clock menu more-arrow no yes

How to Safely Get Rid of Unwanted Household Items

How to toss or recycle household materials in need of special treatment. Note: Be sure to check your local laws before proceeding

Wood

Photo by 1Photodiva/Getty Images

Local recycling centers can chip untreated lumber for use in compost, mulch, or particleboard; find a facility near you at Earth911. Treated or finished wood isn't a good candidate for recycling, though. Instead, donate it to a local reuse facility.

Metal

Photo by Jerry Redfern/Getty Images

Most metals can be scrapped for a small profit. Consult iScrapApp Online for local scrap-metal shops and current rates. Keep in mind that ferrous (iron-containing) metals, such as stainless steel and cast iron, fetch less than nonferrous metals, such as copper.

Mixed Debris

Photo by Cultura RM Exclusive/Judith Wagner Fotografie/Getty Images

First, ask your regular trash-pickup service what their bulk pickup rates are for nonhazardous, nonrecyclable waste—this is often the cheapest option. You can also try a Bagster (about $30; Bagster), which can hold up to 3,300 pounds; they'll come empty it for about about $130.

Hazardous Household Waste

Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten/Getty Images

Give away solvents, paints, stains, and pesticides, or take them to a recycling center that accepts hazardous household waste. If the product is water-based, you can let it evaporate before disposing of the solids in a sealed plastic bag.

Appliances

Photo by Victor De Schwanberg/SPL/Getty Images

Fridges, freezers, window AC units, and dehumidifiers may contain toxics such as mercury—so in many states, sending them to the landfill is illegal. Instead, look into local cash-back or rebate programs that include pickup; just confirm that inefficient units will be recycled, not resold.