On Earth Day — or every day, for that matter — the mantra that many use as a guide to help the environment is reduce, reuse and recycle.
But it can be confusing to know what do to with a broken television, well-worn clothing or unwanted prescription drugs.
Take Jessica Sherwood, who had two fluorescent tube lights that could have wound up in the trash, but she didn’t want the hazardous materials inside the bulbs to harm the environment. So she dropped them off at Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s household hazardous waste facility on Harrisburg Pike.
Just in time for Earth Day, which is Sunday, and spring cleaning, here’s a guide on what to do with all the stuff that shouldn’t wind up in the trash.
Note: A good first step is to contact your trash hauler or municipality to see how they handle these items. Another option is to visit www.earth911.com to find where to recycle more than 350 items, from corks to tin cans.
They can be taken to the waste authority’s three locations, including the transfer station complex at 1299 Harrisburg Pike. There’s a $15 per item charge for appliances that contain refrigerants and a $10 charge for other appliances.
Sahd Metal Recycling, 1045 Lancaster Ave., Columbia, charges $10 each to take appliances with Freon.
You also could make some money by finding a business that pays for metals. For example, Sahd pays 6 cents a pound for appliances that do not contain Freon, and All Met Recycling and Allegheny Iron, 214 Conestoga St., pays 7 cents per pound.
Lancaster County residents can recycle batteries by dropping them off at the waste authority’s household hazardous waste facility. There is no charge.
Sahd Metal Recycling pays 9 cents a pound for batteries.
You can donate to a local charity, but think twice before donating stained, damaged or extra-worn clothing. Charities sometimes have to pay to send those unsellable items to a landfill.
Lancaster County has at least three stores that will take those well-worn clothes. H&M and The North Face will take donations and reuse or recycle them. Plus, you’ll get a coupon for each bag you donate.
Donate any brand of shoes or clothing at The North Face store (including the one at Tanger Outlets) and get a $10 coupon.
Donate any brand of clothing or shoes at H&M (at Park City Center and Tanger) and receive a 15-percent-off coupon.
Levi Strauss collects clothing to resell or recycle, but the store at Rockvale Outlets along Lincoln Highway East no longer has a donation box.
Donate leftover materials from your last craft project to the Art of Recycle, 27 Cloister Ave., Ephrata. The nonprofit will share with other organizations, use them in its own free crafting area or sell them to raise money.
Craft items also can be donated to Lancaster Creative Reuse, 1865 Lincoln Highway East, to be sold in the nonprofit’s craft store.
Fabric can be donated to Mennonite Central Committee’s Material Resources Center, 517 W. Trout Run Road, Ephrata.
Drop off prescription drugs at most police departments in Lancaster County, Sloan’s Pharmacy locations and Darrenkamps Pharmacy locations. For more information, visit LancasterJoiningForces.org. For needles, contact the waste authority for a free device that will clip and store needles. Safe clip devices also are for sale at pharmacies for less than $10.
Lancaster County residents can drop off devices like computers, laptops, televisions, cellphones, stereos and computer accessories for free at the waste authority’s household hazardous waste facility. There’s a daily limit of 10 devices per customer.
Cellphones also can be donated to companies like Verizon or Sprint, or nonprofits. Secure the Call (securethecall.org) turns them into emergency-only phones for domestic violence nonprofits and senior centers. Cell Phones for Soldiers (cellphonesforsoldiers.com) recycles phones and uses the money for emergency grants to veterans.
Local Goodwill stores accept computers and accessories for free as well, and companies such as Egreen (717-449-3267) in Ephrata will accept electronics for free by appointment.
Lancaster County residents can take fluorescent bulbs (up to 30 per month) to waste authority’s household hazardous waste facility. Old holiday lights can be shipped to HolidayLEDs, (bit.ly/HolidayLightsRecycle) to be recycled. Recyclers will be given a 15-percent-off coupon for new LED lights.
Most grocers recycle plastic bags. Find out which ones do at abagslife.com.
Recycle styrofoam (stamped with #6) at Dart Container Corp.’s two local sites: 60 E. Main St., Leola, and 110 Pitney Road.
Tires can be taken to waste authority’s three locations in Lancaster County. There’s a $3 per tire charge for most types.
Compost your yard waste. Or contact your municipality for local pickup or drop-off sites. Otherwise take yard waste to Frey Farm Landfill, 3049 River Road, Conestoga, for $30 a ton.