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Living the 5 R’s –

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle!

The following is a guide to help you make the best decisions for disposing of your stuff in an eco-friendlier way.  The end goal is to avoid the landfill, if at all possible, when you decide to part with your stuff.

So you made a decision to Reduce, now where should your stuff go? Use the guide to help you decide what to do next.

(note: all links are clickable!)

Animal/Pet Supplies

Call or email your local animal shelters before dropping donations off. Gently used items include collars, leashes, bowls, toys, brushes, blankets and beds. In addition, most shelters accept food, cleaning supplies, towels and blankets. Check out the following link to find your local shelter: https://www.petfinder.com/animal-shelters-and-rescues/search/

a large pile of batteries

Batteries

Check out https://www.call2recycle.org/locator/
to search for a location that accepts coin and rechargeable batteries. Home Depot and Staples generally take rechargeable batteries for recycling. Alkaline batteries generally go in the trash as they lack heavy metals to recycle but local municipalities may have drop sites to collect them.

bicycles

Bicycles

Check out local town waste management as they sometimes know who locally may rehab bikes for charity. Check local colleges as students that cannot afford to bring a usable bike to college may need a bike. The following two links are charities that handle bikes: Bike For The World and Pick Up Please as alternatives.

books lined up next to one another

Books & Magazines

Check out More Than Words https://mtwyouth.org/donate-books/ , Better World Books https://services.betterworldbooks.com/individuals/ Check out local libraries near you, ask friends & families and then donate to a local charity such as Salvation Army (https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn), Goodwill (https://www.goodwill.org/) and Savers.

Building Supplies

Check out https://www.habitat.org/restores/donate-goods Donation my include Kitchen cabinets, doors & windows, flooring, unused lumber, lighting, fencing, bricks and blocks. Call or email ahead to verify local sore has the ability to accept your donation. Some stores also will pickup donations but you need to call/book ahead.

rolled up carpets of various colors

Carpets

Check out https://www.habitat.org/restores/donate-goods if the area rugs are in good shape. Your local waste area drop site may take carpeting and carpets but it is best to call. If it must go in the trash, most likely it will have to be cut up to dispose of. Companies like Junk Luggers will donate into is vast listing of charities where possible, textile recycle and dump only as a last resort. Junk Luggers (https://www.junkluggers.com/locations.html) is a fee-based pickup of items but will seek to get as much donated as possible.

woman holding a box of clothes labeled 'donations'

Clothing

Clothing can be listed through social media listings such as local listings below, local church donations, consignment shops, and many of the charities included in this list. If you feel that you just want to dispose of, please consider Simple recycling before throwing textiles in your trash.

Check out https://simplerecycling.com/ Curbside recycling of clothing, shoes, and household goods to prevent them from going to the landfill. It is as simple as putting it in a bag and scheduling a pickup from any mobile device. Here are the FAQ’s for the process: https://simplerecycling.com/supplies/

Two stacked cell phones attached to charging cords

Electronics

Check out https://e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler/ By searching zip code, you can get a local site such as Staples & BestBuy that takes electronics and E-waste. Please review what they take on their listings to ensure proper disposal. BestBuy also has a trade-in program for some electronics. Remember to backup your data and where possible erase your personal information. Places like Miller Recycling Corporation (https://millerrecycling.com/recycling-services/data-destruction/) offers fee-based data destruction / recycling with a certificate of security.

five pairs of eyeglasses of assorted colors

Eyeglasses

Check out https://www.allaboutvision.com/resources/donate.htm lots of information on where and how to donate old eyeglasses. Pearle Vision always has a drop slot for old eyeglasses that also get donated to those in need.

Hangers

All dry clean hangers can be returned to any dry cleaner. Wooden and plastic hangers can be donate to a local charity such as Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers. REMEMBER: hangers should not be put in your recycle bin. Hangers go in the trash if they are not donated or given away. Sometimes schools, churches and charities are in need of hangers.

Stacked mattresses

Mattresses

Mattresses that are clean and functionally usable, can be listed on your local community boards. For Massachusetts residents the rules for mattress disposals change on November 1, 2022, check this link for guidance https://recyclingworksma.com/how-to/materials-guidance/recycle-mattresses/ For those in Southeastern MA, please check out https://www.handupus.org/our-services/mattress-recycling/ to recycle/donate your mattress. Some towns have a sticker pick-up process that can also be used. Many mattress delivery stores will also take away your old mattress at no additional cost. Another option that you can check out to buy a new mattress and recycle your old mattress is https://amerisleep.com/blog/mattress-donation/

Paint

Check out https://paintcare.org search for a location that accept lates, oil-based, varnishes etc.
- Check local recycling for hazardous waste days near you.
- For latex paints they can be dried using kitty litter or left open to completely dry before putting in normal trash or can to metal recycling

Plastic Bags

Dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, bubble wrap, produce bagsCheck out https://bagandfilmrecycling.org/ put in your zip code and a listing of places that accept plastic bags / wrapping recycling. Please review what they accept and must be clean.

Prescriptions

Check out https://med-project.org search for local sites for prescriptions and take back events. Many local hospitals and pharmacies have a drop box to accept prescriptions drugs for disposal.
- Some animal shelters accept empty bottles, check your ASPCA or local animal shelter.

Shoes

Check out https://soles4souls.org/give-shoes/ national donation via drop off or Zappos. There are lots of local donation spots and you are helping the environment and social causes. In addition, you can also donate shoes to local charities that accept them.

Sporting Equipment

Check out https://www.playitagainsports.com/home/sell-us-your-gear they accept a wide variety of sporting and workout equipment. For places like Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers you need to call and ask the location closest to you as space is limited.

Toiletries/Cosmetics

Check out https://cupboardofkindness.org/about-us, http://www.mansfieldfoodpantry.org/, https://www.new-hope.org/, https://www.togethershecan.org/about These are all non-profit organizations that take most of the basic necessities that are supplied to those in need. Please look at each website for donation needs and locations. Most accept food donations as well as personal hygiene products.

Tools

Check out https://www.habitat.org/restores/donate-goods to donate tools, building materials and some furniture items. It is best to research locations accepting donations. This category is also a very quick mover on Facebook Marketplace and BuyNothing (https://buynothingproject.org/) . Your local Nextdoor (https://nextdoor.com/)community is also another place to list your items.

Toys

Most charities will take toys in gently used condition including the outdoor yard toys such as Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers. Please call first to verify if they are currently taking what you are donating. In addition, some local daycare locations will take gently used toys and supplies. The follow is a list of other places to think about ways of donating toys https://www.thespruce.com/where-you-can-donate-toys-3129154

Wedding Dresses

There are many charities that accept wedding dresses (https://www.herecomestheguide.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-dress-donations) but the first hurdle is whether the dress is less than 3 to 5 years old. If your dress does not meet the requirements than you can donate to Salvation Army and Goodwill if it does not stay in your family. In addition, you can list on many of the sites listed below.

If the item that you are recycling or disposing of is not in the above list, go to Earth 911 to see if it listed or you can contact me for help.

Be sure to check out your local Channels: