Tips for cutting clutter in your spring-cleaning |

Tips for cutting clutter in your spring-cleaning

Eartha Steward
Ask Eartha
Gas powered lawn mowers help Americans keep their lawns trim, but they also burn 800 million gallons of gas each year. There are incentives for recycling old gas mowers and switching to a greener electric or manual mower.
Getty Images | iStockphoto

Dear Eartha,

Earth Day was last Saturday, and it got me thinking about all the junk that’s piling up at my house. Are there any local programs for hard-to-recycle items?

— Meaghan, Copper Mountain

Personally, I love that Earth Day coincides with the time of year that most people designate for spring-cleaning. With the impending arrival of Baby Steward, our household has been hard at work cleaning out the garage, attic and any other space that could use a good declutter. And from the looks of it, so have all our neighbors. Rather than adding all these items to the landfill, there are programs that exist in our area that allow us to recycle items that we can’t recycle in normal ways.

First and foremost, consider the phrase, “Refuse, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.” Try to take these actions before you end up with clutter in your home. But if you have items to rid yourself of, the following resources will help you get rid of your extra stuff guilt-free:

• Shoes that are in fair condition can be taken to either Vertical Runner in Breckenridge or to Twisted Trails in Silverthorne. Both of these stores send the used shoes to markets in other parts of the world where they will be used again.

• Unwanted or outdated skis, snowboards or ski boots can either be consigned or recycled. Recycle Sports in Frisco will examine your items and sell them in their store if the quality is up to par. If not, you can bring these items to Breckenridge Sports for recycling.

• Gas-powered lawn mowers help Americans keep their lawns trim, but they also burn 800 million gallons of gas each year. The EPA estimates that an additional 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled just by refueling lawn equipment. That’s more than all the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez.

To make a healthy impact on the environment, consider recycling your gas powered mower, and replace it with a manual or electric model. Right now, the Mow Down Pollution program is offering incentives for recycling your old gas mower.

Register with them ahead of time at, and you can recycle your mower on either Saturday at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, May 6, at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Denver or on June 3, at Eco-Cycle’s CHaRM facility in Boulder. Once you register, you will be eligible for discounts on purchasing a new electric mower. Or better yet, get a manual mower to make for a carbon-neutral lawn.

• Old baby and child car seats have an outlet for recycling right now, thanks to a new partnership between Target and Terracycle. If you have an old baby or child car seat, no matter what condition or brand, you can bring it to Target by Saturday. In return, Target will provide you with a 20 percent off coupon for a new car seat. Terracycle will recycle all the collected car seats.

• Refrigerators can make you some money if you are an Xcel Energy customer. If you have an old fridge between 10-30 cubic feet that is still functional, Xcel will come to your house and pick it up for recycling — no need for you to remove the coolant. About four weeks later, Xcel will send you a $50 rebate just for recycling your fridge. Pretty cool to get paid to recycle!

• Finally the Summit County Resource Allocation Park is a one-stop shop for getting rid of many of your hard-to-recycle items. The SCRAP accepts many items including florescent tubes and compact florescent bulbs, electronics, paints, stains, other household hazardous waste, tires, scrap metal and appliances (and refrigerators too, as long as the Freon is removed).

While many items are free to recycle with proof of residency, in some cases you’ll have to pay a fee. The best way to know whether something is recyclable and if there is a cost is to call the High Country Conservation Center at 970-668-5703 before heading up to Keystone. HC3 serves as the recycling hotline for Summit County and its expert staff will steer you in the right direction as well as answer any other recycling questions you might have It may not be simple, but almost everything can be recycled somehow.

Good luck with spring cleaning, and thanks for recycling.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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