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How to Recycle Unwanted Household Items

For many of us, springtime comes with renewed energy to declutter and tackle home improvement projects. As the dust settles and renovations are complete, you may find you are left with multiple items that are no longer useful to you. Before tossing everything in the garbage, check out this list to find ways to recycle unwanted items and dispose of hazardous materials properly. Not only will donating and recycling help declutter your home, but it can also help reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve natural resources and create jobs in recycling and manufacturing industries in our local community.

Furniture & Household Items: Gently used furniture and general household items including lighting fixtures, cabinets, appliances, lawn equipment and more are always welcome at the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga ReStore. Jens Christensen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga shares, “In the past year alone, we’ve kept over 1.2 million pounds of reusable materials out of local landfills. Not only will your items find an appreciative new home at the ReStore but proceeds also go to building and repairing homes in the Chattanooga community.”

Broken or Worn Appliances: Many older or broken household appliances such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators or dishwashers are eligible for recycling. Appliances contain metal that can be reclaimed. If you’re purchasing a new appliance, check with the company installing regarding their recycling options. Local scrap metal recyclers may be interested in your old appliances as well.

Glass: While bottles, jars, and non-food glass containers such as perfume or face creams are recyclable, these items should be taken to local recycling centers and not placed in your curbside recycling bin. You can find a list of local recycling centers at Chattanooga.gov and hamiltontn.gov.  It is important to clean and dry items before recycling them as leftover particles or liquids can contaminate other recyclables. Lids and corks should be removed prior to recycling. Larger glass items such as vases, glass drinking cups, window glass and glass cookware cannot be recycled.

Paper: Beyond documents, many types of paper can be recycled. Mixed paper is a common household item and can include discarded mail, magazines, and cardboard. Your home office may contain recyclable content such as letterhead, files, phone books, copier paper or envelopes. Do not recycle paper that is wet, greasy, or soiled.

Plastic: Jugs, jars and bottles that are plastic can be recycled. Like glass, plastic items must be clean and dry before they can be recycled. Keep in mind that plastic cannot only be found in the kitchen. Your bathroom may have items that can be recycled as well such as shampoo, liquid soap, or mouthwash. Empty plastic detergent or cleaning bottles in your laundry room or utility closet are also ideal for recycling.

Hazardous Materials: Toxic materials should be carefully disposed of to prevent harm to people or the environment. Older materials found in your home, garage or shed can be considered dangerous, such as paint strippers with the newly banned toxic chemical methylene chloride. This type of toxic substance should be removed from your home with the appropriate personal protective clothing such as gloves. Empty containers may have hazardous residual chemicals. All hazardous waste for both Chattanooga and Hamilton County can be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 4063 North Hawthorne Street.

For more helpful information on anything related to home improvement, check out the publications section here at hbagc.net.