I was changing my windshield wipers this past weekend and afterwards thought what do I do with them now? I immediately thought about your column and wanted to pose the question to you. I am hoping you can help me with a sustainable way to dispose of them or provide ideas of who to contact. I am not local to Indianapolis — I’m in Elkhart.
Love your column!
I didn't have a clear view of the answer, so I did a little research. It looks like most windshield wipers are made from rubber attached to metal and/or plastic. Rubber is not widely accepted for recycling, but metal and plastic are. My suggestion would be to disassemble the parts, separating the rubber from the metal and plastic. Then recycle the metal/plastic in your curbside bin or wherever you take those materials for recycling. If you’re extra ambitious, you may try taking the wiper blades to a local tire shop to see if they are willing to toss them in with old tires for appropriate disposal.
A few folks suggest reusing the rubber wiper blade as a squeegee for windows or shower doors, or use it to weather-proof a small door, like a doggie door.
Did you know that windshield wipers were first invented in 1903 by a woman from Birmingham, Alabama? On November 10, 1903, the patent office awarded US Patent No. 743,801 to Mary Anderson for her “window cleaning device for electric cars and other vehicles to remove snow, ice or sleet from the window.” When she tried to sell her patent, no manufacturers were interested because “the device had no practical value.” By 1913 windshield wipers were standard on passenger cars, but Anderson never profited from the invention because the patent had expired. Told ya I did a little research.