How to dispose of everythingIn most cases, appliances and electronics shouldn't be treated like any other waste we'd toss in the trash or leave on the curb. Follow these instructions for the best (and most earth-conscious) ways to dispose of your old gadgets. (If it's still working and you're just looking to upgrade, considering putting your old stuff on Freecycle or listing it for free on Craig's List. We guarantee it'll be out the door before you know it!)
The best way to dispose of cleaning products is to use them! If that’s out of the question, it’s important to read the labels to figure out the right way to toss them. Hint: In most cases, water-soluble products can be flushed down the drain with running water, and solid cleaning products like bar soaps and scouring pads can be tossed in the trash.
Washers & Dryers:
You have a few options when it comes to these staple appliances. If they're still in good working order, give them a second life: Donate them to a shelter or home that would likely benefit. If you're buying new laundry appliances, ask the manufacturer whether they're certified to recycle your old ones. If all else fails, call your local recycling office to see whether you can leave them on the curb, or find out where the nearest recycling facility is.
Leave the disposal of these hefty appliances to the professionals. Contact your local department of public works to schedule the removal. The costs for this service will vary. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, removal can be free or anywhere from $10 to $50.
Got a metal microwave? Some municipalities let you recycle these appliances as scrap metal. (Electronics recyclers will do the same for a small fee.) Plastic microwave ovens go right into the trash.
Before getting rid of your old cell phone, be sure to delete all of your personal information and remove any batteries (these will need to be recycled separately). The EPA’s website lists retailers that offer in-store or mail-in recycling options to properly dispose of old gadgets. Plenty of stores offer ways to donate, say, by sending old phones to troops overseas; a little research should help you uncover a cause you care about supporting instead of just sending your phone back to the manufacturer.
Rule No. 1: Never toss your old TV or monitor in the trash! CRTs, LCD,s and plasma sets contain toxic materials like lead and are considered hazardous waste. We suggest contacting your local sanitation department for guidance, or see whether your local electronics store has a drop-off policy (most do).
It's easy to recycle your old Blu-ray player. To find a recycler in your area, check the map and sort by state at e-Stewards' website. e-Stewards is a program certified in safely handling discarded electronics.
Halogen light bulbs:
Similar to its mercury-filled counterparts (like fluorescents, neon lights, and ultraviolet bulbs), these can go right in the trash. Just make sure you wrap the bulb in its original packaging or newspaper. Halogen bulbs should not be recycled, so don’t try to do the greener thing in this case.
Lithium batteries are most commonly found in your cell phone, digital cameras, and laptops. To properly dispose of them, put clear packing, masking, or electrical tape on the batteries’ ends. More commonly used batteries — A, AAA, C, D — don’t require any taping (unless identified as lithium) — they can go right into the trash.
DIY Center: Your projects are waiting
Turn old treasures into creative home décor.
It doesn't have to take months to make over something in your home. Here are a few simple decorating projects you can do yourself in a single weekend.
Whether you have five minutes over a weekend or an entire day, you can start (and finish) at least one of these easy improvements. And you don't need to spend the whole weekend to see results.
Home remodeling is on the rise. It can be satisfying to complete a DIY home project (and save money!), but some projects are best left to the professionals. Before you take home improvement matters into your own hands, look at these 10 projects you really shouldn’t DIY. There’s nothing fun about wasting time, money, or the headache of regret in having to fix a major DIY mistake. -- Charyn Pfeuffer
To tame the mayhem in your home, you need simple solutions. And when it comes to sorting, storing, and systemizing, these multitaskers deliver. Long-time favorites of professional purgers, the nine efficient essentials here are straightforward, sturdy, and strategic — and many are real design upgrades over competitors or even their own recent models. Sure, there are tools out there that are flashier and fancier, but these no-nonsense must-haves get the job done. By not wasting time struggling to use an overcomplicated label maker or fix a cute but impossibly flimsy stapler, you can kick the clutter to the gutter a lot faster — and how neat is that?