|Earth Day - Even the kitchen sink can be recycled|
|Written by Marjorie Holt|
|Thursday, April 22 2010|
9:48 AM EDT, April 22, 2010
Your candy wrappers. Your discarded sheets. Yes, even your outmoded kitchen sink. Somebody in Central Florida wants them, not just your garbage collector. In honor of Earth Day 2010 today, here are items that might seem challenging to recycle or reuse but are actually sought-after materials:
Candy wrappers, snack bags, drink pouches. Groups collect these items for a New Jersey company that fuses them to make a material to craft into backpacks, pencil cases and even kites. The company, TerraCycle, partners with manufacturers, who donate 2 cents for each wrapper collected to schools and charities. Products, which also include notebooks with cereal-box covers and bulletin boards made from wine corks, are sold at the company's Web site and through national retailers such as The Home Depot and Walmart. To participate, go to terracycle.net and sign up for a "brigade" to collect items from yogurt cups to cookie wrappers. Palmetto Elementary in Orlando was recently recognized for collecting more than 15,500 drink pouches.
Non-perishable food. If your canned goods have passed their sell-by date, Harvest Time International will still take them for its food pantry. The group, which offers humanitarian aid, will take nearly anything — food or otherwise — that could still be useful, said Andre Smolinksky, chief operating officer. That includes bedding, even sheets with a little hole or small stain. Contact: 225 N. Kennel Rd, Sanford, 407-328-9900, http://www.harvesttime.org.
Paper-towel tubes. Your cardboard tube is a science teacher's rocket. A Gift for Teaching in Orlando collects those and other items that might appeal to a teacher's creativity. Art teachers love fabric scraps, said Audrey Perrot, director of public relations. Teachers also like foam posterboards that still have a blank side and ice cube trays, which can become a paint palette or a tool for counting. Contact: 6501 Magic Way, Building 400C, Orlando, 407-318-3123, http://www.agiftforteaching.org.
Electronics. Your local landfill can usually tell you how to recycle them. Orange County accepts items at its landfill and holds drop-off events four times a year. In January the county collected more than 20,000 pounds of electronics in a day. The next collection date, which isn't open to businesses, will be July 17 in south Orange at Hunters Creek Town Hall. Go to http://www.ocfl.net/utilities and click on "electronic waste disposal."
Coffee grounds. If composting isn't practical, Beth Hollenbeck of Eco-Action in Casselberry suggests dumping coffee grounds and clean, crushed eggshells on rose bushes. "You can feed your plants with it," she said, and the grounds and shells won't attract pests.
The kitchen sink. Seriously! Habitat for Humanity Orlando runs two "ReStore" shops, where home-improvement supplies and furniture are sold at deep discount. Tom May, who oversees the stores, said mattresses and even toilets are needed. "We clean them up all nice and shiny. It's a high-selling item, oddly enough," he said. They also take used light fixtures, ceiling fans, doors and sinks. Stores: 2105 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, 407-426-7192; 4835 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, 407-480-2493.
Styrofoam. Expanded polystyrene, often called Styrofoam, has a reputation for being unrecyclable, but Blue Earth Solutions in Clermont turns foam blocks and cups into pellets that can be manufactured into plastic products, such as office supplies. Items can be dropped off at 13511 Granville Ave., Clermont, though anything with food must be thoroughly cleaned. The company also recycles cardboard boxes.
Packing peanuts. Most UPS Stores across Central Florida will take packing materials, though policies depend on individual stores. "We take peanuts. We take bubble wrap," said Christopher Mathieu, general manager of the UPS store on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee. "If people want to get rid of it, we'll take it."
Packing boxes. U-Haul has created a box exchange program for those who recently moved or are about to move. Since the program started about three years ago, an estimated 2.5 million boxes have been reused. Go to http://www.uhaul.com/boards, to arrange a box trade, or contact your local U-Haul about their "take a box, leave a box" supply.
Fishing line. Monofilament, the thin clear fishing line, can become an invisible and lethal force in waterways, where it can entangle wildlife and even scuba divers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission collects the line through tubes at piers, boat ramps and fishing bridges and ships it to an Iowa company that turns it into underwater habitat structures. To request a tube or join the volunteer collection effort, visit http://www.fishinglinerecycling.com.
Copyright © 2010, Orlando Sentinel
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