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How To Dispose Of Household Products

  • CFLs. These energy-efficient bulbs are becoming easier to get rid of. Just drop old bulbs off at any Home Depot or Ikea for free recycling. Or ask about CFL recycling at your local Ace Hardware or home improvement store. You can search for other nearby solutions.

  • Electronics. Every retailer that takes back rechargeable batteries also accepts mobile phones, as do most wireless providers. For computers, cameras, televisions, and others it's worthwhile do a little homework because some stores charge fees depending on item and brand. Check out Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot to see what's the best fit. Some places, like Radio Shack, have trade-in programs where you can receive store credit for your old gadgets.

  • Motor Oil. In case you need some motivation, consider this factoid from Earth911: Every gallon of used motor oil that's improperly disposed of can contaminate one million gallons of drinking water. Bring it to Wal-Mart, Autozone, Jiffy Lube, or search online for more convenient choices.

  • Paint. It's among the harder items in this group to dispose of, but it's worth it and totally doable. If the paint is still in good shape, consider donating it. As of now, there aren't any retailers that accept used paint so you'll need to make a special trip. Search Earth911 for a comprehensive list of options.

The average American replaces his or her phone almost once a year, and that means every year more than 100 million cell phones go to the drawer or the dump, and that's not good at all.

You've certainly seen cell phone drop-off points at various electronics and office supply retailers, but now there's a way to dump your old phones and get paid-at least a little-for them.

Check out Flipswap, an online service that gives you an instant estimate of the value of your old phones. All you have to do is print out the pre-paid shipping label, send in the phones, and wait for your check to arrive. (You can also choose to have the money sent to one of several charities listed on the site.) Just go here to start the process.

When I looked at the site, I saw trade-in values ranging from $4 for some old clunkers to more than $100 for fairly new smartphones and PDAs. You wouldn't want to leave $100 sitting in your junk drawer, would you?

So far, Flipswap claims to have processed about 734,000 phones. That's a lot in raw numbers but hardly any percentage-wise. Only 99 million to go.

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