Recycling is mandatory at many Berkshire landfills, but questions of what to do with some items can draw puzzled reactions.
For example, the other day at our house, we were unsure what to do about some dietary supplements we were no longer taking. They were not outdated, but should we toss them? Or was there a better option?
I knew our local landfill had medication collection days --but certainly not in mid- February. Take them back to the druggist? Maybe.
Then I noticed in a 2009 issue of Big Y Supermarket's "Going Green" magazine (It's surprising what I can dredge from my Eagle desk) that some unused medications -- antivirals, antifungals and TB drugs in particular -- will be accepted by the Starfish Project, which sends them to clinics in Nigeria. Visit www.thebody .com
They will send you a prepaid shipping label to forward the drugs you have.
You needn't toss old, barely wearable sneakers away either. (I have a pair of those in my gym locker). Nike accepts all brands of worn-out sneaks to convert them into sports courts around the world. Visit www.letmeplay.com/reuseashoe for information.
Wine corks accumulate in our kitchen drawers. We always think we'll use them again. We never do.
Yemm & Hart LTD at 425 North Chamber Drive in Frederickstown, MO 06365 accepts natural corks for composting or to be converted into wall or floor tiles. Mark the package "Wine Cork Recycling."
Broken crayons can be given new lives rather than end their days in the garbage. The National Crayon Recycle Program melts them down and remolds them into new ones. (Check out www.crazycrayons.com for information.)
Carpeting, which I often see dumped at the landfill, can be recycled. Visit Carpet America Recovery Effort's website www.carpetrecover .org and click on "What can I do with my old carpet?" to see if a facility nearby will take it.
Finally, that old backpack your teen has outgrown can find a second life furthering scientific research as a donation to the American Birding Association, whose scientists use them in the field. Visit www.americanbirding.org.