Don’t trash it! Recycle it!

Fact – the average American throws away 4.5 pounds of trash a day! With our hefty population, that equates to about 1.4 billion pounds of trash each day! Holy Cannoli!

The next time you want to get rid of your stuff, don’t add to the problem by throwing it in the trash! Consider the numerous resources available for you to recycle or donate your unwanted items. Remember the old adage… ‘someone’s trash is another’s treasure.’

Here are some ways (most locally) to recycle or donate the green way.

First, check your town’s website for their recycling guide. Many towns will take a large variety of recyclables at the curb. In most areas, you can recycle plastic, glass, some metal, aluminum, paper and cardboard at the curb or at your town’s recycling center. Some towns will have certain drop off days for specific items, like hazardous items and electronics.

If your town does not offer recycling, or if you need to recycle something that is not on their list, check out Earth 911. Type in your zip code what you are trying to recycle; the site comes back with a list of local resources. The site also offers a handy recycle guide to help you to recycle large or dangerous items. It’s really very user friendly and couldn’t be easier to use!

The following is a great guide to help you to donate or to recycle your unwanted items.  The bottom line is that there are many, many ways to recycle or donate your unwanted items. The following are just a few of what seems like many wonderful organizations that really help our communities and to help to reduce our overloaded landfills.

Cell Phones: If they still work, donate them to Cell Phones for Soldiers; otherwise, broken cell phones can be recycled at electronics stores or Home Depot.

Clothing: Clothing is relatively easy to donate, as there are many drop off boxes around your area. Here are a few other options to donate clothing. These great organizations really help the low income and homeless population.

Eye Glasses: The Lions Club will recycle glasses and distribute them to people in need in low and middle-income communities where they will have the greatest impact.

Sheets/Towels: Animals need our help too! Many animal shelters are in desperate need of items such as blankets, sheets and towels. The Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts is near and dear to my heart because that is where we recently adopted our two fur balls. However, there are several other local animal shelters that need these items too. Do a google search for a shelter near you.

Household Goods/Furniture/Appliances:

So many great organizations in need will come to your home and pick up your unwanted goods. Here are just a few to call to schedule a pick-up:

Stuffed Animals: They are cute and we love them but I am convinced that they multiple until you cannot stand them anymore. Give your unwanted stuffed animals to these charities and they will see that they go to children who have been in an accident or lost their home – Stuffed Animals for Emergencies, Project Smile. Project Smile also takes children’s books, coloring books and crayons.

New stuffed animals are welcome at DOVE, Inc.

In addition, I just learned that there is a drop off box that will take unwanted stuffed animals. It is located at the Faith Chapel Assembly of God (340 Pleasant Street, Bridgewater, MA).

Toys: Check your local churches, shelters, daycares, and preschools to see if they will accept donations of new or gently used toys. The Ronald McDonald House accepts gently used toys. New toys can be donated to Toys for Tots.

 Bikes: Donate unwanted bicycles to Bikes Not Bombs, located in Jamaica Plain. Their mission is to create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs, and sustainable transportation.

Their programs mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation. How cool is that?

Books: Consider donating your unwanted books to local libraries.

Big Hearted Books & Clothing Inc. is a socially conscious, for-profit, book and textile company based in Sharon, Massachusetts. Their mission is to keep books, media, clothing, and other reusable items out of landfills by getting them back into the hands of people who can use them. Through the use of their book and clothing collection containers, and their free home pick-up service, Big Hearted Books & Clothing keeps over 15 million pounds of books and clothing out of landfills each year.

 Office Supplies: The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will accept office supplies as well as activity/craft supplies. The activity/craft supplies are used at their Summer Camps where children with neuromuscular diseases attend at no charge!

Schools/Craft Supplies: Cradles to Crayons is a wonderful organization where I have personally volunteered my time. They accept new school/craft supplies along with several other items.

Baby Gear: This is a game changer! Car seats expire and once they do, they cannot be used. You can donate them to BabyEarth.com and they will disassemble them and recycle them properly.

Electronics: Big box electronic stores will take many old electronics to recycle. Some may charge a fee. Check these sites out for more information – Best Buy, Staples.

Medication: Expired medications need to be disposed of carefully. Check out my blog regarding expired medications here. You can also bring them to your local police department. They have secured bins where you can drop in your unwanted or expired medications.

Styrofoam: Styfofoam is not easy to recycle. Use this guide to help you.

Batteries: Home Depot will recycle rechargeable batteries. Click on the link to find a store near you.

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