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Earth Day recycling tips

From the Edgewater Beach Apartments Recycling/Green Committee:

Earth Day: 5 easy ways to recycle more in Edgewater

1) Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs: these energy saving bulbs are more efficient and longer lasting than the old Thomas Edison design, but should be recycled to keep mercury out of our landfill/environment. Thankfully Home Depot stores accept CFLs for recycling, as do many Ace Hardware stores and some Lowe’s Hardware stores. A number of independent hardware stores in the Chicago area also accept CFL for recycling, but you might want to call ahead.

2) Batteries: Last year Chicago stated a program to collect household batteries (if it fits in the palm of your hand, it is a household battery!). Today most Walgreens, alderman’s offices and the Chicago Public Library accept household batteries for recycling, as will some Staples stores. RadioShack even accepts power tool batteries and the large-style flashlight batteries (~size of two stacked fists).

3) Pharmaceuticals: got Viagra in your water? Don’t laugh, recent testing has found trace amounts of many pharmaceuticals in the water systems of 30 states. The EPA now recommends against flushing old pills down the drain. Instead collect your old/expired pills and take them (we empty them out of the pill bottle/remove any labeling) to the Belmont and Western police station where there is a labeled receptacle for pharmaceuticals between the entrance and the main desk. The pills are periodically collected by the Illinois EPA for appropriate disposal.

4) Packing peanuts: While a number of leading internet retailers are shifting away from using Styrofoam peanuts for shipping, if you are like me, you just can’t avoid them entirely. The good news is that the UPS Store on the corner of Bryn Mawr & Winthrup will accept/recycle packing foam peanuts. I don’t know how common this is, but it can’t hurt to ask your local shipper if they recycle these too.

5) Cell Phones: Over the past year the residents in my building have collectively recycled dozens of old cell phones through a mail-in recycling service with PaceButler. There are many cell-phones to benefit charities springing up on the web, but PaceButler has been great to work with. We’ve contributed the proceeds, over $75 to date, to Care-for-Real in Edgewater. Talk about a triple bottom line!


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