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We all know how to recycle newspapers and water bottles. But when it comes to other items, “many consumers either don’t know they should recycle, or they’re not aware of convenient recycling opportunities in their local area,” says Jennifer Boone Bemisderfer, a spokeswoman with the Arlington, Virginia-based Consumer Electronics Association. Many organizations, manufacturers, and retailers are making recycling easier. New York-based RecycleBank, for instance, provides an added incentive. By mailing in recyclable products such as cell phones and laptops, consumers receive points redeemable for discounts at retailers. “We’re rewarding people for greener actions,” says Melody Serafino, a spokeswoman for RecycleBank.
Air conditioners Call your local department of public works. Many will come and pick up such items with bulk trash. However, many municipalities hire a technician or used appliance dealer to remove the refrigerant prior to pickup. Check with your utility provider since some have incentive programs in which they’ll pay you a small amount, such as $50, for collecting certain appliances.
Batteries Retailers such as Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s have teamed with Call2Recycle, an organization that collects rechargeable batteries for recycling. To find other drop-off spots, call 1-877-273-2925 or go to www.call2 recycle.org. For single-use alkaline batteries, it’s harder to find recycling options, so contact your local waste management department. According to battery manufacturer Duracell, alkaline batteries can be safely disposed of in household trash.
Cell Phones Most major mobile phone service providers accept phones for recycling, including Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Some phone manufacturers such as Nokia and Samsung also accept old phones. There are websites that promote cell phone recycling through incentives including Charitable Recycling.com, which makes a donation to charity for every cell phone received, and CellForCash.com, which pays a small financial reward of $5 to $200-plus for some phones and personal digital assistants.
Computers Most computer manufacturers including Apple and Dell accept all computer brands for recycling. Some retailers including Staples, and Costco also recycle computers, though they charge a nominal fee of about $10.
Light Bulbs Find a recycling center at EPA.gov or mail in your old bulbs through LightBulbRecycling.com. Home Depot offers free recycling of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs in all of its stores.
Televisions Call local charitable organizations first to see if they’ll accept your old television. If they won’t, retailers Best Buy and LG Electronics will recycle TVs, as will many TV manufacturers.