Paper, sure. Plastic, cardboard, of course. But before you toss those old shingles or paint, or dump a box of Styrofoam packing peanuts in the trash, you’ll want to look up where you can recycle them.
Here are 16 things you might not know you can recycle in Iowa:
1. Styrofoam packing peanuts Empty out all those goodies from your gift box, then take those packing peanuts to your local packing and shipping store for reuse.
2. Fluorescent light bulbs If your lights aren’t shining so brightly anymore, the safe way to dispose of them is at E-waste collection facilities and Regional Collection Centers.
3. Oil-based paint, stains and varnishes While some landfills will accept paint, you can also take it to a Regional Collection Center. RCCs are also great places to find small amounts of paints and stains so you don’t have to pay for more supplies than you need.
4. Electronics You may think no one wants that VCR, but you’d be wrong! Drop it off at a thrift store, where collectors will be excited to find that 1980s relic. Or, if your electronics aren’t working anymore, consider dropping it off at an electronics store, like Best Buy, or an E-waste collector. The best place for that broken old console TV or giant computer monitor is an E-waste collector. Thrift shops may accept them, too. But because of processing costs, it might cost $5 or $10 – well worth it to reclaim that space in your garage!
5. Household knick knacks Of course, thrift stores are a great destination for that old clown figurine or avocado green candleholder.
6. Oil filters/oil If you like to change the oil in your vehicles yourself, be sure to take your used oil back to an auto parts store or a Regional Collection Center. Save milk jugs for an easy container to returned used oil.
7. Asphalt shingles Many Iowa landfills have recycling programs for shingles, so check first with your local landfill. You can also help others looking for shingles through the Iowa Waste Exchange and home reuse stores like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.
8. Concrete If you have old concrete you need to get rid of, check with auto salvage yards or local construction companies, who may collect it for recycling.
9. Wood Check out reuse and salvage stores, like the Salvage Barn in Iowa City and Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These are also great resources for finding unique materials for do-it-yourself projects.
10. Metals Keep the metal out of the trash and check with auto salvage yards, metal scrap dealers and local landfills about reuse and recycling programs.
11. Furniture, fixtures and building materials There are many places that will accept used furniture, fixtures and building materials, like thrift stores and consignment shops.
12. Medications Whether it’s over-the-counter or prescription, be sure to keep medications out of the trash and don’t pour them down the drain. Check with your local police department or city about drop-off sites or try the Iowa Waste Exchange.
13. Autos Yes, you can recycle that minivan! Many nonprofit organizations and some thrift stores will accept vehicle donations – and you often get a nice tax deduction, too. Also check with scrap yards.
14. Tires Drop off old tires at scrap yards, landfills, Regional Collection Centers or transfer stations.
For more ideas on recycling and upcycling, check out our Earth Day Every Day, Upcycling and In Your Own Backyard boards on Pinterest.