The birds are chirping, the trees are budding, and the sun is shining. Spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence. Can I get an amen? When spring rolls around I get an itch to organize, clean, and declutter my home. There’s nothing better than opening the windows to let in the fresh air and sweeping up the dust bunnies and cobwebs that have accumulated during the long winter months.
The warmer air and shining sun are so energizing. Some years they motivates me to undertake massive projects such as cleaning out the garage, organizing all the closets, or maybe even finally tackling that “miscellaneous drawer” in the kitchen. You know the one, it has a menagerie of random items such as paperclips, ribbon, chapstick, stamps, old catalogues, and even some important documents that “I’ll file in the office tomorrow.” This may be the year that I organize it once and for all.
So far this spring we’ve been focusing on cleaning and organizing two areas of the house; the garage and the yard. These are two areas that haven’t gotten much attention since we moved to this house a couple years ago. While cleaning, we’ve found items in the garage that we moved from our old house, promptly placed on a shelf, and never touched again. It was time to get rid of the things we no longer use or need, but the question was, what do we do with these items? Many of these things are toxic or hazardous and do not belong in a landfill as they can be harmful to the environment.
All it took was a quick google search to locate the appropriate places to drop off the hazardous items in our garage. The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) makes it really easy for Duluth residents to safely dispose of and recycle all toxic household items. Below is a list of items that you may come across while cleaning the house this spring, and where you can bring these items so they can be disposed of responsibly to ensure minimal impact to the environment.
If you sweep the floor your garage this spring, collect the dirt into a box and bring it to the green dumpsters at one of several designated drop sites. This dirt has road salt and sand that can be harmful to fish habitats if it washes into local streams. Street cleaners will be hard at work to sweeping the road salt and sand that has collected on the streets.
Road Sand Drop Sites:
-Chester Bowl Park (near the playground)
-Duluth Heights Community Clug Parking Lot
-Piedmont Community Center (near hockey rink)
-Wheeler Field (in the back)
Items one might find in the garage such as paint strippers, insecticides/pesticides, old cans of paint, toxic cleaning products, antifreeze/brake fluid, unwanted gasoline/kerosene, motor oil, car batteries, and tires can be brought to the WLSSD Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
Miscellanous Household Items
If you have any old compact florescent light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, or thermostats lying around bring them down to be disposed at WLSSD Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
2626 Courtland Street
Duluth, MN 55806
Open Thursday-Saturday from 9am-4pm
*Of note, old latex paint that has dried to a solid in the can is able to be thrown in household trash with the lid removed.
Bulky Household Items
If you come accross items such as unwanted electronics, broken furniture, old carpeting, appliances, tires, scrap metal and more while cleaning this spring you can bring them to the WLSSD Materials Recovery Center. There is a small fee to deposit some items, take a look at the webite for pricing information.
4587 Ridgeview Road
Duluth, MN 55803
Summer Hours: April –October Monday-Saturday from 9am-4pm
Winter Hours: November –March Tuesday-Saturday 9am-4pm
Yard waste such as leaves, grass, and branches can be brought to the WLSSD Yard Waste Compost Site.
2626 Courtland Street
Duluth, MN 55806
Open April-November, Friday-Sunday from 9am-4pm
There are several places in Duluth that will gladly accept donations of used clothing. Safe Haven, which serves individuals affected by domestic violence, will accept new or gently used clothing for women and children, and household items such as sheets, dishes, silverware, pots/pans, and towels. Donations can be brought in on Thursdays from 8am-4pm
Another great place to bring those items from your closet that you’re no longer wearing is The Free Store at the Damiano Center. They also accept gently used clothing, shoes, household goods and small appliances. The Damiano Center provides assistance to people in need, and has been since the early 1980s. Items can be brought in from 9am and 3pm all days except Thursday and Sunday.
Other People’s Trash Can Become Your Treasure!
Many people don’t know that within the Household Hazardous Waste Facility (address noted above) there is a Product Reuse Center. This room is stocked with paint, cleaners, and lawn and automotive products that are all pre-owned but perfectly usable and free! Shoppers can take a maximum of 5 items per day and must be at least 18 years of age. The Reuse Center is open when the Household Hazardous Waste Facility is open (opening hours are noted above).
The Materials Recovery Center (MRC) on Ridgeview Road (address noted above) also has a Reuse Area. Items such as furniture, housewares, bikes, and more are available for free! Shoppers must be 18 years of age or older and they can take a maximum of two items per day. The Reuse Area is open for shopping anytime the MRC is open (hours noted above).
Having a tidy and organized home makes me feel like I really have my life together. This feeling even lasts for a whole 30 minutes sometimes before I encounter the next messy closet or drawer that promptly brings me back to reality. The cleaning and organizing feels never-ending sometimes, especially with young kids at home. Even though it’s hard to keep up with cleaning and organization at home, families can at least feel good knowing they are disposing of their items in a responsible way. It’s a simple thing that has a big impact on the health of the environment.
Readers living in surrounding communities: please feel free to share in the comments any details you may have about your local hazardous materials disposal center and/or community recycling center!