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Household Items You Shouldn't Throw Away
Jun 05 2023

Household Items You Shouldn't Throw Away

When household items are broken, unused, or no longer useful, many of us toss them in the trash. But the reality is that there are certain household items that shouldn’t be put in the trash.

Let’s walk you through some of the household items you shouldn’t throw in the trash, so you can ensure you’re being responsible with your waste.

Light bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, which is a hazardous element. If the bulbs are broken, the mercury will find its way into the soil and water sources, thereby causing contamination. You should contact your local recycling center to see if they accept light bulbs.


Batteries, including rechargeable batteries, car batteries, alkaline batteries, and lithium batteries, should not go in the trash because they contain toxic chemicals like mercury, nickel, and cadmium. These chemicals can be hazardous to human health and the environment. All types of batteries should be dropped off at a hazardous waste disposal facility.

Motor oil

Motor oil qualifies as hazardous waste because it’s toxic, corrosive, and flammable. Therefore, it should never be disposed of in the trash or down the drain. The simplest way to dispose of motor oil is to package it properly and take it to your local recycling center.


The average American household has more than 10 electronics, from smartphones and cameras to computers and gaming devices. All of these electronics contain heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, so they shouldn’t be put in the regular trash. You should look for local e-waste recycling programs or drop-off points that accept electronics.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies such as window cleaner, bleach, and disinfecting wipes may seem harmless when thrown in the trash, but they can have harmful effects if dumped in a landfill. The volatile organic compounds in cleaning products can contribute to smog and water contamination. Instead of tossing cleaning supplies in the regular trash, look for local household hazardous waste collection facilities for proper disposal.

Sharp Objects

Items like needles, syringes, broken glass, and razor blades should never be thrown directly into the trash. These objects can cause injuries to waste workers and pose health hazards. The best way to dispose of sharp objects is to place them in puncture-proof containers and dispose of them following local guidelines.

Prescription Drugs

The best thing to do with your prescription drugs is to complete the prescribed dosage. However, sometimes you can find yourself with unused or expired prescription drugs for a number of reasons. It may seem convenient to toss them in the trash or flush them down the toilet, but this is not advisable. Prescription drugs can harm the environment by contaminating groundwater. Instead of tossing prescription drugs in the trash, drop them off at a drug take-back site. Many pharmacies or healthcare facilities have take-back programs for safe disposal of medicines.

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