Everyone has something that they need to throw away. Getting rid of something isn’t always as easy as tossing it in the dumpster. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to dispose of specific items. Maybe you just want to know how to dispose of batteries, or maybe you have other questions. When it comes to tossing out those problematic items, it’s essential to find out how to properly dispose of them.

The reason proper disposal is necessary is that the toxicity of materials. Normal everyday things such as batteries, electronics, paint, tires, light bulbs, and more require specific disposal methods because they are categorized as hazardous materials. Many people don’t want to throw things away that they shouldn’t, but they don’t know any better. To educate, here is a list of different items that require special care and how to dispose of them.

Mattress Disposal

stacks of mattresses

Old mattresses can be a pain. Perhaps you upgraded to a new bed, or maybe you are moving and just need to get rid of it. Either way, a bulky item like a mattress can cause an unnecessary headache.

The first way (and best way) to get rid of a mattress is by donating it. If your bed is still usable, then an organization like The Salvation Army will come and pick it up for free. Rather than putting it in the trash, give it to someone who needs a bed. They will pick it up, clean it, and give it to someone in need.

If your mattress is torn, stained, or ripped, then The Salvation Army won’t be able to take it. If that’s the case, then you have some other options. It may take a little longer, but dismantling the mattress and recycling the materials yourself is a good alternative. Lastly, you can hire a company who offers haul away services like us.

How to Dispose of Batteries

The normal alkaline battery is safe to throw away in your trash can, but rechargeable batteries, car batteries, and lithium-ion batteries should be recycled appropriately. If you are looking to get rid of an old car battery, many stores that sell batteries will also recycle old cores. If you are looking to recycle rechargeable or lithium batteries, electronic stores will gladly take them for you. If all else fails, a hazardous waste facility will take any battery off your hands.

How to Dispose of Light Bulbs

different types of light bulbs

If you thought you can throw light bulbs away in the trash, don’t worry, you can. Most light bulbs are safe to throw away in the garbage. The standard incandescent bulb, halogen bulbs, and LED lights can all be thrown away in household waste. The light bulbs that need special care are the fluorescent tubes and bulbs. These lights contain small traces of mercury, which make them toxic. You should be careful when handling and disposing of fluorescent bulbs. Big stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have designated places to recycle old CFL bulbs.

Tire Disposal

First of all, if you are having new tires put on your vehicle, you can ask the shop if they will recycle the old tires for you. In fact, many shops will recycle your tires without you even having to ask. If you have to dispose of the tires yourself, you’ll have a couple options. Since a lot of states have banned the dumping of tires in landfills, you might be stuck paying for recycling.

Appliance Disposal

Apart from the heaviness, appliances are easy to discard. Selling them is the best solution because most of the time the buyer will come and pick it up. Other than that, there are plenty of recycling places that are happy to take old appliances. If you buy new appliances, some companies will recycle your old appliances at no cost to you.

How to Dispose of Motor Oil

If you are beginning to change your own motor oil in your vehicle, then you need to know how to handle and recycle the used oil properly. After you drain the oil, make sure you have it in a container that can be tightly secured. Then a simple google search will bring you to a place that accepts used motor oil. For example, Advanced Auto Parts takes used motor oil for free.

Don’t forget to recycle the oil filter too! To drain it, punch a hole in the top of it and leave it on your pan to drain.

Toner Cartridge Recycling

ink cartridges in a printer

Recycling toner cartridges is a straightforward process, yet so many people choose not to. Ink cartridges are not considered hazardous waste, but recycling can benefit you and the environment. Most stores that sell ink will repurchase them. Yes, you read that right. They will BUY them back. Big box office supplies stores like Staples will give you $2 in store credit. The Penny Hoarder even suggests selling them in bulk on eBay.

How to Dispose of Cooking Oil

No matter what you do, never EVER pour cooking oil or grease down the drain. It’s likely that everyone learns that lesson the hard way. We recommend pouring that used cooking oil or grease into a glass container. If you try to pour it into a plastic container, you could end up melting the plastic and having a big mess. Pour it into glass and let it harden. Once the grease becomes solid, you can throw that jar into the normal trash. If you are looking to reuse the glass, scrape out the grease.

How to Dispose of Sensitive Documents

If you don’t have a shredder, you might have a box of confidential documents that you don’t throw away. Is it time to get out the scissors? Another option, albeit more complicated, is drenching them. An empty five-gallon bucket can go a long way if you have a bunch of personal information that you are trying to prevent. Place the documents in the buckets and fill it with water. After letting the papers soak, drain the water. This should destroy any of the private information that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. If this doesn’t work, most places have businesses that offer document shredding services.

Side note: never destroy anything you might need in the future without first backing it up onto a hard drive.

How to Dispose of Old Gas

No person wants to throw out old gas. If you have an old can of gas that has been sitting around, it’s possible that it has gone bad. When gas goes bad, it begins to develop a sour smell. Old gas doesn’t become completely unusable, but you will notice an effect. That’s because the hydrocarbons in the fuel begin to evaporate, which limits the combustibility. Causing an engine to sputter.

When gas goes bad, it’s sometimes better to get rid of it rather than risking any damage to your engine. Hazardous waste centers usually accept old gasoline. If not, contact your county to ask what you should do with the gas.

Glass Recycling

Everyone understands that glass is one of the most common recyclables. Surprisingly, people don’t always understand how to recycle glass. Plan to keep your glass that’s garbage in a separate bin. Many cities have no-hassle drop off locations scattered around to make recycling glass simple. Some cities even have organizations that will provide a recycling bin and pick it up for FREE. Give that glass new life and recycle it.

How to Dispose of Electronics

Electronics are classified as hazardous waste, which means you can’t dispose of them in an ordinary trash bin. Best Buy is the nation’s largest retail recycler of used electronics and appliances. They accept all kinds of electronics: including TVs, DVD players, tablets, chargers, cameras, machines, radios, stereos, video game consoles, computers, laptops, and phones.

electronics junkyard

Outside of recycling electronics, you can always sell them. Like anything, eBay is a great place to sell used electronics. Whether they are working or not, there’s a market for used electronics. 

Computers, cell phones, and laptops should all be handled with care when disposing. Old electronics like these can be a goldmine of personal information for identity thieves. Take careful consideration when getting rid of a device with personal information. Before you proceed with erasing the computer, you should back up the files on an external hard drive.

Next, you need to clear the memory. You’ll want to uninstall all apps, then continue by deleting your browser history. Removing the memory is not enough, you should wipe your computer thoroughly by doing a factory reset. This article on Digital Trends will walk you through the crucial steps in clearing a computer.

Once you know that your computer is empty, you can proceed with getting rid of it. Before you drop it off at a certified recycling center, do a little research and see what it can be worth. Used computers can sometimes sell for a good chunk of change.

How to Dispose of Yard Waste

Maybe you decided to do some landscaping. You pull weeds, rake leaves, and trim branches. The yard looks great, and you feel fantastic until you realize that you now have a massive pile of yard waste that you need to get out of your yard. The rules on throwing away yard waste vary from city to city and state to state.

If you have a pickup, you can bring it to the local dump. Make sure you call ahead of time to make sure the landfill will accept yard waste. If you don’t have a pickup, you can call your local waste management services and see when they would be able to pick it up. If all else fails, you can order yard waste removal from Lula.

How to Dispose of Furniture

Getting rid of furniture tends to be a simple process. Much like mattresses, the Salvation Army will often pick furniture up for free if it’s in decent shape. If you bought new furniture, some stores would haul away your old furniture when they deliver your replacements. If neither of those is an option, try and make a couple bucks! Unlike mattresses, you can usually sell a piece of furniture. Used mattresses don’t sell that well in comparison to used couches or tables for reasons we can all assume.

old couch with rips in the cover

The first step in discarding furniture is cleaning it up. Furniture that looks like it has been taken care of is more likely to attract a buyer. Once you’re ready, submit a listing on Craigslist or in Facebook groups. If you can’t seem to sell the furniture and just want someone to take it off your hands, change the prices on your posts to free. If that still doesn’t work, put it on the curb with the classic cardboard sign that says, “free.” If someone doesn’t take it, then you will probably be stuck footing the bill for a junk removal company to come and take it for you.

How to Dispose of Paint

Paint is another example of hazardous waste that needs to be disposed of properly. As always, you can take it to a recycling center or donate. If you intend on throwing it away, come up with a plan to dry the paint first. Paint is only hazardous if it’s wet. On the Fairfield Department of Health website, they have a document that suggests mixing cat litter in with wet paint to help it dry. Once it’s dry, you can toss it out. The page has plenty of suggestions for disposing of latex and oil-based paints.

Even though Lula is now offering junk removal services, we still want to encourage people to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Earth 911 is an excellent way to find local resources and locations for recycling various materials. We hope this list helps you understand the importance of proper disposal and recycling. If there’s something you would like to see added to the list (like a lawn mower), let us know in the comments.