Just because we can throw an item in the trash can doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. You probably already know that there’s a list of household items that don’t belong in the trash—just as you know there are things you can’t put in your sink’s garbage disposal. But what should you do with other common items around your home, such as light bulbs, appliances, electronics and everyday cleaning products?
How To Dispose of Common Household Items in San Antonio
Before you look into disposal options, make sure there are no local organizations which can benefit from the item you no longer use. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to learn more about how to properly dispose of the item in question. Not only will you be diverting materials from the waste stream, but also you will help prevent dangerous chemicals from making their way into our soil and water.
What To Do With Household Cleaners
The best way to properly dispose of common cleaners—like ammonia, drain cleaner and shower cleaner—is to use it. Despite what most might think, these products do in fact expire. If you can’t use the product before its expiration date, consider donating it to someone who can.
If you must dispose of the product, check the label for directions. The City of San Antonio’s Household Hazardous Waste facility accepts several different kinds of household cleaners.
Disposal Options For Automotive Products
Fluids and fuels are flammable and highly toxic. As such, it’s important to dispose of them properly. Never throw them in the garbage, sewer, or storm drains. Instead, store the products in a sealed container and take them to your nearest household hazardous waste site.
Other disposal locations include AutoZone locations in town. AutoZone will take your old car batteries and used motor oil. Other options in the area include Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
Local Electronics Recycling Programs
Common household electronics can include TVs, CD or DVD players, mobile devices and old computers. Electronics should be put in the trash, since many contain toxic materials like lead and are hazardous to the environment. Consider calling your local electronic store to inquire about their drop-off policy. If you have electronics you’d like to get rid of, here are some options:
- The Texas Recycles Program will take your old TVs.
- Check the local recycling directory for ideas of places to donate.
- SARS Recycling, located at 8134 Interchange Parkway, will take computer equipment, personal electronics, and even office equipment—like a fax machine—too.
- Texas Computer Recycles is a list of manufacturer-sponsored programs to take back unwanted equipment.
What To Do With Batteries
Bring your spent batteries to the Household Hazardous Waste facility for proper disposal. You can also take cell phone and MP3 batteries to your closest Target, as the store provides patrons with Guest Recycling Stations near the entrances.
Ink Cartridge Disposal
Printer ink cartridges can be harmful to the environment if left in the trash, as the ink or toner can leak out into the soil or water and harm plants and animals. One way to properly dispose of used cartridges is to send them back to the manufacturer; many come with a special envelope for that purpose. Other methods include donating used cartridges to charity or nonprofit organizations, selling them or taking them to your local Staples, OfficeMax or Best Buy store. To find the location nearest you, check Earth911’s website. Some San Antonio Goodwill locations also accept inkjet cartridges.
How To Dispose Of Appliances And Bulky Items
Staple appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, and microwaves are considered bulk items. If your bulky items are still in good condition, think about donating them to your local shelter or charity. For items that need to be disposed of, the City Of San Antonio provides a collection service to all residents. Pickup typically occurs two times per year. If you miss the standard pickup, you can schedule an out-of-cycle collection for an additional fee or take your item to the Bulky Waste Collection Center.
If you’d like to schedule a pickup for your neighborhood, Dial-a-Trailer is a program that allows residents to schedule and reserve a garbage truck on a Saturday to be used for the disposal of brush and bulky items. Be sure to check online for a list of accepted and not accepted items.
You can also try Great Northwest Recycling. This green-conscious center accepts appliances, trampolines, wheelbarrows, metal lawn furniture and barbecue pits for recycling.
Light Bulb Drop-Off Locations
Light bulbs are often disposed of incorrectly, as some can be thrown away while others must be recycled. Incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, and LED bulbs can all be thrown away in the trash because they don’t contain harmful or dangerous materials. On the other hand, fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs do contain chemicals, mainly mercury, and must be recycled. Visit your local Batteries Plus, Lowe’s, Home Depot or IKEA stores to drop them off for proper recycling. You can also bring fluorescent bulbs to the Household Hazardous Waste facility.
Brush Collection & Yard Clippings
The City of San Antonio picks up brush twice a year. This collection includes shrubs, woody vines, tree branches and other plants. In addition these opportunities, residents can request two leaf collections per year free of charge. Additional pickups are subject to a fee.
San Antonio residents can use their green cart to dispose of organic material, such as leaves, grass, tree trimmings, kitchen waste, and food-soiled paper and cardboard. Organics are collected the same day as your recycling. This service is still not yet available in all parts of the city. To see a list of what items are accepted and what are not, click here.
What To Do With Backyard Chemicals
If you have a swimming pool or backyard garden in your home, chances are you’ve used some form of chemical additive. Whether it’s a fertilizer or water cleaner for your pool, like chlorine, you’ll want to take necessary precautions. Garden chemicals should never be put down the drain; the same applies to your pool chemicals. Take them to your local hazardous waste facility instead.
If you find yourself with an empty bottle, don’t recycle it. Recycling centers won’t accept bottles that previously contained toxic materials. Instead, make sure the bottle is empty, tighten the cap and throw it in the garbage.
Plastic Bag Recycling
Plastic shopping bags and other plastic materials (for example, the plastic that is used to package items like paper towels, bread and newspapers) can be recycled in your blue cart. Just bundle the items together in one bag and tie the handles together. The City asks that you don’t include black bags.
Unwanted Or Expired Medicines
MedDropSA is a program to provide San Antonio residents with a way to dispose of unwanted or unneeded medication. Mobile collection events held several times a year provide a free way to drop off medicines and other types of household hazardous waste.
What Other Items Are Accepted At Household Hazardous Waste Facilities?
In addition to the items mentioned above, you can take the following to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in San Antonio:
- Aerosol cans
- Paint and paint thinner
- Used cooking oil
ABC: Specialists For Your Environment
Whether you want to replace dated appliances or just throw out old batteries, it’s important to consider the consequences of how you dispose of certain items. ABC Home & Commercial has been helping Texans care for their environment for generations. We’re experts at providing home services which are effective while minimizing the impact on our planet. Whether it’s pest control, lawn care, HVAC, plumbing or security, you can count on ABC to get the job done right, the first time.