Regular readers know that recycling everyday items is a recurring theme. If items don’t fit into a neat category, they become recycling odds and ends.

Obsolete Technology

In the 21st-century era of nanoseconds, the one constant about technology is that it will change. Yesterday’s state-of-the-art device is tomorrow’s dinosaur. Have you been holding onto diskettes, VHS videotapes, audio cassettes, zip disks and old software CDs until there was a way to recycle these obsolete objects?

Wait no longer. … GreenDisk has more than one way to recycle your technotrash. If you have 20 pounds or less of material, package it in a carton and order Technotrash Pack-IT Service for $6.95. Print the shipping label and send the package to GreenDisk. Note: the service fee includes recycling and processing only; you must provide the carton and pay for shipping.

For larger quantities, GreenDisk has two collection container sizes: Technotrash Can Standard (holds up to 35 pounds/$29.95 per can) and Technotrash Can Tall (holds up to 70 pounds/$49.95 per can). They are ideal for group collections such as might be held by classrooms, neighborhood/community or church groups and not-for-profit organizations. Visit for more details.

Plastic Bottle Caps

The majority of plastic bottle caps do not get recycled; they end up as litter or trash in landfills and beaches or migrate into rivers and oceans. Birds and marine creatures mistake the caps for food with tragic results. This pollution problem has a devastating impact on our oceans and wildlife.



Beauty products marketer/manufacturer Aveda announced a new recycling initiative. With the help of its network of salons and stores, in partnership with community schools (, they have implemented a recycling program for plastic bottle caps. The caps are collected at stores and schools and sent to the company’s recycler, where the material is made into new caps and containers.

The program accepts caps that are rigid polypropylene plastic (PP), sometimes noted with a “5” in the chasing-arrows recycling symbol. This includes twist-on caps with a threaded neck such as those on shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles; flip-top caps on tubes and food products such as ketchup and mayonnaise, and on laundry detergents; and some jar lids such as peanut butter.

Excluded are pharmaceutical and non-rigid lids such as yogurt lids, tub lids (margarine, cottage cheese), and screw-on lids that are not rigid. If you can bend or break the lid with your bare hands, it does not meet the rigid plastic definition. Please do not bring metal lids or plastic pumps or sprayers, because too much of the wrong types of materials can contaminate the recycling process.

Polystyrene Packaging or Styrofoam

It is no secret that Styrofoam takes up a lot of landfill space. From television and electronics packaging to coffee cups and takeout containers, polystyrene or Styrofoam enters our homes and is not readily recyclable (not accepted in Evanston’s program).

Thanks to green-minded business Abt Electronics, polystyrene packing materials are collected, compressed and shipped to a reuser. The family-owned retailer built a recycling center behind its Milwaukee Avenue store. According to company president Mike Abt, they installed a Scandinavian-built compressor that crushes two full semi-trailers of Styrofoam each day, or about 120,000 pounds per year.

Before dropping off polystyrene packing material or empty food containers, please remove all solid or liquid waste to avoid contamination. Abt’s recycling center is open Thursday through Saturday, 2-7 p.m., in a free-standing building just west of the main store at 1200 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Glenview. Visit for more details.

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