By now, most people have become pros at recycling plastic bottles, glass, cans and newspapers. But that's the tip of the trash pile in terms of what can be recycled. In recognition of America Recycles Day on Tuesday, here are some local recycling programs and events for getting rid of items in an eco-gently way. A few even offer rewards. — Susan Thurston firstname.lastname@example.org
Paper goods Use it but don't waste it. That could be the mantra of a Westchase company that sells invitations, stationery and paper gifts. On Tuesday, Invitation Consultants invites people to recycle their unwanted paper goods at their office, 12175 W Linebaugh Ave. Anyone who drops off stationery, cards, phone books, junk mail, catalogs, newspapers and magazines will receive a 2012 mini calendar made from 100-percent recycled paper, of course. Printed on the front and back, it is intended to replace daily tear-off calendars commonly seen at offices. In October, the 11-year-old company switched to 100 percent post-consumer fiber materials on all items printed at its Tampa facility. For information, call (813) 879-3748 or go to invitationconsultants.com.
Household items Raid your closets and cupboards for items that can be recycled and reused as part of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful's Rally on the River on Nov. 19. Items to be collected include: canned food for Feeding America Tampa Bay; coats for Metropolitan Ministries; newspapers; expired prescription drugs; and Styrofoam, which most cities and counties don't collect curbside. The rally, which is part of the 24th annual Hillsborough River & Waterways Cleanup, runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lowry Park Boat Ramp, 7525 N Boulevard, Tampa. Go to keeptampabeautiful.org.
Christmas lights Go even more green this Christmas season by recycling your old or broken holiday lights at Home Depot. Through Sunday, receive a coupon for $3 to $5 off LED holiday lights for every strand recycled. LED lights last longer and burn less energy than incandescent ones and can be used indoors or out. Up to five coupons per person.
Mercury devices On Saturday, the Walmart in New Port Richey is collecting thermometers and thermostats containing potentially harmful mercury. Bring in a mercury device and receive a $5 gift card for anything in the store. How about a digital thermometer? The Walmart at 8745 State Road 54 will have a display of earth-friendly products and giveaways of rulers made out of recycled paper, pens made out of tires, and pencils and bookmarks. Shoppers can also sign the America Recycles Day pledge. The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
CFL bulbs These bulbs last so long it's unlikely you have a bunch of burned out ones lying around. But in case you do, here are a few places where you can dispose of them properly. IKEA, the Home Depot and Lowe's recycle the curlicued compact fluorescent light bulbs at their stores nationwide. You don't get anything in return, except a good feeling knowing that the mercury in the bulbs won't end up in the trash and released into the environment. Lowe's also takes rechargeable batteries, cell phones and plastic shopping bags.