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Dispose of household items safely at declutter day

It’s never good to toss items that can be repurposed or recycled, but electronics are particularly problematic.

Spring cleaning is underway, but before you just throw everything out, take some time to make sure you’re disposing of things safely and properly.

It’s never good to toss items that can be repurposed or recycled, but electronics are particularly problematic. Devices can contain substances that are toxic, including lead, mercury and flame retardants, according to the Salt Lake County Health Department. Additionally, electronic waste is a useful source of metals, polymers and other materials, says Michael L. Free, U professor in the Department of Metallurgical Engineering and the deputy node lead for recycling and recovery in the REMADE Institute, a Department of Energy-supported coalition researching and developing technologies for improved recycling, reuse and remanufacturing.

“If electronic waste is recycled, rather than placed in landfills, it can replace some of the natural resources that would otherwise be needed.  Recycling electronic waste enhances sustainability and reduces our environmental impact by saving natural resources, reducing energy consumption and decreasing pollution from the production of materials we use every day,” Free says. “When we landfill electronic waste, we are missing an opportunity to recover needed resources, and we are leaving waste and associated environmental issues for future generations.”

Declutter day will take place on Friday, April 22, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Utah tailgating lot located at 595 Guardsman Way.

Stations will be set up to collect and shred paper documents, collect electronic waste, safely dispose of prescription medication, as well as donate gently used clothing and household items to benefit the Other Side Academy. Click here for a list of accepted items.

In addition to protecting personal information, declutter day offers the community a way to sustainably eliminate household waste. Electronics specifically can be toxic when they end up in landfills. April 22 is Earth Day, so protect yourself and Mother Nature by participating in this event.

Declutter day is an annual event, which is hosted by the Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection and the University of Utah Sustainability Office.

U Recycle Day is for residential items only; no business waste. University property should be taken to University Surplus & Salvage or University Archives and Records Management. Partners for this year’s event include Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection, Campus Police, Columbus Shredding, The Other Side Academy and Tams Recycling. Volunteers will be on hand to help unload cars to speed up the process.