5 Items You Shouldn’t Trash

Most of us fall into the habit of disposing of all of our household items when they’ve broken, expired, or simply are no longer useful. But for environmental and safety reasons, here are five items that need to be disposed of with care:

1. Old batteries: Batteries contain chemicals like alkaline, zinc, cadmium, and nickel. These chemicals can be hazardous if a battery deteriorates, so take your old batteries to a hazardous waste center.

2. CFL lightbulbs: CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they require different care once they burn out, because they contain mercury. Take them to a waste center.

3. Paint: Water-based paint is OK to be thrown in the trash. But oil-based paints can be hazardous. You could take them to a hazardous waste center, or you could donate the paint—community centers and non-profit organizations are a good start.

4. Electronics: Replacing your computer, or just getting rid of old junk? Instead of throwing your old electronics straight in the dumpster, take them to an e-waste center, or consider donating if the items are still useful.

5. Smoke detectors: Make sure to replace them every 10 years. Ionization smoke detectors actually emit a small amount of radiation, so you should mail them back to the manufacturer.

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