Mattresses damage landfill equipment and do not easily compress, taking up about 23 cubic feet of space each. Fortunately, mattresses are 100 percent recyclable. They are made of foam, polyester, cotton, metal, wood and shoddy (reclaimed wool fabric), all of which can be re-manufactured into other products.
When you recycle or donate your mattress you can support organizations that do more than keep mattresses out of landfills. Avenue of Life helps low-income individuals and families break the cycle of poverty by providing jobs to those with barriers to employment, and Sleepyhead Beds provides clean, recycled beds and bedding to children in need. These organizations have partnered with each other to make sure all mattresses they receive are donated back to families or recycled. Avenue of Life collects all mattresses recycled at Courtney Ridge Landfill, Excelsior Springs Recycling Center and Lee’s Summit Resource Recovery Park.
Many of us have replaced our standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs. But what do you do with the old bulbs when they burn out? Properly disposing or recycling light bulbs can increase your safety, save energy and help the environment.
The hazardous component of fluorescent light bulbs is the small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a fluorescent bulb breaks, some of this mercury is released as mercury vapor. Keep yourself and sanitation workers safe by following proper cleanup procedures.
Incandescent, halogen and LED bulbs
Unfortunately, there are no options to recycle incandescent, halogen and LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs in the Kansas City metro. Since these types of bulbs do not contain any hazardous materials they can be thrown away in your regular trash. For safety’s sake, place burned out bulbs back in their original packaging or in a plastic bag before throwing them away.
When your outdoor grill, camping stove or helium tank runs out of gas, what do you do with the empty tank? You can recycle these pressurized gas cylinders, but they require special handling.
Gas Grill Tanks Outdoor gas grills use propane tanks. When yours runs out of gas, you can exchange it for a full tank at services such as Blue Rhino or Amerigas. Each has locations throughout the metro area, and charges a fee to exchange or buy a new tank. If you want to recycle your old tank without getting a refill, you can either drop it off at one of these tank exchange locations or take it to a scrap metal dealer that accepts pressurized tanks.
Disposable Helium Tanks People purchase disposable helium tanks to fill up balloons for special occasions. The companies that sell them generally don’t take them back. Properly prepare the tank for recycling by watching this video, then take it to a scrap metal dealer.
Other Tanks Pressurized industrial, medical and specialty gas tanks are most often taken back by the company that sells them. Contact the company you purchased yours from to find out about return options.
Always call first!
Always call scrap metal dealers and household hazardous waste facilities first. HHW facilities have size limits and scrap metal dealers have preparation requirements.
We use hundreds of types of plastics in our daily lives, so how do we know which ones are recyclable and which ones are not? Most recycling programs include plastic, but are vague, confusing or inconsistent about which types are accepted. So we play the guessing game and end up trashing plastic items that could be recycled, and recycling others that should be trashed. The following information should help clear it all up for you.
Recycle These: The following list has the types of plastics that you can recycle in the metro area. Most plastics used in the products you buy are numbered one through seven. Look for the number in the resin code that appears in the chasing arrow symbol, usually on the bottom of the container.
Don’t Recycle These: Following are the types of plastics you cannot currently recycle in the Kansas City metro area. Most can go in the trash, but be sure to properly dispose of hazardous household products.
Proper Plastics Prep Proper preparation of materials can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful recycling. Here are some tips:
Call — Always call your hauler or recycling center first to confirm the types of plastics they accept.
Empty — Make sure containers are completely empty.
Rinse — Give containers a quick rinse to remove residue.
Don’t forget caps and lids — Plastic caps and lids are recyclable, too. Crush plastic bottles, put the cap back on and recycle. Or, fill a plastic tub with caps and lids, put on the lid and recycle. Both methods keep caps and lids from falling through the sorting machinery and getting thrown out at the material recovery facility.
Even if glass is not collected in your standard curbside recycling program, there are many options for recycling and reusing all types of glass in the metro area.
Food and Beverage Containers Recycle brown, clear, green and blue food and beverage containers in the large, purple Ripple Glass bins located throughout the metro area. If you prefer curbside pickup, both Atlas Glass and KC Curbside Glass provide service throughout the metro area to both residents and businesses for a monthly fee.
Glassware Donate undamaged dishware, vases, decorative glassware and mirrors to thrift stores. Antique glassware can be sold at antique stores and online.
Donate mirrors, glass shelving and various types of glass windows to Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Glass panes or unframed glass can only be accepted if it is new and in its original packaging. For more information on acceptable materials, check ReStore’s donation criteria list.
Fluorescent light bulbs Fluorescent tubes and compact bulbs (the squiggly ones) have mercury in them, which requires special handling. Both can be recycled through local household hazardous waste programs. Compact fluorescent bulbs can also be recycled at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Broken glass With the exception of food and beverage containers, if the glass you want to get rid of is broken, it is not recyclable. Call your trash hauler for pickup of large pieces of broken glass — such as windows, table tops, mirrors, etc. — and verify preparation requirements. A fee may apply. All small, broken glass items and burnt out light bulbs (excluding fluorescent bulbs mentioned above) can be disposed of in the trash. Keep the safety of your sanitation workers in mind and prepare items properly for disposal.