Feb 8, 2009

Don't Throw The Styrofoam Away, It's Easy to Recycle

First I should mention that after two weeks, my headaches are gone. Whew! I was starting to get worried there. Now for the main event. Styrofoam. I hate it. We get a lot of things in the mail at home and at my office. At home I tend to reuse the packaging for shipping my own things but once in awhile (say after Xmas) we have a surplus of packing peanuts and possibly some styrofoam blocks from different new appliances, etc... At work the boxes have been piling up because I won't throw the styrofoam away and I know I will need those boxes sooner or later. Well my boss was getting sick of looking at them and I could tell the mess was on his nerves.
So I go on freecycle (and craigslist in the FREE section) for my local area, and post an OFFER to anyone in need of styrofoam blocks and/or peanuts. The thing is, I know that if I wanted to, a lot of shipping stores (like UPS, or Kinkos) will take your peanuts off your hands if you bring them by. Just call them first, usually if there's nothing wrong with them you can just give them to them. But the styrofoam blocks were a problem. I had all these because we recently ordered a new copier and microwave. Beyond that my boss received several bottles of wine packed with styrofoam. Now I keep those little styrofoam (or the now widely used cardboard) bottle-shaped packaging that they make to ship wine with because I know those are handy for sending wine and/or canned goods (really anything bottle/jar shaped). But the rest of those things I probably will not use unless I start making pottery or something like that. Within day I get a response that someone would like to take these off my hands through the freecyle. They picked them up on Friday and voila! Recycled.
Now for the old copier and old microwave I need to get rid of. I won't throw this away either. Too many things that could be reused or repaired in these things. Also who knows what kind of toxic stuff is in these things? I am not putting them in the local landfill so it can seep into our ground water and never biodegrade. We have several used appliance centers that will take your old appliances, repair them and resell them for a low price. Some of these places take your things for free and some charge a small fee for taking certain things (around 15- 20 cents a lb). So I have the hubby load them into my car and I take them to a local appliance recycle center that has recently opened. The copier is OLD and I am pretty sure no one will find another practical use for it, but the microwave could be repaired (the breaker went off it redering it unworkable).
SO there you have it. Not much work, other people want this stuff! And especially your old computer monitors which can contain lead or mercury.
So make sure next time you have to get rid of an old fridge, have too many styrofoam peanuts or want to buy another appliance for a good price, you check these options out and save the planet while you're at it.
- 2.63 Million tons of e-waste was generated in the U.S. in 2005. 2.3 million tons of this e-waste (over 87%) ended up in landfills or incinerators.
 - There's more gold in 1 metric ton of recycled computers than in 17 tons of gold ore.
- It takes 530 lbs of fossil fuels, 48 lbs of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water manufacture one computer.
- 40% of LEAD found in landfills comes from consumer electronics.
Office Depot has an electronic recycle program. Call them for details. Also you can ship to these locations: Costco Trade-In and Recycle Program 866-339-4101 Collective Good Organization (cell phones only) www.collectivegood.com 303-339-4101 Hewlett-Packard Recycling Services 800-340-2445 www.hp.com/recycle/ IBM Asset Recovery Solutions 888-746-7426 WEBSITE Interconnection Mail-In Recycling 866-621-1068 interconnection.org/give_mail.html

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