You’re not the only one making wish lists this time of year. Here’s one for your residents to check twice to make sure their next move-out is environmentally responsible. Or, should a tenant leave you with a move-out mess, this handy list will help you navigate the detritus responsibly. Thank goodness for security deposits.
- Televisions—Just a few weeks ago, Best Buy announced that it’s dropping the $10 fee for recycling old TVs. Televisions and other electronic waste can’t be tossed in landfills, but not all e-waste recycling is actually environmentally safe. Some e-waste is shipped to developing countries where impoverished people break down and sort it without any environmental or personal safeguards, so I was very relieved to learn what happens to electronics after you drop them off at Best Buy.
- Tires—Televisions, tires and mattresses all seem to be commonly dumped items in parks, alleys and on curbs. It’s no wonder: No matter where you live, these items usually cost a few bucks to properly dispose of them. The upside is that used tires can still be very useful. They may lose their treads, but they are nothing if not durable, which makes them excellent candidates for reuse in basketball courts, shoes and even as new tires.
- Toxic household chemicals—Most homes contain something that the state or federal government considers toxic. These items – for obvious reasons – can’t be thrown away in the normal trash or flushed down the drain. Check local regulations to see which items are considered toxic in your area. Your state or local municipality web site can direct you to recycling locations.
- Mattresses—Despite the fact that thousands of old mattresses get dumped in landfills every year, there are still very few recycling facilities available for this ubiquitous behemoth. If you have an unwanted mattress, first research local regulations about donations or disposal. Research 1800recycling or earth911 to find out if you are lucky enough to have a recycling option near you.
- Household goods—From silverware and bedding to books and clothing, used household goods that are still in good working condition can go on to live another lifetime with someone else. Box up reusable items and deliver to a local charity. Or, if you have larger items like a dresser, table or sofa, request a pickup. These types of donations are often tax deductible, so be sure to ask for a receipt.
I used to think that placing unwanted household items on the curb with a “for free” sign was a resourceful way to keep things moving, but I’ve seen my fair share of soggy sofas left on the street. Unless you live in an area without rain, mist, fog, snow, floods or dogs who enjoy marking while on a walk, put your reusable household furniture to better use by connecting directly with a non-profit.
Finally, after the move, tenants can break down those moving boxes and put them out for the next recycling pickup. Or, if the boxes are still in good shape, they can be offered on craigslist.org to save a stranger the trouble of collecting their own.
What’s the oddest thing a tenant ever left behind?