Appliances (or 'white goods'), clothing, shingles and used cooking oil are all recyclable, but most all of these items are not widely accepted in the typical curbside recycling program. Curbside programs are avenues for the more commonly thought of recyclables such as paper, plastics, metals (such as aluminum and steel food cans), and glass. Because of their general exclusion from such programs, these uncommonly thought of items are often an afterthought and that is if they are even thought of at all. To truly make a change and make a difference, we must begin to think beyond the curb.
There are in fact facilities where such items can be recycled. Mulch, light bulbs, concrete, other construction and demolition debris, bricks, carpeting, and carpet padding can all be recycled. It only requires a brief search for such facilities - a look through the phone book or a call to your city or another informed entity (such as your refuse collector) - to find the desired information.
Some retailers also offer services where they will take back items 'beyond the curb'. For example, some Best Buy stores offer electronic recycling services even if you did not purchase the product there. Another incentive for recycling is that your local Best Buy may also have a trade in program: your old electronic device is evaluated and you received a certain amount on a store gift card that you may then use.
There are a number of other retailers that offer recycling services. Check with the stores where you have purchased your 'beyond the curb' item to find out. Other retailers that may have a recycling/take back program in your local area include: Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Staples, BatteriesPlus, and O'Reilly Auto Parts. Call your local store to find out about their recycling program availability and offerings, if they have any.
Even though your city recycling program might not regularly accept 'beyond the curb' items, they might occasionally offer an event allowing residents to recycle such goods. Check with your city to determine whether they provide such an offering. If your refuse service is provided by a commercial service provider (such as Waste Management or Republic), they may also offer these events. Call them to find out.
If you have a 'beyond the curb' item or would like to begin recycling such items, find out if there is a recycling facility near you. Visit our 'I Want to Recycle!' search box on our homepage to get started.
*Store mentions made for reference only.