*This article has been updated July 2019
We have learned to recycle cans, bottles, paper and plastics. Do you know how to recycle your house, your body or your car? Neither did we.
Let’s start with your house. Tearing it down? You can salvage major architectural pieces of it, like staircases, mantels, moldings, windows and doors. You can either reuse them, donate them, or sell them to a salvage company.
How about that old car that guzzles gas and has repair bills higher than it’s blue book value? It can be donated to a non-profit and you claim a tax break, or give it to the nearest scrap-metal yard.
We know your body is a temple, but when it no longer needs you, donate your organs to needy recipients by stating your wishes on your driver’s license. You can also arrange for a green funeral by having your family plant a tree on your grave, or maybe next to it. This idea is courtesy of the 2/11 issue of Dwell magazine. It has a fabulous recycling section.
Technological recycling, aka “e-waste”, is complicated. Your hard drive is tricky to dispose of safely. First of all, you do not want someone to resurrect your discarded hard drive and steal all your information. The recommendation is to smash it to death and recycle what’s left. The same goes for expired credit cards, and cell phones. Many computer manufacturers have recycling programs. If yours does not you will need to find a local e-waste dealer.
Rechargeable batteries are unwelcome at most local dumps because they are high in mercury and lead. Many retailers like Target, Walmart, Sears and Radio Shack will collect them.
You do know that at some point the earth is going to run out of clean water, right? So, if you are building a home, or renovating one you can install a grey-water or wastewater reuse system. I know that all sounds gross, but we do want our grandchildren to have clean water. The reuse system catches the drain water from the washing machine, sinks and bathtubs, filters it and recycles it for non-drinking purposes like toilets or lawn watering.
One final word – donate all your unwanted books to your local libraries. Library ‘Friends’ groups often sell donated books to support their programs.
A few other earth saving ASE articles;