Posts tagged ‘hazardous waste disposal’

Our Online and Electronic Footprint- Part Two

Keeping Electronics Out of Landfills

In our modern society, we are surrounded by technology. When things break, our first thought is to throw them out. However, all of these electronics fill up our landfills and can be harmful to both humans and the environment through run-off. According to the StEP (Solving the E-waste Problem) Initiative, 48.9 million tons of gadgets and electronics were thrown out worldwide in 2012. Most of these electronics could have been repurposed or harvested for parts, which reduces our resource consumption and keeps electronics out of landfills. Many electronics stores are now offering recycling programs where you can bring in your old TV’s, computers, and other electronics for repurposing. Some places even offer store rewards for bringing in materials, such as gift cards or discounts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a great list of places that accept mobile devices, TV’s, and computers.

Other stores and organizations will accept unwanted parts such as ink cartridges, digital cameras, and MP3 players. Headphones can often be hard to find places to recycle them, but ThinkSound provides discounts on new purchases for every pair of headphones turned in. Office Max also offers rewards for turning in old ink cartridges. A quick search on the internet for the item you are looking to recycle will bring up plenty of options other than simply throwing it away. E-cycling Central also has a great list of companies and organizations by state that recycle a variety of electronic devices and materials.

Before You Buy That New Smartphone…
We are always being bombarded with the latest version or new model of cell phone and many times millions of people are running to their phone carrier to get what ever that might be. But what happens to all of those “outdated” models? Instead of throwing your phone in the trash, consider donating it to a charity that will repurpose them for those in need. There are many local and national organizations that will take donations, such as Cell Phones For Soldiers. This non-profit takes old cell phones, refurbishes them, and sends them to troops overseas so they can call home. Other organizations include National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Hyla. Some of these organizations will even buy your old phone from you.

Many wireless providers also have trade-in plans where you can turn in your old phone and receive a discount or money towards your new phone. This includes AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and other major providers. Check your provider’s website or ask an employee what your options are before you buy something new.

Reducing our electronic and online footprint is easier than you think. By reducing the amount of time you spend online and recycling any old, unwanted, and broken technology, you can lower your carbon footprint, be more engaged in your life, and even help those in need. While we can’t solve climate change in one day, every little actions makes a big impact. So unplug those devices, turn in those old electronics, and help make a difference!

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October 9, 2014 at 8:56 am Leave a comment


Recently we have addressed things going down our storm drains and their connection to our lakes along with the link between energy and water conservation.  Today we are adding one more topic relating to healthy water.  A lot of people do not realize that putting hazardous materials down the drain or toilet can have harmful effects on the environment, our health and can cause costly repairs to home sewer systems, as well as city systems.  


Even though an item says “flushable” Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District recommends throwing these items away instead.   Another option, when possible would be to use reusable items that can be washed instead of thrown away or flushed.  Examples: cloth cleaning rags, cloth napkins, reusable shopping bags.  If you have items you are not sure how to dispose of or which things  should not be flushed this helpful flyer will be able to answer questions as well as provide locations to take special items for proper disposal.   You can also visit or call 608-222-1201.


November 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

Spring Cleaning? Use Clean Sweep!

It’s easy to throw garbage in the trash bin and forget all about it, but that doesn’t mean our waste disappears into thin air. Many of us have become more aware of how important it is to recycle all sorts of items whether it is plastic bottles or old mattresses. But there are some materials that we still toss without thinking about the implications. When disposed of improperly hazardous wastes, such as used aerosol cans or ink cartridges, can pose a serious threat to environmental and public health. That’s where places like the Madison/Dane County Clean Sweep facility come in.

Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep is a place for the public to bring household hazardous wastes free of charge. By bringing your hazardous materials here they will be able to keep those products out of landfills and that will keep our environment healthier. Clean Sweep also provides a product exchange, which takes materials that are still usable and makes the products free to the public. This means you don’t necessarily have to buy a full gallon of weed killer for one plant if you are able to find a similar, partially used, FREE product on the Clean Sweep shelves. In addition to household products Clean Sweep also provides safe disposal for business and agricultural wastes by appointment.

from UMCES

For more information, including their hours and location, check out their website or call their recorded information line at 608-243-0368. If you aren’t sure about whether or not an item is considered hazardous, look it up on their 2011 Fact Sheet, which addresses cooking oil to explosives and everything in between. I had no idea that Drain Clog Remover shouldn’t be thrown away, mostly because, well, it gets dumped down the drain, but now I know. If anyone needs some Drano for their spring cleaning, you can find mine at Clean Sweep!

-Dorothy, EnAct Intern

May 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

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