Sometimes eco-friendly recycling solutions are harder to figure out. Here are a few items that I often get asked about and ways to dispose of them responsibly.
Mattresses: These often go to a landfill, despite the fact that most of the materials can be recycled. Some full-service recycling centers will accept them. Retailers such as Sleep America and Emattress and some homeless shelters also have recycling programs.
Mercury thermometers: Many states don’t allow sales of this item because of the toxin inside. If you want to get rid of one, contact your local health department and ask whether it participates in an exchange program. A full-service recycling center might also accept them.
Cables and cords: These are considered electronic waste and contain materials that can be recycled. Many Best Buy stores will accept them, as will Goodwill collection sites.
Eyeglasses: When it’s time to get a new pair of eyeglasses, you may find that your old pair still could be used. Lions Club International successfully collects more than 20 million pairs a year and gives them to people who need them the most. Unite for Sight and New Eyes for the Needy also accept them.
Toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes: How many empty toothpaste tubes do you think you’ve thrown in the trash? What about old toothbrushes? Terracycle will pay for you to send them in. They can be made into plastic pellets and molded into everything from playground equipment to garden tools.