Just because it fits, doesn’t mean it should sit. 5 Trash & Recycling No-No’s You Should Stop Doing Today!

Morgenson RealtyApartment Tips, legal, living, moving, Quality Living, Spring Cleaning, Storage, Uncategorized

Much like those adorable cat memes all over the internet, our minds automatically think, “If I can fit it in the dumpster, it’s acceptable.” Unfortunately, we’re wrong and may even be breaking the law. There are some items inside your apartment that can’t go inside your communities trash or recycling dumpsters. Find out which common household items can’t go in the trash or recycling dumpsters below + the proper ways you should dispose of these items.

1] Bags & Batteries

  • Who wants a nice, ice cold glass of water filled with mercury and nickel?! … Nobody? … AGREED! Batteries contain toxic chemicals (like mercury and nickel) that can leak into our water systems. – Don’t toss in the trash OR recycling dumpsters
  • All sorts of bags; plastic bags, film/sheeting, and flexible film packaging. These items contribute to the shut down of recycling facilities worldwide, by jamming up the sorting machines. – Don’t toss in recycling dumpsters, trash dumpsters are approved. NOTE –  All recyclables should be loosely tossed in the recycling dumpster. They should not be inside a plastic grocery/trash bag of any kind. 


  • All rechargeable batteries can be disposed of at your local Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, or similar store locations.
  • For all other batteries, check out Call2Recycle and find a location near you!

2] Electronics

  • Electronics like – cell phones, computers, televisions, microwaves, blow dryers, gaming consoles, etc.
  • Why? Maybe you don’t enjoy mercury or nickel in your water, but what about lead and heavy metals??  … Still nothing, huh?  …We agree again! Electronics are the leading cause of lead and heavy metals in our landfills, which eventually means, in our water.


Most Best Buy locations offer an electronic recycling program. You could also donate or trade-in certain items, like cellphones, through your cell phone carrier or online websites. For a list of local places, visit Earth911 here.

3] Paints

  • Are you a DIY kinda gal or guy? Do you have some extra paint you know you’ll never use again? If so, don’t toss that paint in your trash or recycling cans! Harmful chemicals and oils live inside paint and could seep into the ground, poisoning our water systems.


  • Paint (except completely dried latex paint cans, no liquids) can be dropped off at your local Hazardous Waste Resident Drop-off Center.

4] Fluorescent Light Bulbs / Fluorescent Tubes 

  • Fluorescent light bulbs contain that hazardous little thing called mercury. Luckily, standard incandescent bulbs have no toxic chemicals and are approved to throw away in your trash dumpster.


Waste Management offers recycling kits that allow you to recycle these delicate waste materials right from the comfort of your home. Check out their fluorescent bulb and tube recycling kits here – Waste Management Recycling Kits

5] Motor Oil, Oil Filters, & Tires

  • Items like automobile tires, motor oil, and oil filters should not be disposed of in dumpsters. EPA Archives state that motor oil from a single oil change can contaminate one million gallons of water. Shocking, right?!


Most auto repair businesses accept old tires and motor oil. Make it easy on yourself and ask them to dispose of your old tires the day your new tires are installed.

This topic is one that’s often skimmed over during lease signings. If you ever feel on the fence about disposing of a particular item, contact your communities Property Manager or your local Waste Management / Advanced Disposal in Waukesha or Milwaukee Counties to determine if it is legal to dispose of the item in a traditional dumpster and what solutions are available to keep you from any applicable charges by your Landlord. While we humans must follow rules, cats remain the ultimate rule breakers and will forever sit, wherever they fit.