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New SWACO Tool Helps Safely Dispose of Unwanted Items

Hanna Greer-Brown Hanna Greer-Brown New SWACO Tool Helps Safely Dispose of Unwanted Items
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Have you ever cleaned out a closet and wondered where to take the clothes you’re no longer wearing? Have you organized your garage and questioned how to dispose of expired paint, pesticides and pool chemicals? Have you updated a room and deliberated whether to throw away or donate the old furniture? 

If you find yourself in these or similar quandaries, you’ll find the help you need at recycleright.org. The website launched by SWACO features a recycle and reuse search tool that answers questions such as, “Where can I recycle this?” or “How do I dispose of this?”

The tool includes hundreds of searchable items and is divided into five categories: 

1) household items
2) yard and food waste
3) household hazardous waste
4) recyclable/reusable items
5) trash

Each category has pictures of familiar items, such as cardboard, metal cans, grass clippings, car and cell phone batteries, light bulbs, appliances and paper cups. The pictures make the tool particularly easy to navigate. 

When a photo is clicked on, a box pops up with information explaining if the item can or cannot be recycled, offering quick tips for dealing with the item, and providing locations where the item can be taken. 

The search tool gives contact information for hundreds of local businesses that accept items for recycling or safe disposal. It also allows users to search recycling and drop-off locations by zip code and download directions right to their mobile devices. 

Not sure what to do with an old cell phone, for example? A click on the image of a mobile phone leads to a pop-up box that says cell phones and cell phone batteries can be recycled at a variety of locations, including Verizon, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Best Buy. The box includes a warning that cell phones and cell phone batteries should never be put in curbside or drop-off recycling containers because they can cause fires at the local recycling facility, putting recycling workers at risk. Instead, a battery can be safely prepared for recycling by placing it in a clear plastic bag or taping the terminals with clear packing tape or Duct Tape, keeping the label visible, before dropping it off at a recycling center. There’s a “Find Recycling Locations Near You” at the bottom of the pop-up box so that you can find the closest, most convenient center near you. 

The last category, “Trash,” includes carpet, diapers, paper cups, paper towels, polystyrene and take-home food containers. The pop-up boxes for these items explain why they cannot be recycled, how they should be disposed of and what can be done to minimize their use. 

SWACO plans to update the search tool regularly and encourages suggestions for items to feature as well as names of organizations that accept donated and/or recyclable items. Visit www.RecycleRight.org to use the search tool or to learn more about the right ways to recycle. If you cannot find what you’re looking for or you simply need more information, contact SWACO at [email protected]

Recycle Right is brought to you by SWACO, Franklin County’s resource for solid waste diversion and disposal. SWACO seeks to reduce the community’s reliance on the landfill as well as meet state mandated diversion goals by providing waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs and services to residents and businesses in 41 central Ohio communities, totaling more than a million people. Last year, Franklin County reached its highest rate of diversion on record – 49 percent. In addition to diversion programming, SWACO is the only Solid Waste District in Ohio to own and operate a landfill and which provides the organization with a holistic and unique perspective on the local waste stream.

For more information, visit swaco.org.

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