Although I consider myself semi-eco-friendly now, I can’t say that I’ve always been that way. I used to litter (gasp!) and never recycled. Then, I moved to Hawaii. I realized not only how beautiful the world is, but also how much damage people, myself included, were doing to it.

But even better, I realized how easy it is to adopt small habits to help the environment. They say the easiest way to adopt a behavior is to tie it in to something you’re
already doing.

I’ve been making a habit of purging items in my home a couple times a year to keep it clean and clutter-free, but did you know not everything you throw away should actually be thrown away? Here’s a handy guide for what to do with four potentially hazardous items as you purge:



* Cell phones. First, clear your device of any personally identifiable information. Then, offer it back to manufacturers for recycling or drop it off at an e-waste recycling drop-off location, which are located throughout the state. Visit for locations.

* Acetone/nail-polish remover. Harmless as it may seem, acetone is flammable and should not be thrown away or flushed down the drain. Drop it off at hazardous-waste events, which are held locally every two months. The next is scheduled for June 15. Call 768-3201 to set up an appointment.

* Paint. If it’s latex, dry it out in a plastic-bag-lined tray. Pour up to 1-inch deep, and add kitty litter or saw dust to thicken. Let it dry out completely in a safe spot then pull up the bag and tie it tight before throwing it away. If you have oil-based paint, schedule a drop off at a hazardous-waste event.

* Auto batteries. Bring them back to the dealer. According to, state law requires dealers to accept and recycle used batteries.