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Do Your Part: Recycle outdated items responsibly

All of us are guilty of stashing away outdated items that we just don’t know what to do with. It could be VHS tapes or expired medicines or outdated phone books.

Here are five of the most common outdated items we have stockpiled and solutions to help you get rid of them the right way. You’ll find links to all of the resources mentioned below at DoYourPart.com/columns.

VHS/cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs: When is the last time you popped in a VHS or cassette tape?

GreenDisk is an online company that can help you out. It accepts VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs (along with a long list of other techno trash) and recycle it responsibly. There is a small shipping fee.

Other options are to check with your local library or Goodwill to see if they accept or recycle these items.

Old electronics: If you’re holding on to a massive old computer monitor or a cell phone that’s years old, it’s time to get rid of it. They contain valuable metals that can be recycled and other hazardous heavy metals that should be handled responsibly.

Check out one of the many online trade-in websites, which pay you for the working ones. Apple and Best Buy are among many retailers that have recycling programs where you can earn gift cards by trading in old electronics.

Shoes: Don’t trash those outdated shoes or ones you just don’t wear anymore. Soles4Souls is a charity that wants all gently worn shoes; they’ll be sent to people in need around the world.

If you have old athletic shoes, one option is Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program, where they are ground up and turned into running tracks, basketball and tennis courts, and even playgrounds. Any brand of athletic shoe is accepted.

Phone books: There’s no longer a need to have or get phone books with all of the same information available online. However, hundreds of millions of them are delivered to homes each year.

You can put the entire phone book in many curbside-recycling bins. It’s also smart to stop them from being delivered to you in the first place; call your telephone company directly or go to YellowPagesGoesGreen.org.

Old medicine: If you have medication you are no longer taking or past its expiration date, don’t flush it unless it specifically says so on the bottle.

You can buy a postage-paid envelope to responsibly dispose of many prescriptions and over the counter drugs. The TakeAway Environmental Return System is available online and in a number of national retailers.

Or participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back day on Oct. 29.



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