community guide to Eugene and beyond

Recycling How-to

Recycling Services for Specific Items

"Without recycling, given current virgin raw material supplies, we could not print the daily newspaper, build a car, or ship a product in a cardboard box," says Jerry Powell, editor of Resource Recycling magazine. "Recycling is not some feel-good activity; it is one of the backbones of global economic development." To his way of thinking, recovering cast-offs and putting them to good use "are key ingredients to industrial growth and stability."


Lane County Dept of Public Works provides extensive information on what they can accept locally for recycling— from aluminum to yard debris.


Many businesses in Eugene offer recycling services for specific items. Tossing cell phones and batteries in the garbage is illegal in several communities, so read this list before you toss. Here is a list of local alternatives that we hope will keep you from simply “going to the dump”.

Electronics: Next Step Recycling (formerly MacRenewal and Computer Reuse and Recycling Center) of Eugene is a non-profit that recognizes the need to keep computers and electronics out of our landfills. Next Step will accept most any electronic device (working or not), refurbish it, and pass it on to low income and disadvantaged folks. They also provide training and jobs to the unemployable.

Home building and remodeling: BRING of Eugene is all about recycling. They maintain a national presence for their innovative recycling methods. Each month, the warehouse takes in nearly 40 tons of recycled commercial and home building supplies that they offer for resale. BRING provides building deconstruction services with the intention of salvaging and recycling all that is possible. BRING holds workshops and classes, and visits classrooms, all while providing an informative website and newsletters for the public.

Sm. batteries: All Walgreens stores accept old batteries. Batteries Plus stores accept all batteries for recycling.

Ferrous Metals: Schnitzer Steel Industries (SSI) is one of the nation’s largest recyclers of ferrous (metals which contain iron) metals, a leading recycler of used and recycled auto parts, and a large manufacturer of finished steel products. The company currently processes over 5 million tons of recycled metals a year and it all began with a one-man scrap metal operation.

Rechargeable batteries: RadioShack and Office Depot accept batteries from wireless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, cordless power tools, digital cameras and radio-controlled toys at no charge. These are Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and Small Sealed Lead Acid (Pb) batteries weighing less than two pounds. "The Home Depot Power Tool Rechargeable Battery Recycling Program" will recycle all used portable rechargeable batteries – those batteries commonly found in cordless power tools. To find other nearby recyclers, try

Aseptic paper/foil juice boxes: take aseptic packaging for recycling to BRING Recycling.

Cell Phones, Pagers, PDAs: Drop them off at Staples or RadioShack. Easter Seals accepts old cell phones. Donating cell phones to Womenspace provides them with emergency phones for their clients.

Books: Used bookstores such as Smith Family Bookstore accept many books from the public. Don’t forget to save books for the Eugene Public Library annual fundraiser.

Styrofoam: Next Step Recycling accepts polystyrene for a small fee. Many small businesses (artists, too) will happily recycle Styrofoam “peanuts” for their shipping needs.

Art Supplies: Take them to MECCA! This link will tell you what is accepted (lots of items) and how to donate.

Clothing: Goodwill and St. Vincent DePaul accept clean, usable clothing at their many drop-off sites. There are many resale/consignment clothing shops in Eugene who take upscale women’s clothing.

Non-perishable food: Don’t let food just sit in your pantry. Donate to Food For Lane County. And, if you are associated with a local restaurant, contact this organization to donate surplus food.

Music recordings: Community radio stations accept donations of records and CD’s for fundraisers--- such as KLCC’s “Mega Music Sale”.

Eyeglasses: Drop them off at your local Lions Club, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, BJ's Optical, or the optical stores at Sears or Target. Refurbished glasses are delivered to developing countries.

Compact Fluorescent Lights: CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, about 100 times less than a common home thermometer. Many solid waste departments and mercury-reduction advocates, are working to keep large accumulations of bulbs out of landfills. Find CFL disposal tips here. Take bulbs under 4 feet to most lighting and hardware stores in the area. Be aware, they will recycle your bulbs free of charge. Or call 682-3111 for a disposal appointment.

Thermometers: Lane County's Hazardous Waste program accepts mercury thermometers free for recycling along with other cleaning, hobby and garden chemicals.

Recycle iPods: When upgrading your iPod, take advantage of Apple's recycling program. Take an unwanted iPod or iPod mini to any Apple store. They offer a same-day 10% discount for a new iPod.

Hair: Wanting to cut your hair (a minimum of 10”) and do a good deed at the same time? Donate your hair. Michelle Sharpy is one of several local stylists who accommodate people wishing to donate hair for cancer patients’ wigs.

The Non-recyclable and Hazardous: Lane County Dept of Public Works accepts hazardous waste. There is a disposal fee, and an appointment is necessary for this service. Materials collected for disposal include paints, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, solvents, gasoline, fertilizer, fluorescent lighting and ballasts, etc.

The City of Eugene’s Police Department will accept firearms and ammunition for proper disposal, by appointment.