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Recycling
August 14, 2008

Where Did You Say I Could Get Rid of That?

If you have ever wondered where to get rid of something you no longer want or can use, we may have the answer. The three “R’s” (reduce, reuse, and recycle) have gotten very popular and protection of the environment is a hot topic. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) asks that citizens Reduce the amount and toxicity of trash discarded, Reuse containers and products; repair what is broken or give it to someone who can repair it, give the item to someone who can use it; Recycle as much as possible, which includes buying products with recycled content. There are options for disposing of almost anything if you know the right place to go. Although putting used or unwanted items in the trash seems to be the easiest solution, it is not always the best solution.

The City offers the Drop-Off Depot at 875 Vista Drive as a place to take trash, brush, major appliances, batteries, lawnmowers, and tires. The Drop-Off Depot is open the second Saturday of each month from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, March through October. There is a fee charged for this service. Check the City of Independence Public Works Department website for pricing on items to be disposed of and more information on other types of items accepted. Some local businesses will pick up old appliances free of charge.

A one-stop recycling information website is offered by Mid-America Regional Council – RecycleSpot.org. Use this search tool to find places to recycle, donate, sell or buy used items throughout the Kansas City region. The interactive online database of recycling information can direct you to companies who accept many items. Always be sure to call the listed companies first to ensure they still are in operation and will accept the product you want to dispose of. Other agencies that can provide information about recycling are www.bridgingthegap.org and www.kcfreecycle.org.

Cell phones can be disposed of several ways: they can be sent to a recycling organization called Secure the Call Foundation: through their website (www.donatemycellphone.org ), this organization provides a pre-paid mailing label to be used for mailing used, unwanted cell phones to them for refurbishing as free emergency phones. You can also download a tax deduction form at this website. In addition, several local stores have programs in place to dispose of old cell phones – PetSmart provides an envelope for mailing them in to recycle and Best Buy and Radio Shack will accept them at their stores.

The Consumer Electronics Association has stated that one old analog television set can leak eight pounds of lead into the environment. There are several websites that offered information about recycling centers for old TV’s – www.mygreenelectronics.org or www.earth911.org . The EPA lists its “plug-in” partners on www.epa.gov/rcc/plugin which will transfer you to corporate sites that detail their recycling program or call the U.S. Environmental Recycling Hotline at 1-800-253-2687.

Recent news reports indicate that the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals is responsible for a number of problems, including accidental poisonings, teen drug abuse and waterway pollution. Trace amounts of numerous drugs have been found in the drinking water supply of millions of Americans. While Independence is not one of those cities where this is an indicated problem, a proactive approach is best. Recommended ways to dispose of unwanted, out-dated medicines are: 1. don’t flush them; 2. crush solid medications and dissolve them in water; dilute liquid medications in water – then mix the solution with kitty litter; sawdust, or any material that a child or pet would not find attractive, place it in bag, seal and put in the trash. It may also be possible to get answers from your pharmacy – call them and ask for proper disposal information.

Some pharmacies have a take-back program as a solution to this growing problem.

Used motor oil never wears out – it gets dirty but can be recycled, cleaned and used again. Recycling used motor oil reduces pollution and helps protect the environment and conserves a valuable resource. Free disposal of motor oil is usually available at local Auto Parts stores (please call them in advance for more information, such as limits). The Kansas City, MO Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility (816.513.8401) and the annual HHW collection held each April in Independence accept household hazardous wastes, including motor oil.

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