Addie Finley | Billerica MA Real Estate Real Estate, Lowell MA Real Estate Real Estate


Household recycling has become easier than ever. Many towns and cities offer free recycling pickup, and even private waste management companies are implementing recycling programs.

There are a number of advantages to recycling. It helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste and making it easier to reuse raw materials. But, recycling is also advantageous to homeowners who don’t want to pay hefty fees for trash pickup when they can often recycle for free.

One of the more difficult aspects of household recycling is the learning curve of actually learning what is and isn’t recyclable. Homeowners might think something is recyclable because it’s made from plastic, only to find out later that it’s a specific type of plastic that can’t be recycled. On the other hand, you might be throwing some items in the garbage, filling up your bin each week when you could be recycling it instead.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the lesser known items you could be recycling. We’ll also cover some items you shouldn’t throw in your recycling bin, and give you tips on how to tell which is which.

Things that shouldn’t find their way into your recycling bin

It’s easy to assume that just because something looks like paper, plastic, or glass, that it can be tossed into your recycling bin. However, that isn’t always the case. Look out for these items that may not be recyclable in your area.

  • Used paper food containers. Pizza boxes are one of the biggest culprits that end up in recycling bins when they shouldn’t be. Items like paper food containers, use paper towels, and paper plates are all soiled with grease and other food residue making them ineligible for recycling.

  • Those glossy drink cartons made from unknown materials. There’s a good chance that if you can’t find a recycling logo on it somewhere it can’t be recycled. However, a growing number of cities are accepting milk cartons, so be sure to check on the rules in your area.

  • Plastic shopping bags. Those flimsy bags that you get from the supermarket? You can’t recycle those. As a result, many cities and stores are encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags. If you forget your bags at home, however, fear not: many supermarkets now accept your used plastic bags to be recirculated.

So that eliminates a lot of common household waste from being recycled. However, there are plenty of items you might not be aware of that can be tossed into the recycling bin.

Lesser known recyclable items around the house

Even if something isn’t eligible for curbside recycling doesn’t mean you should just toss it into the trash. There are many items that you can drop off or donate. Here are just a few items that are likely sitting in your house right now:

  • Old cell phones and electronics. Our gadgets are becoming obsolete at an ever-increasing rate. That means many of us have a lot of old tech junk sitting in boxes in our basements. The good news is that several stores accept free drop-offs of old electronics for reuse and recycling.

  • Mattresses and furniture. Large items like mattresses and old furniture are a pain to get rid of. They’re also likely useful to someone out there. For mattresses and box springs, try contacting retailers to see if they reuse them for materials. Furniture that is still in usable condition can be placed on Craigslist or donated to a thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  • Oil and ink. Run out of ink in your printer? Online retailers will often pay you for your old cartridges. Also, if you recently changed your oil, drop it off at an auto parts store to be recycling into other automotive materials.


Although it may seem like the Internet and email have always been an integral part of our daily lives, those modes of modern communication have only been around for the past two decades or so.

With technology like video teleconferencing, online document sharing, and other collaborative tools becoming commonplace in the business arena, more and more companies are allowing (and even encouraging) their employees to work from home -- at least a couple days a week. For better or worse, many employees, managers, and executives are putting in lots of overtime from their home offices.

Whether you're telecommuting for a job or running your own home-based business, having a dedicated work space can make all the difference in your ability to stay focused and productive. Not only can you control distractions by closing the door, but having a separate work space at home makes it easier to stay organized and maintain a professional image. Depending on the layout of your house, the cooperation of your family, and neighborhood zoning regulations, it may even be possible to meet with clients at your home office.

While some people don't have a problem setting up their laptop and working at the kitchen table, in their bedroom, or the living room, problems can arise when your spouse or other members of the family want to use your temporary work space for something else!

Other potential complications are possible, too: When people in your household have easy access to your computer, work files, and research materials, there's also the possibility of accidentally losing unsaved documents, unfinished emails being prematurely sent or closed, and having to deal with spills, sticky surfaces, misplaced work materials, and other miscellaneous mishaps! On the other hand, setting aside a dedicated work space at home for tackling office projects, preparing reports, or creating client proposals can help you avoid losing valuable work, missing deadlines, and looking unprofessional.

Home Offices Are a Selling Point

In addition to making your own life more organized and less chaotic, there's also the advantage of increasing your home's marketability. If you happen to be considering putting your house on the market now or in the near future, having a dedicated office space will help make your home look more appealing to potential buyers.

Today, more than ever, the idea of having a home office is on many people's minds and priority lists -- or at least, their "wish list". When prospective buyers can envision ways in which your home can meet their lifestyle goals, business objectives, and career requirements, they'll be a lot more likely to seriously consider making an offer on your house.

As more and more people pursue work-at-home options, freelancing opportunities, advanced degrees, and home-based businesses, a dedicated office space will continue to be a highly desirable feature for both current and future home owners.


While the dishwasher is a fantastic invention and present in just about every home across the US, there’s certain guidelines that should be followed in order to protect your machine and to protect your stuff. Certain things in your kitchen should definitely keep to the sink to be washed. As a reminder, below is a list of things that should never be placed in the dishwasher and taken special care of. 


Wood 


Wood items should never be placed in the dishwasher. The detergent in the machine can scratch the wood, causing major damage to any of the pieces including spoons, bowls and other wooden utensils. The heat from the dryer in the dishwasher can also cause the wood to crack, which is a safety hazard to you and your family. 


Instead of throwing your wooden kitchen materials into the machine, mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water to wipe down the bowls, plates, cutting boards and utensils. Then rinse and dry off well.



Cast Iron


Cast iron should never go into the dishwasher. First, you spent so much time seasoning your pans and do not want to undo all the great flavor that has been created. You should never use soap on a cast iron pan. To properly clean one of these pans, simply use a little baking soda. Don’t forget to rinse, dry and season again with salt! 


Aluminum Cookware


You should use caution if you put aluminum cookware of any kind in the dishwasher. Technically, some of these pans are in fact “dishwasher safe,” however, the machine can wreak havoc on your pans. The machine can remove some of the shine of your pans and cause them to appear dull.         


Copper, Silver And Other Precious Metals


Many people have specialty silverware and serving pieces for special occasions. You may even have copper cookware. You can’t put any of these in the dishwasher, we’re sorry to say! After your next dinner party, you’ll have to spend some time at the sink washing your best utensils. The dishwasher can cause metals to dull. More seriously, it can hurt the finish of these pans and utensils, possibly causing contamination to your food while it’s cooking or being served. Silver especially will tarnish in the dishwasher, causing you the need for a more complicated cleaning process.            


Nonstick Cookware

You should think twice before you put nonstick cookware in your dishwasher. Some are dishwasher safe, and some are not. Even if these pans are denoted as dishwasher safe, you should be careful. Always check for damage to the pans if you place them in the dishwasher. Nonstick cookware can peel, getting particles in your food, which is unsafe.      


There are other items that you should think twice about before you put them into the dishwasher: 


  • Plastics
  • Kitchen knives
  • Fine China
  • Painted plates
  • Crystal
  • Other specialty items like vases


Enjoy your dishwasher for convenience, but remember to use it wisely! 


After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home sale. However, problems may arise that slow down the home selling process. And if these problems linger, they may stop your home sale altogether.

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the home selling journey is quick and seamless. If you know what to expect after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, you can prepare accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you wrap up a home sale.

1. Negotiate with a Homebuyer As Necessary

Typically, a homebuyer will request a house inspection after his or her offer to purchase your residence is accepted. This appraisal will enable a buyer to identify any underlying problems with your home. It also may lead a buyer to request a price reduction or property repairs in order to finalize a home sale.

Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your residence before you listed it, a home inspector still might identify assorted house issues. In this scenario, you should be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer to find a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties involved in a home transaction.

2. Remain Patient

Ultimately, the period between when you accept an offer to purchase your house and closing day may seem endless. At this time, try to remain patient and focus on the big picture, and you may be better equipped than ever before to limit problems that could slow down your house sale.

It generally is a good idea to be open to communication with a homebuyer as well. If you keep the lines of communication open with a buyer, both parties can work together to ensure a home sale goes according to plan.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For those who are stressed out about the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent is committed to helping you achieve the best-possible results. He or she will collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey and help you identify and address any potential home selling hurdles.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about a home inspection request and the final results of an inspection. Plus, as closing day approaches, a real estate agent will help you get ready for the big day.

Take the guesswork out of selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble wrapping up a home sale.


Keeping a vegetable or flower garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do during the warm months. It’s an excuse to get outside, grow delicious food, save money on groceries, and learn about the art of gardening.

One of the keys to a healthy garden is to maintain your soil quality. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, from buying fertilizer, to mixing in lime, manure and other additives. One way to improve your garden soil quality while also reducing household waste is to start composting.

In this article, we present a guide to garden composting that will help you grow healthier plants and find a new purpose for the waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

What is composting?

Composting is a lot like recycling. It’s nature’s way of reusing minerals and nutrients from organic matter by putting them back into the soil.

Most of us are averse to rotting fruit and vegetables, but they’re packed with the nutrients that your garden needs to flourish.

Benefits of composting

Aside from increasing the nutrients in your soil, composting can help in a number of other ways. It will help the soil retain moisture, meaning you’ll have to water less, it can help you save money on fertilizer, and it will yield healthier plants and fruit that have a higher nutritional value.

Better yet, aside from the cost of buying or building a composting bin, it’s a free resource.

Compost bins

Most homeowners who compost their organic waste do so by buying or building a composting bin. These range from simple wooden boxes to barrels built on a spit for rotating.

Generally, compost bins are either wooden (unstained) or plastic. Metal will generally rust, and you don’t want to mix rust into your garden.

The key to good composting is being able to move the composting matter around so that it can receive oxygen. However, you’ll also want to be able to keep it moist to encourage decomposition.

If you decide to start off with just a simple wooden box for your compost, make sure you have easy access to a shovel to mix the compost around.

In terms of location, you probably don’t want your bin to be too close to your home. Decomposition doesn’t smell great, and you won’t want the odors floating through your windows on a hot summer day.

What to compost

The number of things you can toss into your compost bin is surprisingly large. However, here’s a short list of some common compostable items:

Fruits and vegetables, coffee grinds, leaves and grass clippings, breads, and cereals.

There are more advanced composting methods that can break down things like newspaper, paper bags, and egg cartons, but it’s best to start with organic materials.

Maintaining your compost bin

There are a few key steps to maintaining a healthy compost bin. First, make sure you have a variety of materials in it. Putting only one type of organic matter in your compost bin will make it hard to break down. A mixture of leaves, clippings, and fruits and vegetables will yield better results than just grass clippings.

Next, make sure you keep it moist by watering the compost heap once a week, or whenever it seems like it’s drying out.

Finally, rotate or mix the composting material around with a shovel. This will help matter break down faster and more evenly.




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