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Sunnyvale Recycling Gets SMaRT

Sunnyvale is also the Bay Area's leader in one very different but critical aspect: being green

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In the heart of Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale's known for its high-tech leaders -- just look at some of technology's biggest names that call Sunnyvale home . Sunnyvale is also the Bay Area's leader in one very different but critical aspect: being green. The Sunnyvale Materials Recover and Transfer (SMaRT) Station is a partnership between Sunnyvale and neighboring cities Mountain View and Palo Alto. Folks from those cities, along with Sunnyvale's citizens, come to the SMaRT station to drop off their waste products for recycling -- and in some cases, for a nice sum of cash too.

Located right off 237 and Lawrence Expressway on Caribbean Drive, the SMaRT Station is as versatile as they come in the realm of green waste disposal and recycling. Here's a list of what you can take to the SMaRT Station.

Paper and corrugated cardboard
Plastic # 1-7 containers
Glass bottles and containers (no auto glass or mirrors)
Aluminum and bi-metal cans
Electronics: computers, TVs, monitors (limit four), small appliances
Fluorescent bulbs and tubes (20 tube limit)
Household and auto batteries
Used motor oil and oil filters, cooking oil, antifreeze
Sharps (needles and lancets)
Mercury items: thermostats, thermometers
Clothes and shoes

Of course, you can get cash back for anything labeled with a California Redemption Value. Also, many people still just throw out their old computers or TVs when the smart (no pun intended) thing to do is to recycle. As the SMaRT website puts it, “The general rule of thumb is that any electronic device with a circuit board or plug should be considered universal/electronic waste and disposed following the universal waste disposal guidelines.” In other words, take your old electronics to SMaRT instead of dumping it in the weekly garbage or storing it in your garage.

Another area where people tend to make the wrong disposal choice is old medications. Flushing them down the toilet pollutes our reservoirs, and leaving them in the garbage means that they could leave harsh chemicals in landfills – or worse, be stolen and misused by other people. SMaRT doesn’t directly handle pharmaceutical waste, but it takes in sharp waste (needles, lancets) and provides directions to the six fire stations that can collect pharmaceutical waste. SMaRT also adds composting to its list of capabilities. For composting, Los Alto joins Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto.

One of SMaRT Station’s unique features is its recycling cost – or lack thereof. Some commercial ewaste recycling centers charge to take computers and TVs off your hands.

For Sunnyvale residents, SMaRT drop-off is free for any accepted recycling item. In fact, the only thing you need to pay for at SMaRT is large garbage hauls (per cubic-yard).

On the edge of the bay, the SMaRT Station is also home to wildlife. In fact, the Santa Clara County Audobon Society conducts birding tours by the SMaRT Station on the first Wednesday of every month. In fact, the Sunnyvale Landfill is noted as a great recreation area, with plenty of room for hiking and nature watching; it's one of the City's key initiatives to keep the environment healthy and clean. The SMaRT Station itself is landscaped by FloraTerra Landscaping, a local company specializing in sustainable landscaping with reusable materials.

Going green is here to stay, and once again, Sunnyvale is pioneering a global trend with the SMaRT Station. For more information, visit the official SMaRT Station page off the City of Sunnyvale’s website.

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