This post is guest-written by our WE Citizenship intern, Cailee Olson, who is in the process of transitioning from college life to a temporary living arrangement with her parents to her first apartment. During this journey, Cailee has realized that she needs to purge her life of belongings that she no longer wants or needs. Every day this week, she’ll share ideas for ways to donate or to responsibly dispose of common household items.
I confess that I’m not a very good kitchen recycler. I think everything paper belongs in the recycling bin and that food scraps can all go down the drain. I definitely learned a thing or two after researching sustainability in the kitchen!
One way people can responsibly dispose of food waste in the kitchen is by having a compost bin. Around 67 percent of the total weight of items heading to landfills in the U.S. is suited for a compost bin. Many kitchen items can go into a compost bin: food scraps, food-soiled paper products, yard trimmings, even ground-up wine corks.
Another way to dispose of wine corks – which are non-recyclable – is to take them to your local Whole Foods store. Most Whole Foods locations have collection bins for used wine corks. The corks can be recycled into flooring tiles, building insulation, shoe soles, fishing rod handles, bulletin boards, and soil containers. For those who are a bit craftier, Pinterest offers many suggestions for projects that re-use wine corks including cork boards, picture frames, candleholders, cork monograms and much more. A simple list of common items people think are recyclable can be found here.
People often get stuck on what to do with stoves and refrigerators when they stop working. Both contain chemicals that cannot be thrown away. While certainly there are exceptions, the cost to repair an old appliance is often more expensive than the price of a new, more energy-efficient model. If the appliance is beyond repair, most companies that deliver new appliances offer programs to remove your old ones and responsibly dispose of them for free.