Are there unused items in your house that you’re reading to toss? Before clearing out the clutter from your home and throwing things away, consider this: Americans discard almost a TON of trash per person, per year. Stop the trash madness! Unloved MP3 players, under-worn rain coats and more could be put to use someplace besides the nearest dumpster.
Electronics. In general, it’s best to avoid throwing electronics away. Once they’re in the landfill, they can leak toxic chemicals like mercury and lead into the ground. Despite that, they are still piling up to the tune of over 2 million tons per year! If your device is still working, it can be donated to senior centers, community organizations and children’s charities. Broken devices are in demand, too – they can often be refurbished and contain valuable parts worth harvesting. For more information, check out the EPA’s Electronics Donation and Recycling directory. Also, Best Buy accepts many items (no matter where they were purchased) and Dell has partnered with Goodwill to take unwanted electronics.
Magazines Before you transfer that mountain of Vanity Fair or National Geographic magazines to the recycling bin, consider taking things a step further and passing them on to new sets of eyes. Hospitals, senior centers and homeless shelters often welcome old magazines. Also, contact local children’s charities that may use them for arts and crafts projects. You can even offer them up via a “Free Stuff” posting on Craigslist – your trash could be someone else’s treasure!
Clothes. Fabrics like polyester, rayon and cotton make up 5 percent of all landfill waste. But, unless a piece of clothing is ruined beyond repair, it’s donate-able. Major donation centers like Goodwill and Salvation Army are popular recipients of unwanted duds, but you can also sell them at consignment stores. There are specialty charities like Donate My Dress that take used women’s formalwear and Dress for Success that welcomes women’s business attire. Tip: If you have high-quality vintage gear, try hawking it on Etsy.
Pet supplies. Animal shelters often run low on essential items. These include actual pet products like toys, crates, leashes and collars. Other household staples like blankets, towels, storage containers and office supplies are also very helpful to them. It’s best to contact your local Humane Society to see what they need before bringing all of your stuff to them. (They often post this information on their website, too.). Tip: Be sure to wash your items thoroughly before donating them to creatures in need.