How to Dispose of Lightbulbs and 9 Other Hazardous Items

When in doubt, don’t toss it out — read this first
old stove Photo: Kevin Tietz/Shutterstock
lightbulbs
antifreeze
old stove
sharp bottles
cooking grease
insulin needles
broken lightbulb
expired medication
mercury thermometer
paint cans
pesticides
smoke detector
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Appliances

If your old fridge, stove or dishwasher kicked the bucket, don’t take it apart or toss it outside. Old appliances may contain hazardous substances such as mercury, used oil and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to the EPA. First, check with your electric company to see if they offer a “bounty program” that will pay you cash for turning over an outdated, inefficient appliance, the EPA recommends.

If there’s no program in your area, contact your city or county to check disposal rules. Some cities offer “bulky item pickup” for appliances. Before you put a refrigerator, freezer, washer or dryer in front of your house for pickup, take off the door so children can’t get trapped inside, Holtzman says.