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What to do with old plastic baby bottles?

We received a good question from a Portland reader:

We have FINALLY weaned our son from his beloved Avent bottles, which we had used to wean him off me. Now the question is: What to do with the bottles? I'm pretty sure I can't just toss them into the recycling bin. But I hate to just throw them out. Can they be recycled? This includes the bottles, the nipple rings, the nipples and the little caps that go over the nipples to protect them. Help!

Fear not, gentle reader...the Master Recycler is on the case! Anytime you have something you no longer can use, ask yourself, "How can this be reused?" Reuse is almost always better than recycling because it extends the lifetime of the object and the energy that was required to make it. In the case of baby bottles -- if they are in good condition, donate them to a children's services organization. In Portland, I'd suggest Northwest Children's Outreach and the Children's Relief Nursery. That includes the bottle, the rings and the bottle caps. Throw away the nipples...they can't be reused or recycled.

If the bottles are scratched up and junky and can't be reused, you can recycle them in your curbside bin (in the Portland metro area) if they are at least 6 oz bottles and labeled with a plastic number 1-7. Curbside won't take any type of bottle smaller than 6 oz, but Far West Fibers will accept the smaller bottles. Far West will also accept the hard plastic nipple rings and caps, which should be placed in the Rigid Plastics bin (I called to verify this).

Whew. I'm exhausted from all that sleuthing. I think I need to take next week off.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Renee and I are going to take next week off...so tune in on August 31 for more exciting news from the trash talkin' moms!

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