’s about that time to start thinking about spring cleaning. While you might be able to donate old clothes and furniture to a charity, there are many household items that you’ll need to trash. At Roll Off, we want to make sure you aren’t improperly disposing of waste that could harm the environment.
Even some household products that seem harmless can be toxic and dangerous. For the next few weeks leading up to spring, we will address how to properly dispose of household objects.
This week we’ll talk about electronics and batteries.
If electronics are thrown into a landfill with normal trash, hazardous material can leach into the Earth. Plus, in many cases materials are burned, and plastics and metals that are burned can enter the atmosphere and disrupt the food chain.
Items like computer monitors and television sets may contain lead and metallic compounds that have harmful health affects on animals and humans. Many electronics made up of plastics contain harmful carcinogens that can damage human and animal reproductive systems.
States have different laws about disposing of e-waste; for example, Pennsylvania dumpster law states that you disposing of electronic waste in public landfills is illegal. This is a result of Pennsylvania’s Covered Device Recycling Act.
Stores, like Best Buy, offer recycling programs. In some cases you can exchange electronics for gift cards. Additionally, many office stores have bins for collecting recyclable batteries and electronics.
A location near you might have an e-waste recycling center. We have information on Philadelphia e-waste disposal, Norfolk e-waste disposal and Annapolis e-waste disposal.
For more information about electronic waste disposal, visit the Environmental Protection Agency.