You’ve reduced your consumption, you’ve reused what you can and now it’s time to recycle.But what if you’ve got an old toothbrush? Or a stained shirt and a box that held the pizza that did the damage?
You can recycle more than just aluminum cans, cardboard boxes and whatever else is collected in your curbside recycling bin or local collection sites — but you’ll have to do some research to determine what and how. Find out if you can recycle the following common household items:
Ripped or stained clothing
YES. Local thrift stories, including Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army all accept clothes that are no longer wearable and recycle what cannot be sold. For example, clothing that can’t be sold at local Goodwill stores or the Goodwill outlet in Spokane, are sorted, baled and sold to vendors who recycle them, said Heather Alexander, director of marketing with Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest. This not only keeps recyclable textiles out of landfills, but allows these nonprofit organizations to get full value out of their donations.
YES. TerraCycle.com offers a number of recycling programs that are sponsored by different companies. Colgate sponsors a recycling program for any brand of toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers and more. Just print a label for free shipping and send them in for recycling.
Broken laundry basket
MAYBE. You’ll have a tough time finding someone local who will recycle a large No. 5 rigid plastic item. Mail-in programs found online may be an option, but there may be questionable value in boxing up and shipping something that big.
YES. Things like foil-lined energy bar wrappers, snack pouches, squeeze pouches, cereal bags, snack bags and more can be recycled at TerraCycle.com through programs like the one for toothbrushes mentioned above. Some of the programs are brand specific, so look for details before you get started.
NO. Cardboard is recyclable but the grease in it is not. In fact, that grease can ruin a batch of cardboard pulp, so don’t sneak it into the recycling bin unless you want to be an Earth wrecker. If you’re desperate and the top is grease-free, you can tear it off and put it in the recycling.
Metal cabinet hardware
MAYBE. Depending on what type of metal it is, there’s a good chance Sutton Salvage in Lewiston will take it.
YES. Pillows, cushions and blankets can be tough to recycle, but Goodwill and other thrift stores recycle what doesn’t sell. So don’t be afraid to donate your old pillow, despite how gross it is — though consider giving it a wash first, if you can.
YES. Many types of plastic bags — including grocery bags, plastic packaging and food storage bags — can be recycled at drop-boxes in retail stores like Walmart or Albertsons. Find out what types of plastics are accepted where at earth911.com.
YES. Goodwill and other thrift stores can recycle components of shoes that can’t be sold or are no longer usable.
YES. Paper is recyclable — so naturally, books are too. Many local libraries and thrift stores will recycle what they can’t use or sell; check with yours if you want to confirm your unwanted books won’t end up in a landfill. Lewis Clark Recyclers and Moscow Recycling Center both accept books for recycling as well.
YES. Unlike rechargeable batteries, alkaline batteries are safe for landfills. But if you’d rather not throw them away, the Lewiston Transfer Station collects and sends them away to be recycled.
YES. Motor oil can be recycled at the Lewiston Transfer Station; both motor oil and cooking oil can be recycled at Latah Sanitation’s solid waste processing facility. Accepted quantities may be limited, call for details.
Looking to recycle something uncommon that’s not on this list?
Give your local recyclers a call or dig around online. Here are a few places to start:
Latah Sanitation/Moscow Recycling: (208) 882-0590
Lewis Clark Recyclers Inc.: (208) 746-1187
Lewiston Transfer Station: (208) 746-0389
Pacific Steel and Recycling: (208) 743-2181
Pullman Recycling: (509) 334-1914
Sutton Salvage: (208) 746-0221
Want to celebrate Earth Day with more than recycling?
The Lewis Clark Recyclers’ Earth Celebration features family fun from 4 to 7 p.m. today on Capital and Third streets in Lewiston. The 12th annual event includes food, beverages, live entertainment, games and activities sponsored by Lewis Clark Recyclers and its partners.