Not everything can be recycled with regular pick-up services in campus buildings and curbside collection. Here are some ways you can recycle less-traditional materials. We'd also like to suggest some alternatives to throwing out/recycling more common materials.
|Household Batteries||Recycle them in containers in Philips, Hall Annex, Facilities, Wilder, Mudd A-Level (outside the Technology Store), Ben Franklin, Watson's, and City Hall.|
|All rechargable batteries including laptop, cell phone, and camera batteries||Drop them in the container outside the Technology Store in Mudd A-Level.|
|Printer cartridges||Put them in the container outside the Technology Store, and CIT will donate them to a school that recycles printer cartridges as a fundraiser.|
|Lightbulbs (incandescent and fluorescent)||Take them to the Facilities building, first floor, and give them to any departmental Administrative Assistant, who will make sure they are picked up with the weekly hazardous waste.|
|Electronics||The CIT office in Mudd A-Level recycles all e-scrap with Inline Recycling.|
|Styrofoam peanuts||The Oberlin College Mailroom accepts used peanuts in the labeled bins. The UPS Store, at 55 S. Main St. (near the public library), will reuse them as well. You can call the UPS store at 440-774-7447.|
|One-sided paper||Place it in the one-sided paper box by the printer on the first floor of Mudd, or bring it to the RCT office in the Free Store. We will make it into one-sided notebooks, which we offer free in our office.|
|Clothing and shoes in good condition, and all sorts of functional household items||Bring them to the Free Store, in the basement of Asia House. We are open from 7-9 on weeknights.|
Resources outside of Oberlin
Junk Mail Reduction
The EPA reports that 2.1% of municipal solid waste in landfills is direct mail and catalogs. That's over 3 million tons a year. There are two ways to limit the amount of junk mail you receive:
- You can opt out selectively by requesting specific companies do not make your name and address available to other businesses.
- To opt out nationally, you can write to the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS), a free service established in 1971, and have your name removed from most national mailing lists for five years. Send your full name and address, including apartment number and ZIP code to;
MPS, c/o DMA
PO Box 9008
This can also be done with JUNK MAIL CARDS which are available through the recycling office to help eliminate your name and address from mailing lists. If you send in one of these cards, your address will not be used on new junk mailings and your address may be eliminated from junk mailings you currently receive. Companies you continue to do business with, however, will continue to send you mailings. It takes approximately three months before your address will be eliminated from lists. It will remain off lists for five years. This does not affect mail sent to businesses.
Polystyrene Packing & Peanuts
For larger, polystyrene blocks in large quantities, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers at 1-800-944-8448.
Holiday Card Recycling
St. Jude's Ranch is a non-profit home where troubled youth are provided with counseling, business experience, and a sense of purpose. Kids at the ranch operate a business where used greeting cards are remounted on new backs and sold. You can send your old greeting cards with or without backs in bundles at the 'bound printed matter' postage rate to:
St. Jude’s Card Recycling,
100 St. Jude St.
Post Office Box 60100
Boulder City, NV, 89006.
Clothing and Small Household Items
Locally, the best thing to do with clothing and small household goods you no longer have use for is to bring them to local thrift stores, like Good Neighbor (3105 Pearl Ave in Lorain, 440-277-9944) or Goodwill (989-2224), or local flea markets, like East Oberlin flea market (774-4312, 43433 Oberlin-Elyria Road, open Friday-Sunday 10-5) or Jamie's flea market (440-986-4402, 46388 Telegraph Road in Amherst, open Wednesday and Saturday 8-4).
There are three ways to avoid landing your old shoes in the landfill: mending, recycling the materials to make other items, or donating to charities for redistribution. The choice depends on the condition of your shoes. Locally, shoes can be repaired by Frank at Frank's Shoe Repair, 192 Park Avenue, Amherst. Take route 58 north, make a left on Park Ave.; (440) 988-4999.
Rather than buying a new pair of Birkenstocks, send worn-out shoes to the Birkenstock repair department for new soles and resealed cork ($29), new suede foot liner ($23), or a complete overhaul, everything except the straps ($60). You can contact the company by email, phone (1-800-BIRKS-4-U/1-800-247-5748), or snail mail (P.O. Box 6140, Novato, CA 94948).
Several companies collect old shoes and grind up the rubber and fiber. The rubber can be granulated and reused and the fiber fluff can be used for bedding, padding, or home insulation. For instance, Nike (this is not an endorsement!) runs the Reuse-a-Shoe Program. They mix ground discarded tires and shredded worn out running shoes to make athletic playing surfaces donated to city parks. Go to the website to find out the closest collection location (closer is better: less environmentally harmful transport, even if you pay the same postage!).
Several companies collect old shoes for redistribution to the needy. Locally, shoes can be brought to thrift stores: see the clothing section.
Every year in the US, more motor oil is dumped by individuals than spilled in the Exxon Valdez catastrophe. It is essential to reuse this oil. Old motor oil can be refined and reused numerous times. Considering that one gallon of motor oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of fresh water, the need to recycle motor oil becomes clear. If all the motor oil that is dumped annually were recycled instead, enough power could be produced to power 360,000 homes for a year.
To recycle motor oil, keep it separated from other substances and drain it into a reusable, resealable container. Locally, you can bring your used motor oil to: Oberlin Marathon, 141 South Main Street, 774-2730. Also, ask at gas stations you go to: many will recycle used motor oil or will know other locations that do.
Old eyeglasses can be brought or mailed to: Lenscrafters, 4690 Midway Mall, Elyria, OH 44035. Lenscrafters runs a national eyeglass collection program which redistributes glasses to people outside of the US in need of glasses. The demand for used glasses is tremendous.
Floppies and CDs
Damaged CDs can often be repaired. Slight damage may be corrected by using a mild abrasive like toothpaste and making radial strokes outward from the center of the disk. For more substantial repairs, CDs can be sent to professional refinishers such as AuralTech CD Refinishing for about $3 a CD: 1555 127th Place NE, Bellevue, WA, 98005, (888) 454-3223 or (425) 454-1426.
If the CD is hopelessly damaged, or the material on the CD is no longer useful to you, CDs can be recycled. CDs are often recycled into automotive parts while their cases may end up as egg cartons. Send them to whichever of these locations is closest to you (fewer resources will be used to get them there):
- Alternative Plastic Services, c/o DADC Recycling Program, 200 Brown St., Lawrenceburg, IN 47027
- NE-SAR Systems, 420 Ashwood Rd., Darlington, PA 16115, 724-827-8172
- VidTape Inc., 340 Eastern Parkway, Farmingdale, NY 11735, 516-454-1234 ext.222
- Lacerta Group, Inc., 134 Southampton St., Boston MA 02118, (617) 442-3111
You pay nothing but the postage
The city of Oberlin encourages its residents to participate in special recycling collections offered by the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District. Generally, these include:
- Household hazardous waste
- Waste tire collection
- Glossy paper collections
- Pesticide Amnesty Day
Times and locations are posted in the local media. For more information, contact the City Recycling Coordinator at 775.7251.
Computers contain many toxic chemicals and are becoming a major problem in today’s landfills. Help alleviate the problem by extending the life of your old, unwanted computer and donating it for reuse.
You can also bring your old computer, and any other electronics that you have, into the free store. Once a year, in the fall, we bring all of your broken electronics to the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District's annual e-scrap recycling day in Elyria.
Or, if you want to buy a new Mac, Apple will recycle your old computer for free, no matter what model it is.