The recycling program in Pittsburgh is decent and between composting, recycling and reducing my consumption of single use products I don’t create more than a few gallons of trash in a normal week. A few months ago, however, I realized there was trend to my trash and I wanted to find ways to recycle those things that I continually threw away. I also wanted clean my closets and recycle some of the junk accumulating in my house.
Much to my surprise I found several chain stores will recycle the items I couldn’t recycle through the city. I was so excited to find these programs I want to share them with you.
I have awesome reusable bags that fold into pouches small enough to fit in my purse and mesh bags perfect for bagging produce and most bulk items. I’m rarely caught without a reusable bag, but after watching the movie Bag It I became aware of how much plastic I was still throwing away.
The bread bags, plastic bags inside cereal boxes, plastic product wraps around things like toilet paper and bubble wrap used to pack online purchases. None of these plastics were labeled with a number so I couldn’t recycle them through the city and they were hard to avoid. Luckily, I found an incredibly easy way to recycle them.
You know those bins at that grocery store where you can recycle your shopping bags? Well, all of the items mentioned above and many, many more can be recycled there too. Find a recycling location near you by using the recycling center locator on the A Bag’s Life website. Lowe’s, JcPenny, Walmart, Target and most grocery stores (including Giant Eagle) have recycling centers.
The hard plastic caps on vitamin bottles, peanut butter jars, milk, orange juice containers and soda bottles can not be recycled in Pittsburgh unless they are numbered 1-5, and most are not. The recycling information we get every year reminds us to remove and trash the caps. This requirement really annoyed me until learned about the Aveda Caps Recycling program. Caps can be dropped off at Aveda stores, where they get sent to be cleaned, ground and made into new caps for Aveda products. View the guide of acceptable caps for restrictions and since not all Aveda salons participate in the program, use the advanced store locator to find a store near you.
Most of the clutter in my closets, dresser drawers and under my bed was cables, cords, computer and other electronics. When everything was collected I had found 2 cell phones, 1 Palm Pre PDA, a few routers, a computer tower, a dozen installation CDs and 2 shoe boxes full of chargers, cables and cords. I was able to recycle everything through Best Buy’s recycling program and they take many more items as well.
I could have legally trashed everything I recycled, but obviously recycling is the better choice and in many other cities it’s the only choice. Starting January 13, 2013 Pittsburgh becomes a little more progressive and cased electronic will not be accepted as trash. I expect most recycling options will require you to pay a fee as they do in many other cities and although Best Buy charges for large appliances and electronics, everything I recycled was free.
Rules and qualifying items for Best Buy’s recycling program vary by state, so make sure you look into what is accepted at your local store. Also, carefully review the FAQs and note, that although equipment with hard drives is accepted you may have to pay the Geek Squad to wipe the data if you don’t know how to do it yourself.
Do you use the recycling programs at any major chains? If so, please tell us about them!