Back pain, stiffness, and sore muscles upon waking are common symptoms that you’re sleeping on an old or worn-out mattress and it’s time to replace it. A quality mattress is expected to last about 10 years, but only if it is being taken care of. If mattresses are used for activities other than sleeping, or if heavier people sleep on it, they should be replaced more frequently. A mattress can be recycled, so ask the company delivering your new mattress if they will haul the old one away for recycling or look into bulk waste collection.
Many garages and basements contain a handful of half-empty old paint cans. Why keep it if you don’t plan any paint projects in the near future? Water-based paint is not considered hazardous and many states allow paint cans to be thrown out with the household trash.
Oil-based paint, however, is considered hazardous household waste and you should find a drop-off location for the leftover paint.
Old power strips
After just a few minutes cleaning your junk drawer, you’ll probably find several short and long extension cords that have been there for a long time. Extension cords deteriorate over time, especially if used often, which increases the risk of electric shock or fire. Get rid of any cords that have exposed wires or cracks. Cords that are made from copper and aluminum can be recycled.
America’s tap water supplies are generally clean and have to meet EPA standards for potability, but bottled water is still very popular because it’s so convenient. However, it is really bad for the environment. The energy needed to produce, transport, and chill bottled water is up to 2,000 times the energy needed to produce tap water. In addition, plastic bottles can take 450 years or more to decompose. Recycle the plastic bottles you have, and don’t buy any more.
Many oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide, also called caustic soda, a synthetically manufactured substance that is very corrosive. The chemical can cause inflammation, redness, or even burns if it comes in contact with the skin. Thousands of people accidentally ingest it and other caustic chemicals from household products, including oven cleaner, every year.