Some people have a knack for getting rid of clutter and others hang onto that old fax machine, broken bicycle, and unused ski equipment a little too long. When you’re finally ready to bid ‘adieu’ to stuff you no longer need, don’t trash it, instead, try these tips for creative re-use, recycling, and disposal. Here’s how to clear the clutter while being environmentally responsible.
Old office supplies, electronics, and computers can be easily donated or recycled. Both the Electronic Industries Alliance, as well as Electronics Recycling, offer online directories to connect you with local or national recycling services. Some companies will even pickup your old electronics, safely dispose of or recycle them, or donate the electronics to an appropriate charity. In addition, companies like Hewlett Packard will recycle old printers and computer hardware of any brand. Ship your old printer or hardware back to Hewlett Packard and they will dispose of it properly while keeping your unwanted items out of the landfill.
Upgrading your cell phone doesn’t have to degrade the environment. Before you toss your old cell phone in the trash, consider donating the phone to organizations like the Wireless Foundation, Wireless Recycling, or Charitable Recycling. In addition, most cell phone manufacturers offer their own recycling program, and some, such as Sprint and Verizon Wireless, also donate used phones to charities.
Being green can also earn you another kind of green ‘cash’ when you list your unwanted items for sale on websites like EBay, Craigslist, and Recycler. Donating your items to charities and non-profits can also earn you a tax deduction in addition to keeping items that are particularly harmful to the environment, like computers and electronics, out of the landfill.
The easiest ways for many to dispose of clutter in the garage or storage areas are often found locally. Most cities and towns have local organizations that repair and refurbish items and then sell or donate them to deserving nonprofits. Many landfills and recycling centers also offer a drop-off site for items like books, music, clothing, and even furniture that can be re-used by others in your community. If you’re not sure what re-use or recycling services are available in your community, consult your state environmental protection agency or your local department of public works. For items that you think may be toxic, such as cleaners, paint, or other household items, you can also consult Earth911, a website dedicated to helping consumers dispose of unwanted items in a safe, eco-friendly way.