Sustainable Solutions for Your Old Stuff

We are all trying to do our best to make this world a better place, from being aware of environmental issues to implementing changes in our life to ensure sustainability of our little blue planet.  These days we are more than ever aware of environmental challenges we face, and it is time to stop avoiding to deal with them. Every action we take has consequences, which is why we need to start making smarter decisions. Reducing, reusing and recycling should become our way of life. It can be hard and strenuous sometimes, but it is worth it. Each effort you make towards it is one step closer to the greener and healthier planet.

The truth is that a lot of people often get discouraged when it comes to their plans for recycling. Not only do they not know where to recycle but also what can they recycle. Luckily, that is not difficult to answer. Just continue reading, and you’ll get all the information you need.

What to do?

There are four things you can do with your old stuff, and they are: Recycle, Repurpose, Sell or Donate. Carefully look through all of your stuff you want to get rid of and see in which category they belong.

Why don’t you try earning some money on your old things and sell some of your household items, clothes or even some collectibles? Nobody really needs two blenders, so if you have an extra one why don’t you try selling it online or doing a garage sale? You won’t get a fortune, but this is definitely better than throwing your stuff away or keeping them around the house just taking up the space.

If you want to earn some good karma why don’t you donate your stuff and help the needy in the process? Donate household items that are still functional and in the good condition to make a difference in the world. You wouldn’t believe how much good your unwanted old fridge can do in the home of the less fortunate family.

Did you know that most cities have some type of recycling program that will take care of various recyclable products from your home? The first thing you should do is to contact your local recycling center to discover what materials they accept. This way you’ll find out for sure which of your old stuff can go to them and everything about their terms. Find out will they pick up the stuff or do you have to bring them by yourself.

Cookware. China and ceramic cookware are not accepted in most recycling programs so you should try donating it to the charity, organizing garage sales or even giving it to some of your friends that will benefit from them. If your metal pots can be salvaged, you should also consider donating them, but if they can’t, you should research if your recycling program accepts scrap metal.

Plastic. Did you know that plastic doesn’t break down in landfills when you just throw it away? And did you know that it can be easily recycled to many different products if you choose to take that extra step? But, recycling centers don’t accept all types of plastic, so you’ll need to check that with your local one. When shopping, you should try picking the products with recyclable types of plastics.

Plastic bags have no place in your household. Make one step closer to a cleaner planet and take reusable bags with you to shopping and drop off all the plastic ones to the closest recycling center. You wouldn’t believe how much difference sustainable actions of just one person can make.

Paper. Flatten your cardboard boxes, paper packaging, and bags, stack it together and bring to the recycling center. Just remember, even though cartons of wine, juice and soup are recyclable, they don’t go with paper items but with plastic ones.

Glass. Did you know that glass can be melted down and reformed again and again? Best of all is that it won’t lose any of its strength or quality. Rinse all your bottles, jars or jugs with water, dry and deliver to a bottle collection center.  Be careful when it comes to the broken glass because it might happen that your center is not accepting it because it can pose a danger to workers.

Appliances.  If you have decided to upgrade your household appliances and the old ones are still working you should consider donating it. Call charity shops to see which one of them will accept these appliances and do a good deed. You can also list it on some of the free-exchange websites like Freecycle and give it directly to someone in need. If it is broken, you should check with your recycling center to see if they can pick it up.

Electronics. In the past years, technology has been rapidly developing  giving us new products over and over again. This is why we all have a pile of newly antiqued products like cell phones, beepers, Walkmans, Discmans, MP3 or MP4 players and old computers. If these products work they could be useful for someone else. Various organizations are committed to donating working technology to less fortunate. Who knows, maybe your old stuff could help somebody to become next tech genius? If they are broken, then just take them to your recycling center. They often have special days when you can bring all of your technology gadgets. There is also a way to get rid of your old printer cartridges. Just take them in office supply stores, most of them will accept it and maybe even give you something in return.

Books. No matter how much do you hate some books, there is no reason why it should end up in the landfill. Not only that most libraries, schools and even hospitals will accept literary donations, but you can also try selling it. No matter what you choose to do, it would surely be better than throwing that literary masterpiece in the garbage. If they are in really bad conditions, take them to your recycling center or the closest paper recycling bin.

Fabric. Everything made of fabric that is in good condition can be donated, sold or listed on the free-exchange website. Don’t worry if your old clothes or towels aren’t in outstanding condition, a lot of charity shops will sell unsalvageable items to textile recyclers. You should also consider paying a visit to a local animal shelter as they also accept old blankets, pillows and sheets and transform them into bedding for the animals.

Now when you know what can you do with your old stuff start making some changes in the way you get rid of it, and learn to live with less.

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