You’ve made up your mind — today’s the day. With sleeves rolled up, you’re ready to get down and dirty. You’re ready for spring cleaning. Good for you!
But before you dig in, take a moment to consider how your clean-up effort can also protect the environment and help others in need, Sound good? We’ve got you.
Let’s start with that bag of bats, gloves and balls. You gave up softball 10 years ago. Do you still need that gear? You can be sure somebody else does. Imagine your once loved, but now neglected, sports equipment, clothes and shoes getting a new start with someone who needs them. To give them a new life, you can donate items to thrift shops, host a yard sale with your neighbors or give them to friends. Your old things will look better on others than they do in a landfill.
Now for the clean-up. Cleaning products often contain harsh and unhealthy chemicals, and it’s often hard to tell if the active ingredients are safe or not. You can know for sure if you make your own cleaning products. By mixing non-toxic items like baking soda and vinegar, or even soap and warm water, you can have plenty of scrubbing power without the unwanted health and environmental side effects. Go here to find great recipes for non-toxic cleaners: ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Guidance-technical-assistance/Dangerous-waste-guidance/Common-dangerous-waste/Cleaners.
What about those old cleaning supplies with labels that say “caution” “warning,” “danger,” “poison” or “hazardous”? Don’t put them in the garbage or down the toilet or the sink! For safe disposal, it’s important to take household hazardous waste items to a hazardous waste facility. In Snohomish County, residents can drop off items at the county’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Station, 3434 McDougall Ave., Everett for safe disposal. For more information, visit snohomishcountywa.gov/477/Hazardous-Waste.
Got old paint? If it has a label and it’s water-based or latex, you can recycle it at any Take It Back Paint Recycling location. If that’s not workable, remove the lid or stir in some kitty litter to dry it up, and then toss it in the trash. If the label is gone and you don’t know what kind of paint it is, drop it off with other hazardous waste items.
Next stop, the medicine cabinet. You can easily get rid of expired prescription and over-the-counter medications at drop-off locations in Snohomish County. Visit TakeBackYourMeds.org to find the closest location to you.
Finally, don’t forget the great outdoors! Grass trimmings, leaves and branches all go into the yard debris cart. Just make sure to cut them into small enough pieces to fit with the lid closed.
There you have it — some simple tips for an easy, safe and more productive spring cleaning. Just add elbow grease!
Hannah Scholes is the recycling education & outreach manager for Waste Management. Learn more at sustainability.wm.com.