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Spring Cleaning Tips: Know What You Can Toss in the Trash

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The  weather over the next few days might not feel like it, but spring is right around the corner and that means spring cleaning is also on the horizon.

The Metro Waste Authority is asking residents to brush up on what can and cannot be thrown in the trash before they start that spring cleaning.

"It's easy to just get in that toss mode, you just want it out of the house. It's really easy to just create those piles, recycling, donate and hazardous waste, trash,” says Trish Radke, Metro Waste Authority. “Put those items in the correct categories and dispose of them properly. Again, it's going to benefit your family and it's going to benefit the environment."

Let’s take a look at things that can be tossed or recycled.

We will start with the three most common issues for homes owners in the metro; electronics, paint and batteries.

Let’s start with electronics like TVs and other bigger items.

These should never go into the trash or recycling. They can contain hazardous materials and they are very hard on the equipment to break down. You can donate or recycle them at electronic stores. Some will take them for free but there might be a small charge.

Next item is how to properly dispose of paint. This is a common one Metro Waste sees in bins across the metro. Here is a breakdown, if it’s oil based you shouldn’t toss it. It needs to be taken to Hazardous waste drop off. It’s free if you bring in less than 75 pound each trip.

Latex paint, which is much more common, can be thrown in the trash but you have to dry it out first. You can just add sawdust, kitty litter or shredded paper. Once it dries you’re good to put it in your bin.

Finally, the last thing we will cover, batteries. I know this one sounds tricky but it’s not so bad. Common Alkaline like AAA, AA, C, D or 9 volt batteries can just go into the trash. If you are getting rid of rechargeable batteries, you need to recycle those in person. Most electronic stores have bins right in the front of the store that will take them. Don’t throw those into the trash though, it’s very bad for the environment.

Now we want to help you if you’re planning a big clean up that involves big items. Metro Waste has a program just for this occasion and all you need is the right stickers.

They sell these stickers at most grocery stores or even at city hall and they come in two different prices, $1 and $5

First, the $1 sticker will cover any extra bag or box of trash under 30 pounds. It also covers small kids toys and computer monitors under 19 inches.

Next, the $5 sticker gets you a lot more. This one will cover many common household or basement items. Things like bikes, desks, grills, beds (up to a double), couches and even the kitchen sink.

If you’ve got really big items you’ll need more than one $5 sticker.

King and Queen beds will need two stickers and if you have major appliances you’ll need seven stickers for them to haul it.

If you’re thinking about doing some major cleaning and you want to save some money, Metro Waste thinks you should consider donating.