You already know that recycling can help reduce the amount of trash that goes to landfills, but did you know that some forms of recycling can have a more direct impact? Giving unwanted items a new life can give someone else a new lease on life. If you’re looking to declutter without the waste, consider these four ways you can help others through recycling.
1. Donate Items in Good Condition
Did you know that your gently used unwanted items can raise money for a charity or help provide jobs for people with barriers to employment? Bring clothing, household goods, and other items in good condition to your local non-profit thrift shop. Some charities also accept large items like furniture, appliances, and used vehicles. Call ahead to find out what items are needed.
2. Give Eyeglasses a New Life
If you wear glasses, you probably get a new prescription every one to two years. Your old glasses may no longer correct your vision, but did you know they can help someone in need? Many charities refurbish old eyeglasses and donate them to people who can’t afford a new pair. Ask your optometrist where you can donate your used spectacles.
3. Send Office Supplies to School
Do you have unwanted pens, pencils, notebooks, and other office supplies cluttering your house? Instead of tossing your extra office supplies, donate them to your local school. The average educator in the United States spends $600 of personal money on school supplies each year, so your donation of new or gently used pens and pencils can go a long way toward stocking classrooms and easing the financial burden on teachers.
4. Donate Old Cars
If you’ve got an old car that isn’t going to sell for more than 1-2k anyway, you can do others a great service by donating it to thrift-shop type places that take car donations to help others. These places will either clean up the car to give to those who can’t afford a new one, sell it and use the money to help those in need, or recycle it for a healthier planet. Often places will do a combination of the three. Donating to these types of places takes something that is more of a hassle to you and turns it into a great act of service for others.
Starting a community recycling program is a great way to reduce waste and keep trash off the streets and sidewalks. Work with recycling companies and scrap yards to collect usable materials like metal, glass, and plastic that would otherwise go to the landfill. Put collection bins in easily accessible locations, and raise awareness in your community with signs, emails, texts, and phone calls. Consider partnering with your city’s trash service to collect recyclables at the curb. A clean environment helps everyone.
Remember that effective recycling depends on properly sorting and cleaning items. Contaminating materials with other types of waste can result in the whole bin being thrown out instead of recycled. Carefully sort all your recycling, remove paper or plastic labels and thoroughly rinse all food containers before placing them in your recycling bins.