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Apparently shelf-stable / tetrapak-style cartons are now recyclable here too.



And now even greasy pizza boxes are ok, too! "Greasy boxes are ok. Please no food waste."

And apparently plastic bottle caps should be discarded in the trash. That's what I originally thought, but later on I read conflicting info which made me think it was ok as long as they were screwed onto the bottle.
But ok, I need to remember: no bottle caps, no more.

But... what about wide-mouthed plastic jars with the big plastic caps? I can't find that mentioned in the above waste wizard. Are plastic jars considered plastic bottles? And are plastic jar caps considered the same as plastic bottle caps? Surely not.

For some reason, the Richland County Solid Waste and Recycling page is giving a 404 error at present:

I wish it was working so I could check if all the above is really true for Richland County's recycling program too, and not only the city's.
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A while back while squirting toothpaste onto my toothbrush, a tiny bit of it splashed into my eye (don't ask me how). It burned for a moment, then was ok.

A few weeks ago, while filing away some papers, the corner of one sheet of paper hit my eyeball (don't ask me how). It hurt like hell. Worrying that I've got a severe injury always makes it worse, too. I kept thinking that my eyeball must have gotten a paper-cut. After some minutes, I was able to look in a mirror (with difficulty) to verify there was (probably) no shard of paper still stuck in there. The eye kept tearing up, so I had to press a washcloth against it for a couple of hours to soak up the tears, as well as to block the ambient light which was painfully bright.

The incident with my eye happened 40 minutes before a scheduled Spectrum appointment, for my intermittent connectivity problem (which since that last appointment has not recurred, hurrah!) That was the 4th appointment for the same problem; the 3rd time was not the charm. I didn't want to cancel the appointment. So when the tech came, and for most of the time he was here, I kept holding the washcloth against my eye. The tech was unperturbed.

After a few hours the pain was mostly gone and my vision seemed normal. For the next few days, the eye ached only slightly and sporadically. Then it felt completely normal again.

Last week, toothpaste accidentally spritzed into my eye again. This time, it hurt quite bad, and continued to hurt badly for 10 to 15 minutes even after rinsing out my eye as well as I could. It was the same eye which had the paper-cut. Maybe the cut wasn't completely healed after all, and the toothpaste irritated it again. This in spite of it being the wintergreen-flavored toothpaste which is fairly mild. The peppermint and spearmint flavors are too strong for me; they make my mouth burn.

One of the pages I found while searching on "toothpaste in eye" mentioned that most toothpastes shouldn't be dangerous to the eye... except perhaps if it's one of the whitening kinds with silica, as those are more abrasive. I thought to myself, well I know mine doesn't have silica. I purposely don't buy that kind, because their whitening power comes from sanding off the outer layer of tooth enamel. I'm trying to increase my amount of tooth enamel, not decrease it.

But yesterday I happened to look at the ingredient list on the toothpaste tube. Surprisingly, the main inactive ingredient after water was "hydrated silica". I could have sworn it used to be calcium carbonate. Did they change the ingredients?

Then I remembered that I have a small box full of empty toothpaste tubes. They can't be put with the regular recyclables, but there's a place - TerraCycle that takes them for recycling, if I ever accumulate enough of them to make it worthwhile to send them.

So I checked the box, and found an older tube, which indeed has a slightly different ingredient list. Both the old and new tubes mention "whitening" on the front, but somehow I'd never paid attention to that.

(OLD) Inactive ingredients: glycerin, water, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, xylitol, carrageenan, natural flavor (wintergreen oil and other natural flavor), sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, zinc citrate.

(NEW) Inactive ingredients: water, hydrated silica, sorbitol, xylitol, glycerin, natural flavor (wintergreen oil and other natural flavor), sodium lauryl sulfate, zinc citrate, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide, carrageenan.

The Tom's of Maine (my toothpaste brand) website says:
In our Antiplaque Tartar Control & Whitening flavors, the hydrated silica we use is milled to produce a slightly larger particle size (an average particle size of 10 microns, versus 8 microns, on average, in our children's and Wintermint flavors). This makes it a better cleaner, so that it can help to remove stains that have formed on teeth.

So at least the silica in my toothpaste is small-sized. If it were only that, I might continue using it. But with this new propensity for splashing into my eye, I'll be looking for an alternative. (Is it unreasonable to think that brushing one's teeth or doing paperwork shouldn't require wearing safety goggles?) Now when I brush my teeth, I've started holding the tube at arm's length and pointing it away from me.

All About Whitening Toothpastes - has a chart comparing the abrasiveness of different brands of toothpaste.
Setting the record straight about toothpaste abrasivity - says there's no difference in tooth-wear, as long as the toothpaste is under 250 RDA. I don't quite believe that.
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I had an old portable car jump-starter that was no longer taking a charge. As it contains a small sealed lead-acid battery (SSLA), I couldn't simply put it with the garbage.

According to some web searches, Best Buy, Lowes, and Home Depot all supposedly take SSLA batteries for recycling, as long as they are under 11 pounds. According to my scale, the charger was just about 11 pounds, so the battery itself must be less. I wasn't sure if I should remove the battery from the case, as that would involve cutting wires.

I took the unit to Home Depot, but the people there said they only accepted smaller batteries like the ones from hand tools.

I tried another web search; couldn't find any other place that would definitely take it. An SC-DHEC document indicated that places that sell regular lead acid batteries have to also accept them for recycling. But it didn't say the same for SSLA batteries.

But I called up Advance Auto, and they confirmed that they would take it, case and all. And they did. Yay.

day do day dah

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 02:35 am
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Today (or rather yesterday), I:
- got more than 8 hours sleep
- turned in some old/broken electronics for recycling at Best Buy
- took some clothes & other stuff to Goodwill
- returned an unopened wireless doorbell to Lowes (Qiao bought it, but I wanted to get a different one that can be plugged into an outlet rather than requiring batteries)
- went grocery shopping

While sleeping, the last part of a dream involved a long flight of marble steps, outside, which I sat down on and slid down. I was expecting a somewhat rough ride on my butt, but it was gentle, comfortable, so I laid back all the way and closed my eyes for a bit. I reached my right arm out to slow down and stop myself. The steps went down into a large body of water (which wasn't there to begin with, but appeared while I was descending) and I stopped before reaching the water. But then all of a sudden before I could get up, this guy sat his heavy self down on me and started pressing hard on the jugular vein on one side of my neck, as if trying to make me pass out. Though I suppose he would have needed to do both sides of my neck to accomplish that. Then I woke up.

While shopping, I picked up a case (12 units) of Tofutti non-dairy American Cheese slices which I had ordered, since no stores in the area carry it anymore that I'm aware of. It goes on my lunch sandwiches for work, along with Vegenaise and Tofurky vegan pepperoni.

The intersection of Forest Drive and Beltline Blvd has some kind of noise device installed that must be intended for helping visually impaired people. Something like an Accessible Pedestrian Signal, I suppose. But it doesn't make a chirping, beeping, or cuckoo noise. It doesn't have a voice saying "Walk". It makes a HORRENDOUSLY LOUD SCREECHING BUZZING noise. I can't imagine who thought such a thing would be a good idea. I feel sorry for anyone who has to work in the area. Is the noise intended for people who are both blind and almost deaf?

If the noise only came on when a visually impaired person was walking in the area, it would make more sense to me (though if it were me, I'd avoid walking in that area at all costs, to avoid the horrible noise). But it never turns off from what I can tell. Surely in this day and age, where nearly everyone has a cell phone, apps could be available to allow people to trigger the noise makers only when they are nearing the intersection and actually need the audible assistance.

I've encountered a few other intersections with way too loud noise-makers (beepers and tickers), but this one has got to be the worst. I wouldn't want to live within a half mile of it.

I tried to find a video of the noise, but failed, even though I found a video of the intersection from February. Either the noise-maker is very new, or the news station edited that sound out of the video, or maybe it doesn't make noise all the time after all.

Talking Trash

Monday, September 1st, 2014 02:31 pm
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These are so awesome in a cute/funny way. Courtesy of my local county government / solid waste & recycling division.

Video title: Talking Trash: The Constable
Posted by: richlandonline
URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZJn1oLxn4

Video title: Talking Trash: The Richland Recycle Song
Posted by: richlandonline
URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHsuCLdJZXw


Sunday, July 13th, 2014 07:55 pm
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I noticed a blurb on a Tom's of Maine toothpaste tube: "Recycle this and other packaging through the TerraCycle collection program ..."

The Tom's of Maine page says:
Together, we'll transform packaging waste, regardless of brand, into useful, new products and lighten the load on landfills.
- Toothpaste tubes, deodorant containers, plastic soap wrappers, mouthwash bottles and dental floss containers
- All brands accepted, not just Tom's

This sounds like a good thing. Besides toothpaste tubes, most deodorant containers (of the brands I've used) don't have a recycling number on them, so I can't put them with the regular recyclables that are collected by the county.

The corresponding TerraCycle page indicates that they also take toothbrushes, another thing I've never been able to turn in for recycling before.

You don't even have to pay for shipping the items; they'll provide you with shipping labels.

TerraCycle has additional similar programs for recycling other products that usually aren't recyclable, including writing instruments (pens, pencils, markers), drink pouches, and snack bags.

Something about it all raises my suspicions though. Watching a few of their videos indicates that they do either of 2 things with the items sent in. It's the "upcycling" part which bothers me, whereby the packaging is flattened (and laminated?) and sewn together to create bags, pouches, etc. with the various brand names prominently displayed (for example, this CapriSun backpack). How many people would really want to buy bags and such with brand-names prominently displayed like that? This seems corny and marketed to people who would see something like that and think "cool, it's obviously recycled, so I should therefore buy it". Now, I'm all for buying items made out of recycled materials, but I wouldn't buy a bag like that... unless I was feeling very very fond of the company whose brand was being displayed.

The other part, where they flatten and shred the items in order to make plastic pellets and other such materials makes much more sense to me. But I wonder what kind of materials they really can make from some of these items, like plastic/aluminum composite drink pouches and snack bags, and how much of a market is there for those materials. Is this really a profitable business model? Or is it mainly intended to allow the various companies whose items are recycled to market themselves as "green"?

Many of the listed recycling programs ie. "brigades" include a brand-name, eg. "Snack Bag brigade sponsored by Frito-Lay", where apparently that company sponsors the program. But most of the FAQs indicate that they take any brand of item to recycle, not only items from the listed company.
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I'm trying to avoid buying new fluorescent light tubes, as they contain mercury and it's hard to turn them in for recycling after they've gone bad. You can't just put them in your recycling bin, and from what I can tell, most stores which take CFLs for recycling don't take the long tubes.

Here in Columbia SC, if you live in city limits, you can take advantage of the city's E-Waste Recycling Program. If you're not in city limits, you may be able to turn fluorescent tubes in as part of Richland County's E-Waste recycling program* (mentioned on the same page), but I'm not sure. Otherwise, you may need to wait for one of the special Recycling Events, where various items can be dropped off. But those only happen about once a year.

*I haven't been able to find the "Lower Richland Drop-off Center" on the map using Google's street view, and I'm hesitant to drive all the way out there looking for it.
I found the "Richland County C&D Landfill" (listed at 1070 Caughman Road North) on the map, but it is not at the point where Google Maps shows that address to be. If you follow the road to the west, the name of the road changes to "Landfill Rd", and *that* is where the landfill is at. But its weekend hours are very limited, so going there would be inconvenient for me.

I did however find a local store which accepts the 4 foot tubes for recycling, for a small fee. Batteries Plus Bulbs charges 48 cents per tube. Unfortunately, they only accept ballasts in 5-gallon quantities, and at a much higher fee.

Something I've learned while researching all this is that the ballasts in these lamp fixtures can contain hazardous chemicals too. Ballasts manufactured before 1978 contained PCBs. The ones manufactured after 1978 were often marked as not containing PCBs. But 4 foot tubes manufactured until 1985, and 8 foot tubes manufactured until 1991, may contain DEHP, another dangerous chemical.


My garage is lit by 6 fluorescent lamp fixtures. The bulbs in 2 of them had gone bad, so I decided to convert them over to using LED tubes instead. This requires removing the ballasts and re-wiring the fixtures, but appears to be fairly simple to do. I may post some comparison photos of the fluorescent tubes versus the LED ones, once I finish that project.

donation bins

Sunday, October 13th, 2013 06:16 pm
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There are some clothing donation bins around town marked with "secondliferecycling.com". That website, however, says "Site Under Maintenance". It's apparently been that way for a long time, as Google's search results display the same text for the site.

The only info I found on the organization that owns the bins is the following.

Local Charities Concerned About For-Profit Clothing Donation Bins

Collection bins are popping up all over town. Some are red, some are green and some are blue. For most people, it's an easy way to drop off old clothing so it can go to charity.
And even though some of the donation boxes do support charities, most of the ones we spotted came from for-profit companies, like "Better World Recycling" and "Second Life Recycling". According to Georgia state law, those collection bins are supposed to let people know they are not a charity, but we found dozens across town that weren't labeled that way.
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If you have worn-out knee-high or calf-high socks, where it's mainly the foot-parts that are in bad condition, you could cut the foot-parts off, and then...

- Use the rest as leg-warmers or arm-warmers.


- Trim it to size depending on what you will use it for, and sew one end closed. Then you'll have a little pouch in which you can store a pair of glasses or a cell-phone. Optionally, for extra padding, you can double the sock over on itself and/or put one sock inside another, before sewing the end closed.
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Yay! The Richland County Recycling webpage has finally been updated with the new items that are accepted for curbside recycling. Unlike the Twitter announcement last year, it doesn't mention aluminum pie pans. But the rest of the items seem clear. They're even taking glass in the curbside bins now, wow.

Oh... Just found this news article from November on The State website:

Early next year, Richland County will begin to phase in larger recycling rollcarts, expecting to collect more reusable materials such as plastic, cans and glass.

To start with, only two areas of unincorporated Richland County will see changes in service.

By 2015, however, all of the county’s 88,000 customers will convert from 18-gallon bins to full-sized recycling rollcarts.
Starting in February, service will change significantly for about 19,000 homes in the north-central part of the county and in the southeast:

• Yard waste, such as leaves and twigs, will have to be put in containers.

• Materials to be recycled will be picked up every two weeks, instead of each week.

I wonder what they mean about putting yard waste in containers. When I rake leaves, the pile gets pretty large, even when it is pressed down to compact it. I hope that bagging leaves won't be mandatory; that seems to me to be a waste of plastic. I've always liked how the trucks use a big suction tube to take in piles of leaves; although I've also seen workers with pitchforks sometimes.
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On August 31, Richland County's twitter feed had a link to this announcement:

Richland County Solid Waste and Recycling announced today that they are accepting new
recyclable items. The new list includes: yogurt and butter dishes, envelopes with plastic
windows, aluminum pie pans, orange juice and milk cartons, glass (bottle, jugs, jars), plastic
trays, paper cup holders, plastic baskets, frozen dinner trays, paper bags and pizza boxes.

Make sure that all items are rinsed and free of food. DO NOT include Styrofoam at all (trays,
plates, cups and egg cartons); plastic bags; phone books; or aluminum foil.


The announcement doesn't clarify whether those items are now accepted for curbside pickup, or only at the collection centers. The collection centers were already accepting glass, so I'd guess the announcement refers to curbside pickup. But I wouldn't bet on it.

I wonder what is meant by "paper cup holders" and "plastic baskets".

I wonder why they don't simply state that any plastic items marked with specific recycling numbers will be accepted.
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For my own future reference, in case I plan to drop off any scrap metal at a recycler:

SC Copper Theft Law Puts New Requirements on Recyclers

...they agreed to allow homeowners and anyone else who doesn't recycle very often to get a temporary permit by phone by calling the sheriff's office. The temporary permit will be good for 48 hours. Instead of showing a permit, those recyclers will just have to provide the temporary permit number issued by the sheriff's office.

I think this is a good thing, if it really helps to reduce thefts and vandalism.

One of the houses I was looking at with Forestfen had an odd looking black contraption in the back yard next to the house, near a metal pipe coming out of the ground with wires sticking out of it. At the time, I simply wondered what that odd thing was. Later, I realized that there hadn't been any sign of a heat pump or A/C unit near the house, and that what I had seen were the remains of one. The black thing was the compressor unit.
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Do *not* try to use the Fort Jackson recycling center anymore. In spite of their web page saying that it is a "24 hour drop-off point", the gate was closed and locked today (Sunday) when I went there around 5pm.

There is *not* a recycling drop-off point behind the Woodhill Target anymore. I drove completely around the shopping center, and like the last time I was looking for it, I found nothing.


Supposedly, Forest Acres has a drop-off site:
5400 Robert Springs Rd.
HOURS: Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SITE COLLECTS: Cans (aluminum, steel), plastic bottles, jars and jugs (#1-#7), glass (brown, green, clear), paper (cardboard, magazines, newspaper and inserts)

That road is not listed in Google Maps, but it is shown on Yahoo Maps

(But they might ask for proof that you live within the boundaries of Forest Acres, so I don't fancy trying that one.)

Supposedly, Richland County has 24 hour unstaffed drop-off points here:

* Clemson's Sandhills Research and Education Center, 900 Clemson Road .
(Q and I drove there before, on the "special recycling day", but it was a dirt-road, and I don't recall seeing any recycling containers there).
(Update: I went there, and they *do* have recycling containers there. Yay.)

* Sonoco Recycling, 1132 Idlewilde Blvd., off Bluff Road
(I looked this one up in Google Maps Streetview, and see *no* indication of there being a public drop-off site, unless it's inside that property whose gate has a sign saying "Authorized Vehicles Only". So I don't fancy driving all the way out there.).

SITES COLLECT: Cans (aluminum, steel), paper (corrugated cardboard, newspaper and inserts, unwanted mail, paperboard), glass bottles, jars and jugs, plastic bottles, jars and jugs
darkoshi: (Default)
I didn't realize that the places that take #2 plastic bags for recycling probably also take #4 plastic bags. That's one fewer type of item for me to feel uncertain about dropping off at the Ft Jackson recycling station; now I can just take those bags to the grocery store recycling bins instead.
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Note to myself to check this out next time I'm in the area:

Publix on Gervais St. takes styrofoam for recycling - it's probably only intended for small styrofoam food containers, not large packing blocks. It sounds like they may also take #4 plastic bags, separately from the #2 bags - need to check that out too.

It doesn't mention it on their website, but supposedly UPS will accept styrofoam packing peanuts, and reuse them.
darkoshi: (Default)
Richland County is having a recycling event this Saturday, including collection of household hazardous waste.


(no subject)

Monday, January 12th, 2009 07:51 pm
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Q sometimes gives me items of clothing to mend - buttons to sew back on, pants legs to shorten, a tear to stitch. I feel ambivalent about this. On the one hand, I like to do him these little favors, and it's not difficult for me to do them. On the other hand, I wonder, why does he expect me to do this? Is it a leftover of our dom-sub times... him giving me a way for me to serve him? Or is it just a gender thing - does he consider it women's work, and if I didn't do it, he still wouldn't do it himself? Is he not capable of doing it? Is it too hard to hold a little needle when you have a man's large hands? (But in other ages, didn't tailors used to be men?) Even if he has no experience, it's not that difficult to learn basic mending, especially if you aren't fastidious about it looking perfect.

He doesn't cook or wash dishes either. He takes me out to eat, instead, on the days that he's providing dinner. His reason or excuse for not cooking is that I'm vegan, and he doesn't cook vegan. Which makes sense, I suppose.

He doesn't make the bed either. Since apparently I'm the only one who cares if the blankets and sheets are in a tangled mess, it always ends up being me who straightens them.


I am working on a technical approach for a project at work. I've been working on it for the past week or two... I was only supposed to be "helping out" on this project, and I've been sending emails with my updates each day to the other team-members. But I'm not getting any feedback. It would help to have other ideas, or to at least have someone say they can't think of a better way. As it is, I wonder if I'm designing a convoluted mess. It's supposed to be something generic that other apps will be able to use too, but the more generic I think of making it, the more confusing and unusable it seems it would be. When things are too flexible, that makes it too complex for other people to understand easily, and then they're less likely to use it.


I was discouraged when I came home today, as my recycling bin on the curb was still full, and the piles of neatly stacked branches I had placed there hadn't been taken either. A big part of one of my trees fell down in the wind - luckily landed it the yard and didn't do any damage - so I will be putting parts of it by the street for the next few weeks. It would be too much for them to pick up in one go. So when I saw that today's piles hadn't even been picked up, that bothered me. The fact that this is the 3rd time in a row my recycling bin hasn't been emptied was even more frustrating.

But at about 7pm, I heard the truck outside... and I got gleeful and started singing, "Yippee Kai-Yay!" I suspect it was only the truck picking up the yard waste, though. I dread going out there and seeing the recycling bin still full. I shan't kick it though. I shan't!

Oh, by the way. Last time I brought the recycling bin back in, I noticed that while it hadn't been emptied, that someone had removed the metal cans. See what happens, city? If you don't pick up my recyclables right away, someone else will come along and pick out the valuable parts and steal away with them!

Update: They picked both the yard waste and recyclables up! FANTASTIC!

(no subject)

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 05:54 pm
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I wonder if the plastic containers that motor oil is sold in can be disposed of with the regular recyclables. I know that used motor oil is very toxic, and that containers that have stored used motor oil should not be put in with the recyclables, and probably not even with the regular trash for that matter. But is unused motor oil toxic too? Is it much worse than vegetable oil or mineral oil? I've been doing a websearch on this, and some of the pages say not to put them in with recyclables, and that for example, one quart of motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of drinking water. But is that really for unused motor oil?

I will throw it in the regular trash, but I am still curious about it.

Charlotte County, somewhere, sounds like it has a good recycling program. This part especially sounds like a good idea:
Another program, a reuse shop, begins in November and promises to save the county even more. The county will store items dropped off by residents, including containers of Windex, antifreeze, unused motor oil and half-used cans of paint. The products will be given free to anyone who wants them.

I've got old paint and various chemicals sitting in my garage which were left by the previous owners, and which I don't know what to do with.

(no subject)

Saturday, March 8th, 2008 10:21 pm
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I was trying to finish up my taxes, but had to print another form.
My printer indicated it was out of black ink, and refused to print.
Suspecting that the black ink wasn't truly empty, I took it out, shook it, and put it back in.
The ink-out light went off and the printer printed, but without any black ink.
I ran the head-cleaning utility and tried again, but still no black ink.
Caving in, I went to Staples and bought a new ink cartridge.
I also disposed of my old keyboard and zip-drive to be recycled while I was there, hurrah!
Back home, I opened the new ink cartridge package and prepared to do the switch.
I did some more head-cleanings and test prints, trying to spur the ink-out light to come on again, since replacing the cartridge is tricky otherwise.
The black ink started working again, without me having replaced the cartridge.
At least I didn't pull the sticker off the top of the new cartridge yet.