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7 things you need to never throw away (or you can be in legal trouble)


By now, everyone knows how one can separate trash from recyclables.

But what in regards to the other things we now not need? The reply isn’t any in case you’re holding an old bottle of medication. Tap or click here to examine if any of your meds have been recalled.

Motor oil, engine coolant and other vehicle chemicals must even be disposed of properly. Speaking of cars, you do not need a brand recent one to get today’s tech inside. Tap or click for reasonably priced upgrades you’ll be able to make to your older automobile.

Many on a regular basis items have their methods of secure disposal. Note: I include general guidelines here, but you usually check together with your local waste authority to be secure.

1. Household batteries 

Batteries are broken down into two broad categories: Single-use and rechargeable. The way you eliminate them is kind of different.

  • You may often throw away standard alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, 9-volt and the like) that power your handheld remote control, flashlight, and other on a regular basis home items within the trash.
  • Button cell or coin batteries — the sort you’ll find in calculators, watches, hearing aids and automobile key fobs — may contain silver and mercury and shouldn’t be thrown away within the trash. Bring them to a battery recycler or participating retailers that provide battery takeback services
  • Lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium batteries are mostly present in cellphones, laptops, tablets, digital cameras, power tools, and toys. These batteries should never be tossed within the trash or placed within the recycle bin. They need to be taken to separate recycling or household hazardous waste collection centers.
  • Small, sealed lead acid batteries are present in emergency devices, security systems, mobility scooters, and other special-use items. These also must be taken to special disposal centers.

To seek out more recycling and disposal information, go to this resource page at Earth911. Select a form of battery from the left drop-down menu and enter your ZIP code. Note that stores like Staples, Home Depot, and Best Buy have battery drop-off programs.

One in every of my show’s commonest battery questions is,  “What’s the very best solution to make my phone’s battery last more?” Tap or click here for a couple of secrets to get more life out of yours while you’re not near a charger.

A guest holds the brand new iPhone 14 at an Apple event at their headquarters in Cupertino, California, Sept. 7, 2022.
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

2. Smartphones and tablets

There’s no solution to remove the battery from many smartphones or tablets. Don’t simply chuck these devices within the trash, because the batteries may cause fires.

So, what must you do with it? Try trading within the old device when purchasing a recent one. Most manufacturers will recycle it without spending a dime even in case you don’t get credit for it. Take a look at Apple’s program, for instance.

The resource page at Earth911 has locations that can accept your old phone or tablet.

Before turning in or recycling your old device, it’s imperative to do a factory reset. Otherwise, you’re potentially handing over a whole lot of personal information. Tap or click here for instructions on wiping your phone, computer, and smart speaker before eliminating them.

Here’s an idea. Turn your old phone or tablet into something else entirely. Tap or click here for a 60-second audio tip on turning your phone, computer, tablet, or laptop right into a motion-activated camera.


3. Televisions

Your television comprises glass, lead, and other dangerous chemicals and shouldn’t find yourself in a landfill. And unless it’s bulk trash pickup time, don’t just put your old TV on the curb.

Try calling your local Best Buy, Walmart, and other electronics stores to see in the event that they’ll accept old TVs for recycling. For those who’re having a recent one delivered and installed, they need to take the old one, though there could also be a fee.

For those who strike out, contact your local recycling facility or sanitation department for more information. They might schedule a pickup or direct you where to go.

Consider donating the TV to a friend or thrift store. Perhaps a neighborhood retirement home or school could use it. Try posting it on a buy nothing group in your area if none of your folks and family bite.

Before eliminating your TV, sign out of each connected service and wipe your Wi-Fi password. Yes, your TV is watching. Here’s how one can stop among the tracking.

A television screen showing news reports on the shelling of the airport in Ivano-Frankivsk.

A television screen showing news reports on the shelling of the airport in Ivano-Frankivsk.
(Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

4. Automotive batteries

Automotive batteries contain lead and acid and pose a severe environmental risk to humans and animals. Which means don’t drop your old one in a dumpster.

For those who replace your battery at an auto shop, they need to take the old one and eliminate it for you. That is the law in some jurisdictions and applies to retailers who sell automobile batteries, even in the event that they don’t sell you one or install one for you.

Check with retailers equivalent to AutoZone, Pep Boys, Advance Auto Parts, Walmart, and even local repair shops. They may take your old automobile battery off your hands.

Tech upgrade: Dashcams are on my must-have vehicle tech checklist. Tap or click here for 3 great options at different price points.


5. Lighters

Identical to batteries, there are disposable and reusable lighters.

You may safely throw those low cost plastic lighters you’ll be able to pick up nearly anywhere within the trash in the event that they’re empty, though this will depend on state laws. 

Don’t pour it down the sink if there’s still lighter fluid. Go outside and activate the lighter until the fluid is used. If it gets too hot, take a break and check out later. In some jurisdictions, it’s good to take your lighter to a household hazardous waste site.

Zippos and butane utility lighters could be used repeatedly, but when it’s time to do away with them, watch out. Be certain that they’re empty before disposing of them and if you will have leftover lighter fluid or butane, take that to your nearest household hazardous waste site. Again, never pour these items down any drain.

Search to your lighter, fluid and ZIP code at Earth911 for instructions and locations for disposal.

I ditched lighter fluid altogether and acquired a chargeable arc lighter. When it dies, plug it in. Tap or click here for my favorites, including one under $10.

6. Thermometers

Old-school glass thermometers can contain mercury, which is very toxic to the environment and living things. Don’t throw it within the trash, and watch out not to interrupt it.

Some universities will take old thermometers and will even offer you a more moderen digital model, or you’ll be able to check your local HHW facility.

A thermometer shows a reading of 3.5-4 degrees Celsius taken from the ice-cold water at Highgate Men's Bathing Pond, in north London on December 12, 2017, at sunrise on a freezing winter morning. 

A thermometer shows a reading of three.5-4 degrees Celsius taken from the ice-cold water at Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond, in north London on December 12, 2017, at sunrise on a freezing winter morning. 
(Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

7. Automotive tires

Automotive tires contain steel belts that may puncture landfills and contaminate the environment. While you change your tires at a store, they need to take your old ones. There could also be a small fee.

If you will have old tires, most automobile dealerships and automotive retailers will take them for recycling, though you would possibly need to pay for this service. You too can call your trash service to schedule a pickup.

Keep your tech-know going 

My popular podcast known as “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid half-hour of tech news, suggestions, and callers with tech questions such as you from everywhere in the country. Seek for it wherever you get your podcasts. On your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST PICK: Elon Musk’s Twitter plan, TikTok automobile thieves, solar energy vs. storms

Chinese super apps encourage Elon Musk’s Twitter plans, a solar-powered town kept power during Hurricane Ian, recent phishing attacks, TikTok teaches automobile thieves, the world’s oldest webcam and how one can use our phone to hold pictures the straightforward way. Plus, how one can make cash renting your automobile and stop web sites from tracking you with URLs.

Take a look at my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.


Hearken to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just seek for my last name, “Komando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you will have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to seek out it in your local radio station. You may hearken to or watch The Kim Komando Show in your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Find out about all the most recent technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her each day suggestions, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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