Donate, Recycle, or Trash? How to Get Rid of Difficult Items

A crowded garage filled with items for recycling and disposaltrekandshoot / Shutterstock

In recent years, Marie Kondo has introduced to the world the simple pleasure of getting rid of certain things. However, deciding whether or not your content elicits joy is one thing. Choosing what to do with it once it is part of the pile "to get rid of" is another.

Giving things is nice when you imagine the joy that someone else might take away from your old business. However, you do not want to be the person who fills the savings reserves with unnecessary waste that will end up in the landfill. How can you decide what to give, what to recycle and what to throw away?

We believe that the organization must be fun and easy, and not stressful. With these guidelines, you can quickly sort out your most difficult things and get rid of them without feeling guilty. Keep reading to learn how to tidy up!

Decide what to give

Some things are clear candidates for a gift (or even a resale). These include items that are underused, clearly useful and easy to transport to your local savings store.

But other things raise more questions. Here's how to navigate through difficult objects:

Appliances: If your devices still work, you can give them to a local savings store. However, you must first call or look online to make sure that they take this type of device.
bikes: Used bikes are perfect for thrift stores, but your city may also have a library of bikes or a motorcycle program for young people looking for used bikes – try recycling bikes on Google. [your city]Some of these places even renovate broken bikes.
Construction materials: See if there is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area: these second-hand DIY stores also accept appliances, furniture, etc.
Electronic: A local charity in your area could donate your old cell phone or laptop. Otherwise, you will have to recycle them.
Hangers: You can not install old media with your recycling, they are entangled in recycling equipment. Instead, give them to a local savings store or consignment store.
Mattress: If your mattress is in good condition, contact your local savings store to find out if they will take it. If this is not the case, consult our tips for recycling a mattress below.

Most of the time, deciding what to give is quite simple: just find a place near you to take away bulky or unusual items. But if you can not donate, your next step is to try to recycle it.

Recycle responsibly

You may be surprised by all the things you can recycle – here are some ways to give things that you can not give a new life:

Appliances: If you have a device that no longer works or your local savings store does not take it, the dealer from whom you purchased the replacement product will often take the old one for recycling. Contact them to be sure. It is also worth contacting your utility company. Many utility companies will "buy" old appliances to remove inefficient models from the market. Our local utility offers $ 50 for your old refrigerator, for example.
Battery: Some types of batteries are dangerous in the trash. Check in your city for the presence of household hazardous waste treatment facilities where they will be recycled.
Blankets, towels and pillows: If they are not in good enough shape for the second hand store, go to your animal shelter: they may need soft objects so the animals can sleep.
Books: If your books are too damaged to donate, try contacting Franklin Media with the details, they recycle and recycle many stolen books, and could even pay you for your donation.
Broken ceramic: Broken dishes, cups and other ceramic items that can not be donated can end up in the trash – there is usually no way to recycle them. However, you can use them to make art projects such as mosaics. And occasionally, recycling centers that use old building materials like concrete will also use the ceramic.
Clothing: Clothes too worn to donate should not be thrown in the trash. If it has holes, stains or any other serious damage, you can turn it into rags for cleaning the house. But if you just want to lose your old clothes, send them to a recycling service like TerraCycle. Goodwill also sends unsold clothing Textile recyclers, so it's not a terrible focus for your damaged items. Just be careful not to donate wet or moldy clothes, which will go directly to the landfill.
Electronic: Electronic products that can not be donated can be recycled by major retailers, such as Staples and Best Buy. Contact your local stores to see what they are going to take. Some also require a small fee for recycling, but many people prefer to pay for it than to contribute to the landfill. Just make sure you delete all personal information before making a donation.
Furniture: Furniture often contains many recyclable materials. You can offer it for free on a site such as Craigslist for those who like to renovate old objects. Or, you can ask your local recycling centers if they are taking furniture.
bulbs: Surprisingly, old light bulbs are not part of the waste: some contain small amounts of toxic substances. Hardware and DIY stores often offer light bulb recycling (try Lowe's, Home Depot or Ace Hardware). Your city could also offer recycling options.
Mattress: As you can imagine, empty mattresses occupy a considerable place in landfills. As with home appliances, you can see if the dealer from whom you purchased the replacement will take your old mattress and recycle it. If not, consider offering it to an animal shelter with your old bedding, or ask your local recycling center if it takes mattresses.
Sensitive documents: Obviously, you do not want anyone reading your old bank statements or tax documents. You will need to shred these documents when you do not need them anymore, but unfortunately, shredded paper is not always accepted by local recycling programs. Before you throw it away, consider turning it into compost or mulch for your garden. Or, for a fun craft project, try to make paper bricks burn in your fireplace or on a campfire.

To answer your toughest recycling questions, be sure to visit This site is a fantastic resource that tells you where and how to recycle all kinds of difficult items.

Good tactics for the trash

Although you do your best to reduce wasteSometimes throwing things in the trash can not be avoided. Here's what you need to know to get rid of things that are really garbage:

Broken glass: Once the glass is broken, its value as a recyclable product has virtually disappeared. Make sure to put it in a plastic bag before throwing it in the trash so it does not cut any worker.
Mattress: It is notoriously difficult to get rid of old mattresses, and sometimes it is possible that you do not even find someone to make yours. If you must do this, ask your local sanitation department what you need to do to pick up garbage on the curb (the same goes for other large furniture items that you can not recycle).
medications: You can not give old drugs, but you should not throw them in the trash. If it is a potentially harmful or addictive substance, return it to the pharmacy or hospital for it to be disposed of safely. If not, store the old pills in a plastic bag before throwing them in the trash so that they do not spill. Do not forget that any medicine that you put directly in the trash or that you throw in the sewer can end up in the water or the food supply in the future.
To paint: If you can not give your old paint at a savings store or ReStore store near you, you will probably need to go to your local hazardous waste center.
Wet paper: Any wet paper can not be recycled. You will have to use it in your garden or throw it in the trash.

Although you can do your best to reduce waste, it is almost impossible to avoid waste (without taking extreme measures). But if you strive to donate and recycle items appropriately, you will minimize your contribution to the landfill. And when you try to get rid of excess, you find yourself less inclined to buy new things you do not need.

Do you have any other questions about what you can put in your usual recycling? Do not miss this guide!

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