Do Not Put These In The Trash!

I don’t believe that much BELONGS in the trash. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Donate, Compost – our trash is pretty small. Did you know that there are some things that can be dangerous if thrown into the trash? Take a look at the following list and note the safe alternatives for disposal.


Button Type – Many button batteries contain mercury. They are collected at MacKay Hardware, Ace Hardware and Westford Board of Health

Lithium batteries – These batteries are reactive with water and can cause fires. Save for Household Hazardous Waste collection

Rechargeable batteries – Some may contain cadmium, a metal that is toxic to humans when inhaled or ingested. Radio Shack and Best Buy are among the places that accept rechargeables.

Regular alkaline batteries are safe to put into the trash according to Mass DEP. Since 1994, alkaline batteries contain no added mercury. This still seems wrong to me and I can’t bring myself to throw them in the trash. I have a box of them that my husband takes to work to recycle on occasion. I also recently discovered that the Littleton Transfer station will also accept them. You need to be a resident of Littleton, however.

CFLs – Any fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury. They can be disposed of properly by Ace Hardware, MacKay Hardware or Home Depot. If a CFL breaks, please read this before attempting to clean up. DO NOT USE A VACUUM or BROOM.

Sharps – To ensure proper disposal, take to the Board of Health. They should be placed in a puncture proof container such as a detergent bottle, coffee can or sharps container.

Thermometers and Thermostats – Old thermometers and some thermostats contain mercury. Dispose of at the Board of Health. Please place intact mercury containing devices in a sealed plastic bag.

Motor Oil – Used oil contains heavy metals, which can contaminate water supplies and harm eco-systems. Take the oil back to where you bought it. Whoever sold it to you is required by Massachusetts law to take back up to two gallons of your used oil per day, without charge, provided you still have the sales receipt. No receipt? Westford Fire Station (Center of Town) or Whitney’s Service will take it for a small fee of $1/gallon.

Household hazardous waste items – Westford collects household hazardous waste every other year. If you missed the last collection this past fall, you may take your items to the Minuteman Hazardous Products Regional Facility in Lexington. It is open for 8 weekend days April – Nov, 2011, fees apply.

Please pass this along to anyone you think might not know. At least we can keep really harmful stuff out of the waste stream.

4 Responses to Do Not Put These In The Trash!

  1. Kristy February 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Chelmsford is doing theirs household hazardous waste day on Saturday, April 30 2011 from 9 to 1. I’m not sure if it only for Chelmsford residents or not. You can always check the town’s website or They have one every year, but only for one day (maybe twice a year).

  2. Kristy February 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    I forgot to add, I am organizing Chelmsford’s Earth Fair which will be on Saturday May 14th from 12 – 3 at the Chelmsford Senior Center. I hope to see you there 🙂

  3. The Greening Of Westford February 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Thanks Kristy! I’ll check out Chelmsford’s HHW collection and let people know. The Earth fair sounds great too. Westford Farmers Maket will be doing one on April 2 at the First Parish Church United in the center of Westford.

  4. lorialper February 15, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Our town advises that residents throw their used batteries in the trash. I am not comfortable with this either. We have been saving our old batteries in a bag and will dispose of them when the bag is full. Thanks for this great list.

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