Glass, cardboard and milk jugs are easy enough. But how to recycle items like ink cartridges, Styrofoam packing peanuts, fluorescent bulbs or latex paint can stump even the most environmentally savvy consumers.
As essential to eco-friendly households as a phone book, the Jackson County Recycling Directory classifies recyclables under 27 categories with more than 100 options for keeping waste out of the local landfill. The directory is available online at www.jcrecyclingdirectory.org and can be downloaded for printing.
"It's so useful," says Paige Prewett, program coordinator for the Jackson County SMART Business Program.
"People are really actively seeking this information."
Prewett started compiling the list more than two years ago to help businesses reduce their waste, which often comes with considerable monetary incentives. She realized the general public could benefit from her work, too, and started producing fliers for insertion in waste-collection bills. Last month, the list was posted online under the new Web address.
Among the numerous resources cited, Southern Oregon Sanitation, Rogue Disposal and Recycling and Ashland Sanitary and Recycling also use the directory to point customers toward alternatives like battery companies, shipping outlets, office-supply stores and specialists in hazardous waste.
"They find themselves answering a lot less questions," Prewett says.
Although individual households don't benefit financially by recycling on the scale of businesses, they're no less receptive to reducing refuse, Prewett says. People have come to realize that their personal waste may be minimal on a daily or weekly basis, she says, but it adds up over time.
"Our individual actions do make a difference."