Yes, Throw It Out—Safely

In last week’s blog “When In Doubt, Throw It Out!,”

I discussed the use of toxic metals in some toy jewelry and metal trinkets produced overseas. As the title suggested, I recommended if you were concerned over the potential toxicity and risks of these toys, the best thing to do was to dispose of these products. However, I didn’t address another legitimate concern: is it safe for the environment to simply throw these articles in the trash? Well, the answer is yes. I will explain why.

First of all, I would like to thank two individuals, Mauricio D’Achiardi and Joan, for their comments last week. They actually posed the question regarding the proper disposal of these toy trinkets. Since I didn’t have an answer, I consulted with our experts in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. The guidance is: “Consumers can check with their local recycling facility to see if they collect these kinds of contaminated jewelry and trinkets. To find a local recycling facility, they can go to . If their local recycling facility doesn’t take these articles, consumers can go ahead and throw them in the trash. Our modern landfills are made to be able to hold such contamination without leaking it into the environment.” So, we can dispose of these safely.

For more information on the disposal of waste, please visit our Website. For information on product recalls and keeping people safe in and around the home, visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Neighborhood Safety Network. And please keep those comments coming. We all can learn from this Greenversation.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.