Here's a holiday you probably don't have marked on your calendar: America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. It's worth noting. You don't have to spend any money. And rather than winding up with a necktie or slippers that you don't want, you might find a way to get rid of stuff you really don't want. National retail chains and local municipalities often have special recycling events on and leading up to ARD, so it's a good opportunity to responsibly dispose of miscellaneous items you've had lying around the house that you aren't sure how to get rid of. The National Recycling Coalition promotes America Recycles Day on its Web site. It provides links where you can learn about ARD events around the country, but the information is provided by local recycling organizations and is a little uneven. Beyond that, here are a few seasonal and perennial ways to get rid of items that could stand to be recycled more often than they are: Telephones I wrote over the summer about how tricky it is to recycle a landline. Programs that take all sorts of other electronics tend to overlook phones. But from now until Nov. 15, you can take your telephone to any Staples ( SPLS) for recycling, in addition to the computer equipment, ink cartridges and cell phones that you can bring to the office supply chain for recycling any time. Rechargeable Batteries This is easy. Radio Shack ( RSH), Office Max ( OMX), Circuit City ( CC), Best Buy ( BBY) and Rite-Aid ( RAD) all take them, as do many cell-phone stores.
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. can give you a list of stores near you that take batteries from cameras, cell phones, laptops, PDAs and even handheld power tools. Disposable Batteries This was a tougher challenge. According to Earth 911, some Radio Shacks, Best Buys and Whole Foods ( WF) take them, but the stores' Web sites suggested otherwise. It might be worth inquiring at your local outlet if for no other reason than to put the idea in their heads. Battery Solutions is a private company that recycles batteries and small electronics. For $24 the company will send a postage-paid, addressed box that you can fill with items you want recycled and mail it back for proper disposal. Otherwise, the best you can do is stay on the lookout for local recycling events where batteries are accepted and consider switching as soon as possible to rechargeables, which have other advantages that I talked about last week. Ink Cartridges On the Hewlett Packard ( HP) Web site, you can order postage-paid boxes or envelopes for returning cartridges to the company. Staples will automatically send you a new printer cartridge every time you mail back an old one for recycling through its Inkdrop program. The service is free, but you, of course, have to pay for new cartridges. In exchange for ink cartridges, Office Depot ( ODP) gives $3 coupons that you can put toward replacements. Compact Florescent Bulbs Mercury makes these bulbs tricky to throw away, and most curbside recycling programs don't take them yet. But Ikea says it has bins located in all of its U.S. stores for collecting dead CFLs. You can bring CFLs to the returns desk at Home Depot ( HD). Miscellaneous Doodads If you have other hard-to-recycle items around the house, such as televisions, paint, toys, tires, lawn products or computer peripherals like printers, check out Earth 911, which has a search function that lets you find local recycling resources all over the country.