STOP! Don’t Throw It Away!

Most of us are aware of the perils of consumerism and have made conscious decisions to buy used or not buy at all. We frequent our thrift stores and garage sales and use sites like Etsy (Eco Etsy, that is) to find goods made from “trash”. We use Freecycle, Craigslist and Ebay to find items at bargain prices and of used status so that we’re not contributing to the waste and environmental harm that is produced by the creation and sale of new goods.

Now that we’ve employed these consumer tips for acquiring items we need it’s equally important to choose environmentally sensitive ways to get rid of what we no longer need. The following are some tips I

learned from                   

    • Great disposal ideas:
    • household items – clothes, furniture, dishes, books, sports equipment, magazines, appliances, electronics, business attire, wedding attire, etc. (to charity)
    • computer equipment
    • building material (to companies who specialize in selling used material)
    • cell phones and ink cartridges (to Cure Recycling – profits from reuse of items support the CURE Childhood Cancer organization. Free postage. Another place to donate cell phones is Collective Good). If you would like to start your own recycling program, check out Wireless Recycling. Learn how to erase cell phone data with this free data eraser.
    • eyeglasses (to Lions Club, For-Eyes, Pearle, or Lenscrafters)
    • extra hangers (to your local dry cleaners)
    • art materials (to a school or cultural organization)
    • unwanted boxed/bagged/canned food (to homeless shelters, food banks, or soup kitchens)
    • etc.
  • Buy/Sell Used Items: Buy and sell your items on sites such as:
  • Freecycle: The Freecycle Network provides an online community tool for giving and receiving free stuff.
  • Share: thingloop facilitates sharing our belongings with each other.
  • Throwplace: lets you list items online that you would like to give to nonprofit organizations, businesses, or individuals.
  • Community Swap: Organize a community swap program (i.e., designate a place where people can leave unwanted items for others to use).
  • Packing Peanuts: Drop off at a local packing, shipping or moving store.
  • Wash and Reuse Plastic Bags: With either a wooden bag dryer or in the washing machine.
  • Buy Durables: Buy products that will last and take care of them.
  • Teach Thrift: Teach your children the value of being thrifty (the wise economy in the management of money and other resources; frugality).
  • Frugal Printing: Use both sides of each piece of paper — for note taking or printing documents from your computer (at home or work). Create note pads by stapling together once-used paper.
  • Kitchen Reuseables: Instead of buying these items new, save and reuse all: paper bags, rubber bands, twisties, boxes, and packaging material. Reuse your plastic bags with a handy bag dryer.
  • Library: Pick up books from your local library or used book store. The library is also many times a great place for finding magazines, CDs, books-on-tape, and videos.
  • Share with Neighbors: Join in with neighbors to purchase infrequently used products such as lawn mowers, ladders, etc.
  • Refurbished Computers: Buy refurbished computers for less
  • Rechargeable Batteries: Purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger (some battery rechargers will also recharge regular alkaline batteries). Solar powered battery rechargers are available online.
  • College Reuse: Dump and Run is a nonprofit organization that organizes the collection of college students’ castoff items in the spring, so they can be sold to incoming students in the fall. The proceeds are then donated to nonprofits.

We all know that every action has a consequence so we do our best to minimize our negative environmental impact and we’ve already incorporated some of these ideas into our daily lives. I hope these suggestions from give you some new ways to add to what you’re already doing.

Do you have some other ideas for eco-friendly disposal? Please send them to us in the comments. We can all learn new tricks!

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  1. Gabrielle says:

    Thanks for that very informative post!

  2. This is a great list – thanks for putting this together!

  3. Fabulous list!