hair-dryer-recycling.jpg Growing up, I had many blow dryers and hair straighteners that would malfunction and break. As a teenage girl, I had no clue what to do when this happened. I knew throwing these items out in the trash would not be right, yet they did not belong in a recycling bin. I would just put them away with the small hope that they would maybe disappear, but they piled up over time. Most people can relate to a dilemma similar to this when one of their small electric appliances (aka brown goods) breaks — anything from kitchen appliances like microwaves or blenders, to sporadically used items like portable heaters. Figuring out how to get rid of these broken items can be stressful if you do not have a recycling center near you or any kind of program that will pick them up. Even if your neighborhood does have access to great programs, this may not be totally clear to you. Living in Santa Cruz, CA, I am fortunate to be in an area that is very conscious about recycling and the environment. Excellent programs are usually available to fit the residents’ needs. So, I was not surprised that recycling brown goods here would not be too difficult of a feat. When I have a broken appliance, I can take it down to a recycling center about 10 minutes away from my house. The hours are pretty flexible, too: everyday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Although residents with a typical day job would most likely not make it to the center on weekdays, they have more than enough time to head over on weekends. Anyone in Santa Cruz with a packed schedule could find some time to make it to this center. One aspect about the center near my place that is pretty unique and exciting: There are no associated fees to drop off old appliances. This ranges from toasters to vacuum cleaners, computers and small refrigerators — really anything relatively small with an electric cord. This could be very helpful for those on a low budget or for those who are simply reluctant to pay to get rid of their items. Where your recycled items go will be different for every recycling program. Although I could not find clear information from my nearby center on where all of my recycled items would end up, I do know that computers and their components go to the center’s very own computer electronics store and other various items may end up in its associated thrift store. There was only one thing I was a little disappointed to find out through my research. This recycling center, along with the other centers that were farther away from my home, offered no option for pick-up. Carrying a small refrigerator, or items of that size, out of the house and loading it in the car is not an option for many residents. This would be close to impossible for me, as I live on the top floor of an apartment complex with narrow stairs and small hallways. In this case, many other residents and I would have to do some more research to dispose of our small appliances properly. This, of course, is my own personal experience with the recycling center near me. There are many different options all over the country. Conduct some research of your own to see what you can do with your old brown goods. This is a great thing to keep in mind when a small appliance breaks down and begins to clutter your space. It could also be great to do some research before that happens, so you will already be prepared to take action if necessary.