Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green and Frugal -- Don't Trash That Vac!

Would a modern landfill make a pretty picture? Most likely not. We are in an age where human waste has had unprecedented impact on our own environment, and "going green" is becoming the in-vogue, responsible thing to do. However, we cannot prevent all trash from being thrown away. Sometimes we mindlessly throw away a styrofoam cup and forget that such items take many years, if not centuries, to decompose back into the Earth.

Are Vacuums Recyclable?
The short answer is, "no". Simply put, vacuums are very complex appliances and take a bit of time to break apart. If you were to leave a vacuum cleaner to the elements of Earth, it'd take hundreds if not thousands of years to break down, but don't fear! Most vacuums have a plastic shell that can be indeed recyclable, but its internal motor is not. The filter material, as well, is often tossed away as something that cannot be recycled. Most filters are made from PET, or a polyester filter medium, and can be recycled. If given the right amount of care, vacuum motors can last many years and even be reused in new models.

Broken, Or Not Broken?
The old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Is buying a new vacuum absolutely necessary, or can you simply get it repaired? Most consumers like the feel of a new item in their hands, but in most cases it is unnecessary to waste your money on items that do not do the environment good.

If your vacuum isn't broken, but you're looking to replace it with a newer or "better" model, consider donating it to charity or local thrift shop. You could also place an ad on your local newspaper. Remember, do not abandon it at the dumpster! You're bound to find someone who needs a vacuum cleaner. You may want to consider posting ads near college dorms or apartments, or even offer it for free if picked-up.

If your vacuum is broken, take a bit of time to research your nearest vacuum expert. Chances are, there is someone in town knowledgeable and handy enough to fix your vacuum for you. You can even bargain with your vacuum expert even if you don't intend to keep it. Offer to give them your vacuum cleaner's parts so that they can salvage and use it in other repairs.

If you don't have a vacuum expert in your area, consider simply surrendering it at a recycling center that could accept it. With simple research and inquiry, you can responsibly dispose of your vacuum without hurting the environment.

Keep It Working
The best way to keep your vacuum from breaking down is to simply maintain it. If you maintain your vacuum cleaner, it's most likely that your vacuum would not only operate at an optimal level but last longer than its neglected counterparts. Maintaining vacuum cleaner is your number one preventive measure to vacuum deterioration. Keeping the belts, filters, and motor in check every 6 months will allow your vacuum to run smoothly and strong.

This way, you can save yourself a trip to the vacuum expert for repairs, as well as simply donate your vacuum once you decide to replace it with another model.

Enjoy a Greener Clean
Keep our landfills free from the toxic effects of a broken vacuum cleaner, because our environment can be easily shaken out of its balance by the effects of a leaking vacuum motor! Properly dispose it at your nearest recycling center and keep toxins away from groundwater sources.

By abiding by these tips, you can help keep your environment green and clean. Vacuum cleaners were never meant to be disposed in a dumpster and would take many years to properly decompose, sometimes not even in the average human lifespan!

Judy Nguyen is a copy editor from Vacuum Home, an online site that specializes in vacuum cleaners and vacuuming systems. She is currently involved in environmental communities and hopes to make a better world with one eco-conscious thought at a time.

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