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Front Page - Friday, May 17, 2019

Recycling unwanted items

Your home might be filled with items that are no longer useful but can potentially be used to make new products. Not only will getting rid of household items declutter your home, it also will reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve natural resources and create jobs in recycling and manufacturing industries in the U.S.

So before you toss your unwanted household items, consider recycling the following:


Bottles, jars and non-food glass containers such as perfume or face creams are recyclable. It’s important to clean and dry items before recycling them. Leftover particles or liquids can contaminate other recyclables. Corks should be removed from bottles and can be composted. Larger glass items such as vases, glass drinking cups, window glass and glass cookware can’t be recycled. Neither can lightbulbs.


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 might contain recyclable content such as letterhead, files, phone books, copier paper or envelopes. Shredded paper is recyclable. Don’t recycle paper that’s wet, greasy or soiled. Tainted paper is unsuitable for reuse.

Large appliances

Even if a household item doesn’t fit snug in a curbside pickup container, it still might be acceptable for recycling. Large household appliances such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers are eligible for recycling as appliances contain metal that can be reclaimed.

You might be eligible for a rebate from a local retailer or utility company if you turn in your old appliance for a new energy-efficient unit. Also, your local waste management or public works department might have curbside pickup available. Local scrap metal recyclers might be interested in your old appliances as well.

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 stripper 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 might have hazardous residual chemicals.

If your community doesn’t have a local hazardous material recycling center or designated days for pickup, some businesses could properly dispose of the substance. For example, some garages might accept used motor oil for recycling.


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

For more information on how to recycle your household items in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas, visit the online membership directory of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net.