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Earth Day Recycling Guide

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Ok, so I am a tree hugger. There, I said it. I am super crazy passionate about recycling in any way possible! Why? Because our children are the future. More often than not, people don’t want to declutter because they have no idea where to put the unwanted stuff. Finding the right place for it can be a huge burden that so many people don’t want to even begin to tackle; therefore, they just throw it in the trash can.

Being green definitely takes time and commitment, but I promise you, you are doing Mother Nature (and our future generations) a huge favor by recycling.

So today, Earth Day 2020, I have created your go-to list of some of our most frequently asked about household items, if they are recyclable, and what to do with them!


What to Recycle and Where to Take It


Alkaline/Single-Use Batteries:

  • AA, AAA, C, and D batteries are unfortunately not typically recyclable can be thrown away in the trash

  • 6V and 9V batteries should have their terminals taped and then sealed in a plastic bag when throwing in the trash

Lead-acid and Rechargeable Batteries:

Drop them off at your local recycling center

For more information on care, use, and disposal of batteries, visit Duracell’s official website.


Working Electronics:

Regardless of age, these can be donated

Non-Working/Unusable Electronics:

These can be recycled at your local Best Buy, Staples or Household Hazardous Waste Center. You can even take random chargers/cords . . . how amazing is that?!

Protecting Your Data - One reason you might be holding on to that laptop from 2004 is that you know you have information saved on it and aren’t sure how to make sure your private data is safe.

Here’s what I really think . . . if you haven’t been able to turn it on for 10+ years because you don’t have the right charge cord or it’s broken, a random person who might get their hands on it isn’t going to bother. However, if you want to be 100% safe, here are some options:

  • Take a hammer to the hard drive (I’m kidding…sort of!)

  • Wipe the hard drive on your own — here are Best Buy’s tips

  • Have the Geek Squad at Best Buy wipe your hard drive, then recycle it right there!

Target Stores accept cell phones and ink cartridges, as well as plastic bags (this includes dry cleaning bags, grocery bags and clean Ziploc bags!)

Cell Phones

Many charities have partnered with cell phone refurbishing companies and recyclers as a way of generating funds while keeping phones out of landfills.

Phones not in good working order, and any in excess, are recycled to reduce toxic waste and to raise funds for victim services:

  • Domestic Violence - The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence(NCADV) collects cell phones to help fund their programs. They accept phones and partner with Cellular Recycler, which sells refurbished electronics.

  • Help Soldiers Call Home - Cell Phones for Soldiers collects old phones which it sells to a recycler or an electronic refurbisher, depending on the condition. It uses the proceeds to buy long distance calling cards, which are distributed to men and women who are serving in the military. Each phone donated buys about one hour of talk time for soldiers.

  • Support a Worthy Cause - Second Wave Recycling is actively funding the Wounded Warrior Project, which offers support services for military personnel who've been hurt while serving the U.S. This organization has supported other causes, too, including charities that benefit medical patients, domestic abuse survivors, animals rescues, and many others.

  • Help Keep Your Community Safer - Secure the Call is an organization that accepts used cell phones and then repurposes them as emergency-only devices meant to dial 911 dispatchers.

  • Improve Healthcare Around the World - Medic Mobile recycles and refurbishes old phones and tablets and uses the funds to buy mobile devices that medical workers use to register pregnancies, track disease outbreaks, and communicate about medical emergencies.


  • If they are in decent condition, you can donate them to the Lions Club.

  • If you have a broken pair lying around, you can pop out the glass lenses and recycle them with your other glass recycling. Then toss the broken frames in the trash!

  • GlassesCrafters and RecycleNation also have great lists with options for you!


Wire Hangers:

  • Ask your local dry cleaners if they will take them

  • Many scrap metal recyclers will accept them since most are made of steel – search for your local recycling center here.

Plastic Hangers:

  • These are hard to recycle, so try donating them to your local school, daycare, shelter, nursing home, or hospital

Wood Hangers:

  • These are higher quality, so charities and other thrift stores may accept them to resell as a set

  • If they are branded (Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc) you can offer them back to the store they came from

  • You can also try donating them to your local shelter, school or daycare facility

Regardless of the type of hanger, you can always try offering them up for free on Facebook Marketplace or your local neighborhood page!


A great way to dispose of costume jewelry (even broken!) is to donate to a charitable organization called I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation. They are dedicated to enriching the lives of families during a breast cancer diagnosis. Their committee takes the time to repair, clean and disinfect old costume jewelry to resell in order to raise funds.

Light bulbs

CFL Light bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes:

  • These shouldn’t be thrown in the trash because they contain mercury

  • Recycle them at your local Lowes or Home Depot, or find a recycling center here. There are also organizations and websites like Recycleabulb that have return centers located in cities around the country that will happily take your old CFLs.

Standard and Halogen Light bulbs:

  • These can safely be thrown away in the trash

  • They cannot be recycled because the small wires and glass are hard to separate

LED Lamps:

  • These have an extremely long service life but can also be safely thrown away in the trash when they do eventually burn out

Here is more great information on recycling light bulbs.


Medicine take back options are the best way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded or expired prescriptions and over the counter medicines. There are generally two kinds of take back options:

  • DEA-authorized collectors - The DEA has provided a database of collection locations, or you can check with your local law enforcement officials to find a location near you. Large retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Meijer are all part of this community program.

  • National Prescription Drug Take Back Day - The DEA hosts drug take back programs in communities nationwide. Find your local program here.


  1. Before disposing of prescription medicines using a drug take back option, be sure to remove all personal information on the label of pill bottles or medicine packaging.

  2. All medicines dropped off at these locations will be destroyed and discarded.

  3. There are a few, select medicines with specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet only if a drug take back option is not readily available.

  4. If you are interested in donating your medication, use this online resource External Link Disclaimer to determine whether pharmaceutical donation and reuse programs exist in your state.

This prescription drug drop box is inside the main vestibule of the Fishers Police Department. Access to the vestibule is available 24/7.


Water-Based Latex Paint:

This type of paint has a shelf life of up to 10 years and is not considered hazardous waste. Once hardened or empty, residents are encouraged to remove the lid and place items in their curbside trash container for disposal.

Latex Paint Drying Instructions:

  1. Remove lid from paint container.

  2. Add kitty litter, oil dry, saw dust or soil to the latex paint.