Q Are there any organizations that will take used, working CPAPs and give them to people who need them but can't afford them? I also have an expensive left leg brace and a back wrap-around brace that I would like to give to a program that could give them to people who need such medical items.

A There actually are two organizations in Minnesota that recycle continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which are used primarily by those with sleep apnea.

SecondWindCPAP in Tracy, Minn., works with the American Sleep Apnea Association on a donation system for the machines.

Mark Seager, respiratory therapist and owner of SecondWindCPAP, said people with CPAPs that they no longer need can contact him (1-507-629-8232 or sales@secondwindcpap.com) or the ASAA (1-202-293-3650).

In the Fargo-Moorhead area, Project HERO (Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization) accepts reusable CPAPs and other medical equipment.

"We collect most anything medically related, including braces, walkers and wheelchairs," said Joyce Newton, executive director of Project HERO.

Newton said that as far as she knew, her nonprofit agency is the only organization collecting such a wide range of items in the area.

Last year, Newton said, Project HERO delivered more than 19,000 items to 1,844 people across 13 counties in Minnesota and 32 counties in North Dakota. It also provides donors with a tax receipt.; call 1-218-284-6111 for more info.

All items must be shipped or delivered to Project HERO headquarters.

Those who want to make a donation closer to home have limited options. Newton said some churches and VFWs "might have a little lending closet, something that takes a few items." Potential donors also could contact the doctor who recommended the equipment or the company that supplied it -- or conduct an Internet search using "[equipment name]," "recycling" and "MN."


Watch that perfume

Q I have bottles of old perfume. How do I dispose of them?

A The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency considers perfume a household hazardous waste (HHW) because it has alcohol and is flammable. Such waste is a threat to people or the environment if not disposed of properly.

Don't pour the perfume down the drain or throw it in the trash. Drop off the bottles at a county household hazardous waste facility.

To find one near you, go to www.pca.state.mn.us/hhw. Click on "Find your HHW collection site" on the left side of the page.


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