January 5, 2010
I was laughing at myself last night because I really boxed myself into a corner on this one. Day Two of my week long topic on ‘Starting Fresh’ is marked “Donate/Recycle”.
At first, I was amused because I assumed the subject of recycling was elementary. I thought, what the heck am I going to talk about? Doesn’t everyone know how to recycle? Isn’t everyone a participant in responsible disposal ? Even my kindergartner knows all about recycling, so I thought.
Then I started doing some research online. I realized I had much more to learn. Here’s just a few tidbits I picked up having spent some time researching the subjects of recycling and donating unwanted goods.
Christmas trees. If you’ve purchased a live tree like I did this year, you’ve got to get rid of it. Do you know where your tree goes when you put it out on the curb ? Do you treecycle ? Many waste companies will recycle, compost or mulch it for you. The Boys and Girl Scouts have a national program to pick up your tree curbside for a small donation. For a great article on disposing of your live tree in an eco-friendly way, click on over to Earth911.com for their helpful tips.
Plastics. Ever wonder what those numbers mean on the bottom of your containers? There’s a uniform coding system for manufacturers, and as it turns out, not all plastics get recycled. It’s based on the container’s imprinted code that identifies the type of plastic. If you’re curious how to recycle different types of plastic, click here.
Unwanted or Expired Medicine: Most local pharmacies will accept your unwanted or expired prescriptions for recycling.
HHWs (Household Hazardous Waste). Aerosol cans, antifreeze, florescent light bulbs, gasoline, fertilizers, insecticides, paint, chemicals, paint thinners and strippers, solvents, motor oil. All of these should be disposed of at your local HHW disposal site. Click here to find one near you.
Batteries: Ever since 1996, the use of mercury in single use alkaline batteries was outlawed, so these batteries are often thrown into the trash. But there is a growing trend to recycle them. In the state of California, it’s required. I keep my expired alkaline batteries in a plastic container, then drop them at the local HHW disposal site a few times a year.
Nickel cadmium batteries are those rechargeable alkaline batteries – they have toxic cadmium in them, so they need to be disposed of with your other HHWs. Silver oxide batteries (watches, calculators, small toys) contain mercury, so they also should be disposed of at your local HHW site.
Rechargeable batteries and old cell phones can be disposed of for free with Call2Recycle.org. Click here for a drop off locator by zip code. Most home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Orchard Hardware and Sears are included.
Freecycle.org is a non-profit group that is dedicated to repurposing and keeping gently used items out of landfills. Then of course, there’s always Craiglist’s “free stuff” category if you want someone to come and pick up, well, just about anything.
Typically, I take just about everything I donate to my local thrift store. But then I realized there are other needy organizations that might benefit even more than just my local Goodwill.
Unwanted Furniture. Most of us know where to find used furniture. But did you know the Salvation Army.com and Goodwill.org will not only accept your used furniture, they might even pick it up for you ?
Towels and small blankets. Consider donating these to animal shelters.
Books and recent magazines. Donate to rehabilitation centers, senior centers, or nursing homes.
Professional women’s clothing. Donate to Dress for Success or to your local women’s shelter.
Eyeglasses. You can donate to NewEyesfortheNeedy.
Old computer equipment. Dispose of your old computer cords, printers, or hardware through Hewlett Packard’s Recycling Program.
Unused tools, paint, trim, or other home improvement products. Consider your local Habitat for Humanity for drop off.
Don’t have time for all of these individual drop offs ? There’s always 1800 Got Junk.
What about you ? Does your community make recycling easy ? Are there any tips you can share to help others donate unused items for a great cause ? Know of any organizations that accept gently used items for charity ? Do share !
***** Is anyone else having problems reading with this brown grasscloth background ? There should be a white columns on top of the brown background to make the posts perfectly readable. Email me if you’re still having problems. . . *****