by Deborah Niemann
Recycle Your Gadgets
Remember, your old electronic gadgets create e-waste that must be recycled by a qualified recycling company. It's free, and some of them will even pick up.
Batteries pose a significant environmental threat and must be disposed of properly, not in the trash. Fortunately, it's more convenient than ever to drop off your used batteries:
Don't put leftover paint down the drain! Here are some easy options for proper disposal.
Did you know that nearly a third of what we throw away is packaging? Reduce your impact on the local landfill by:
- bringing reusable bags when you shop
- buying in bulk whenever possible
- using refillable water bottles
- learning how to properly recycle the rest
Follow these links to learn more
Have you replaced an appliance with a new, energy-efficient model? Congratulations! Use this link to find out how to recycle your old appliance, working or not.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog is authored by EPA employees who share their unique perspective on environmentalism and personal experiences in protecting and improving our nation's water, land, and air.
Don't Need It? Swap It!
In the midwestern town where I grew up, people routinely deposited their unwanted goods - furniture, appliances, lawn mowers, bicycles - at the curb, where they magically disappeared. We didn't even need to slap a "free" sign on it because it was understood that anything placed at the curb was up for grabs. My first apartment was furnished largely from curbside finds.
In California, this practice is discouraged, if not prohibited, but people still need to get rid of or acquire "stuff" that has useful life remaining. Check out these organizations for help.
Medical Waste Disposal
Unwanted or expired medications and medical equipment such as syringes and needles are hazardous to the environment and should never be disposed of in the trash, flushed down the toilet, or poured down the sink.
For proper disposal, you can:
- Find a collection facility at Cal Recycle.gov
- Take them to your local police department or the Sheriff's Office
- Ask if your pharmacy or medical facility accepts these items
Books are difficult to recycle due to the glues used in their bindings, but you have a number of options:
It is illegal to dispose of universal waste with regular trash.
Universal waste includes:
- Household Batteries
- Fluorescent Bulbs
- Mercury Thermometers
- Microwave Ovens
- Cordless Telephones
- Cellular Telephones
- Answering Machines
For a complete list of products and local options for reuse/recycling, see Universal Waste Recycling.
Bonus: You can recycle your old cell phones by donating them to Project Second Chance, the Adult Literacy project of the Contra Costa County Library.
About the Green Zone
In October 2009 the Pleasant Hill Library embarked on an exciting new partnership with the City of Pleasant Hill to promote reuse, increase recycling, and help the city reach its goals for diverting solid waste from landfills. This resource guide is intended for use county-wide to find solutions for any recycling dilemma.
But "green" means much more than just recycling - be sure to check out the tabs in this guide for Green Living Ideas, Green Building, Healthy Gardens and Yards, Saving Energy, and Water Conservation.
The Green Zone was created in the Pleasant Hill Library to bring together its collection of books, magazines, and audio/visual materials making it easier to explore environmental concepts and solutions. Several other libraries, including Antioch, Lafayette, Oakley, Orinda, and Pittsburg have also designated a Green Zone to promote their collections of environmental materials. These collections were made possible with the generous support of the Friends of the Library group in each community.
(800) 984-INFO (4636)
(925) 646-6434 (outside county)
The Story of Stuff
The Story of Stuff is a fascinating 21-minute video created by Annie Leonard to begin a public discourse on a series of environmental, social and economic concerns. The Story of Stuff Project expands this discussion.
We all know where to recycle the bottles, but what about the corks?
Your Q & A
Q. Where can I recycle clothing that is too worn out to give to charity? What about fabric from sewing projects?
A. There is a market for worn-out clothing and fabric, which can be recycled into insulation and other products. See links below for more information. You can also cut up old t-shirts and towels and use them for rags.
Have a question? Ask Us!