Hannah Scholes. COURTESY PHOTO

Hannah Scholes. COURTESY PHOTO

Spring cleaning made easy – the fresh and healthy way

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:20pm
  • Opinion

By Hannah Scholes, Waste Management, for the Auburn Reporter

You’ve made up your mind – today’s the day. With sleeves rolled up, you’re ready to get down and dirty. You’re ready for spring cleaning. Good for you.

Before you dig in, how about taking a moment to consider how your cleanup effort can also protect the environment and help others in need? Sound good? We’ve got you.

Let’s start with that bag of bats, gloves and balls. You gave up softball 10 years ago. Do you still need that gear? You can be sure somebody else does. Imagine your once loved, but now neglected, sports equipment, clothe, and shoes getting a new start with someone who needs them.

To give them a new life, you can donate the items to thrift shops, give them to friends, or host a yard sale with your neighbors. In Auburn, residents who live within the city limits can participate in the City of Auburn Community Yard Sale event May 29-31. Visit auburnwa.gov/solidwasteevents for more details.

Now for the cleanup. Cleaning products often contain harsh and unhealthy chemicals, and it’s often hard to tell if the active ingredients are safe or not. You can know for sure if you make your own cleaning products. By mixing non-toxic items like baking soda and vinegar, or even soap and warm water, you can have plenty of scrubbing power without the unwanted health and environmental side effects. Go here to find great recipes for non-toxic, safer cleaners: kingcounty.gov.

What about those old cleaning supplies with labels that say caution, warning, danger, poison, or hazardous? Don’t put them in the garbage or down the toilet or the sink. For safe disposal, it’s important to take household hazardous waste items to a hazardous waste facility.

In Auburn, residents can drop off items at the Wastemobile every weekend at the Outlet Collection, 1101 Outlet Collection Way in Auburn (NW corner near Nordstrom Rack), or the Hazardous Waste Collection Shed at King County’s Factoria Transfer Station, 13800 SE 32nd Street in Bellevue. For more information about the King County Wastemobile and the Hazardous Waste Collection Shed, visit: kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/solid-waste/facilities/hazardous-waste.

Got old paint? If it has a label and it’s water-based or latex, you can recycle it at any Take It Back Paint Recycling location. If that’s not workable, remove the lid and stir in some kitty litter to dry it up, and then toss it in the trash. If the label is gone and you don’t know what kind of paint it is, drop it off with other hazardous waste items.

Next stop, the medicine cabinet. You can easily get rid of expired prescription and over-the-counter medications at drop-off locations in Auburn. Visit TakeBackYourMeds.org to find the closest location to you.

Finally, don’t forget the great outdoors. Grass trimmings, leaves and branches 4-inches in diameter or smaller all go into the compostables cart. Just make sure to cut them into small enough pieces to fit into the cart with the lid closed.

There you have it – some simple tips for an easy, safe, and more productive spring cleaning. Just add elbow grease!

Hannah Scholes is the recycling education & outreach manager for Waste Management. Learn more at sustainability.wm.com.

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