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At least once a week, someone emails me asking, “How do I recycle blinds?” Being the Super Sleuth that I am, I
decided to take a more in-depth look at our options, because recycling can
be complicated if you’re attempting to getting rid of something other than computer paper in an eco-friendly way.
first attempt at “research” was a Wikipedia search because, as Michael Scott
would say, “anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject
so you know you are getting the best possible information.” He was wrong in this case; Wikipedia turned up nothing on how to recycle blinds. Not even so much as a
placeholder page. Moving on.
second attempt was a Google search. I came up empty-handed again, but was drawn
to one particular link: Ecocycle.org. Upon further investigation, I learned that Ecocycle has an entire section on their website dedicated to educating
people on how to recycle hard-to-recycle items. They even have a Boulder-based
center for dropping off these items called CHaRM
(Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials). Bad news: I found no information about
how to properly recycle blinds here either.
them a call and was connected with Kate, a recycling expert if there ever was
one. Kate gave me a lot of helpful information:
- Aluminum blinds –
Aluminum blinds are the easiest to recycle. Recycle miniblinds and aluminum
components pretty much anywhere. Call up one of your local
scrap metal dealers to have these taken off your hands and make a little
money while you do it.
- Wood blinds –
Though wood blinds seem perfectly recyclable, they are not. Most wood
blinds are treated with a chemical sealant and various types of paint.
Wood recycling is most often turned into mulch for gardens and farms. The
chemicals used to treat wood blinds, while safe for the home, are not safe
for vegetable-growing. Double check to see what types of chemicals
have been used to treat your blinds before you drop them at your local
center. If they have not been treated, they can safely be recycled.
- PVC (fauxwood,
verticals) – These are not recyclable.
- Draperies – Most
recycled textiles are turned into industrial rags. This is a great use for
your old draperies, should you decide to get rid of them. Contact the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) to find out
how to turn your old drapes into something useful for someone else.
was sad to learn that some of our most popular products cannot be
safely recycled, there are plenty of other safe, smart options for getting rid
of your window blinds in a responsible way.
for Humanity is always in need of home items like blinds, shades, shutters, and
draperies. Find out if your city has a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which are
outlets that accept donated home goods for resale. The even-better news is that
if you do donate or recycle window blinds, then take a picture or video of yourself
doing so and send it to us, we’ll give you 10% off your purchase at
Blinds.com. If you’re not familiar with Blinds for Clunkers, click the link for more
And, of course, if you’re trying to make a buck or two, post them on
Craigslist or eBay.
If you’d like more information, shoot me an email and I’ll see what else
I can dig up.