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These items also require special consideration when disposing of them.

Hypodermic Needles
Currently no state laws prohibit the disposal of needles and other household sharps in the trash. Most municipalities allow it providing the sharps are safely packaged. Preferably household sharps should be dropped off at the nearest hospital or nursing home. The Sharps Smarts brochure contains a list of drop-off sites, hours of operation and contact numbers.

Mercury Thermostats
Household thermostats may contain a small amount of mercury; therefore, they should be recycled. Residents can bring any mercury containing items, including thermostats, to the Household Material Recovery Facility. Visit the Mercury Thermostat Corporation Web site, and enter your zip code in "find a TRC collection point near you".

Mercury Spills
Avoid contact with the spilled mercury until you decide who will be cleaning it up — you or a professional. In general, you can clean up a small mercury spill yourself, such as from a fever thermometer or thermostat. The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation recommend that a trained professional, such as a hazardous waste contractor, do the cleanup whenever the amount of mercury spilled is greater than what is typically found in a fever thermometer or thermostat. Read about cleaning up a mercury spill, for safety and disposal guidelines.

"Used but Usable Items"
Donating is a way to recycle clothing and household items that have reached the end of their life cycle with you. However, this doesn't mean these items are no longer usable. Perhaps someone else can use that shirt or set of mixing bowls. Consider carefully the condition of an item before tossing it in the garbage.