Oil-based paints are toxic and pose health and environmental risks unless you solidify them before you throw them out, to prevent spillage. You can do that by simply opening the lid and letting the paint dry before putting it in the bin. If you can’t wait that long, you can add paint hardener.
Batteries are another common household item that you shouldn’t toss. All lithium batteries, including the coin variety, can spark fires if damaged and leach harmful chemicals into soil and water, which is why they should go to a battery recycler. Some residential trash-disposal companies offer a free program that lets you order a prepaid, pre-addressed box to mail your used batteries to them for proper disposal. Watch, too, for local electronic waste collection events, which tend to happen in spring and fall.
Disposal procedures vary by region, so ask your local waste management provider or your city or county how to dispose of other items that pose an environmental hazard. They should be able to tell you what the law is regarding their disposal, and where you can find collection sites for specific kinds of waste.
In general, Haley says, the cost of disposing of household waste varies depending on the item. Designated facilities typically recycle tires for free, while oil must go to a special recycling center and may incur a small fee. Certified technicians need to dismantle air conditioners and refrigerators to remove the freon, which can cost around $100.
When it comes time to shuck furniture, appliances, or construction debris, work with your local waste management provider to schedule a bulk or oversize pickup. As an alternative, you can pay a moving company to pick up and dispose of things such as washing machines, mattresses, and cabinets, especially during their slower season, usually winter.
So, yes, decluttering and getting rid of stuff that’s no longer useful does take some significant legwork. But once you’ve created that decluttered, detoxified space, it’ll all be worth it.