How to Recycle your Clothes, Shoes, Electronics, and More
We have so much stuff. Clothes that don’t fit (either our bodies or the current fashion) any more. Cell phones that don’t work any more. Batteries that won’t charge any more. Shoes that have holes in them. The list goes on.
We don’t want to throw this old stuff away; some of it might even still be good – just not to us. Other items are too harmful to the environment to chuck in the waste bin. We would like to reuse some of it, but cannot figure out how it can reasonably be used (I mean, truly – what do you do with an old smelly running shoe).
The solution? Find other people who can use what you don’t need any more. By giving it away, you can breathe new life into your old stuff.
Here are some places you can donate those hard-to-dispose-of things you probably have lying around:
Gently used shoes can go to Soles 4 Souls, where they are given to victims of disaster, such as the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
Nike has a “reuse-a-shoe” program which accepts not only Nike but all brands of athletic shoes which are recycled into sports surfaces. Visit http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/ to locate the nearest drop-off location.
And used Crocs are perfect for playground padding. Mail them to 1510 Nelson Road, Longmont CO, 80501, and make sure the outside of your box is clearly marked “recycle”.
SolesUnited is affiliated with Crocs and is another place to reputedly recycle your crocs (they recycle the material to make new ones for those who don’t have shoes), however when I visited their website, they currently seemed only to want pledges of money.
E-cycling Central is a great resource for recycling programs across the States.
Whole Foods Market will take your non-recyclable batteries.
Verizon Wireless collects cell phones and equipment (from any service provider, not just Verizon) for the HopeLine project, which uses them as support for victims of domestic abuse.
Send your suits to Dress For Success, which helps disadvantaged women suit up for job interviews, giving them a chance at a better life.
Old prom dresses can be donated to either the Princess Project for the Bay Area or The Glass Slipper Project for the Chicago area, so a girl who can’t afford a dress can still be the belle of the ball.
And if you aren’t too attached to your bridal gown, give it to the Brides Against Breast Cancer Foundation. Here it will be auctioned off, with the proceeds helping breast cancer survivors and patients.
For old maternity clothing, call around to local young parent and teen parent organizations and see who is accepting donations.
Although I was disappointed not to find as many opportunities to donate men’s clothing (a Dress For Success type of program for men would be nice), we need not forget about Goodwill and the Salvation Army for this and any other clothing that doesn’t fit into the above specialty categories.
You may also want to look locally for opportunities to recycle your old duds and help at the same time. Clothing drives held by various community groups and local businesses are always around to be discovered.
The Internet Consumer Recycling Guidecontains many more resources for where to recycle something you probably have in your house but don’t know what to do with.