Recycle more from your home
It’s time to move or redecorate and you find yourself amidst a pile of unwanted home furnishings. However, adding it all to the landfill pile is no longer an acceptable solution. According to the EPA, the U.S. national recycling rate is 30 percent, and if this number were raised to 60 percent, 315 million barrels of oil would be saved. Recycling at home is now easier than ever, with numerous helpful recycling centers, available programs and creative ways to reuse what you might have just thrown away.
Carpet contains a mixture of materials that is not recyclable until separated, which makes the process rather expensive and time-consuming. CARE (Carpet America Recovery Program) is a nonprofit joint industry-government organization designed to reduce carpet waste in America. Visit www.carpetrecovery.org/waste.php to find a facility that partners with CARE to recycle carpet in your area. If a carpet is still in good condition, Habitat for Humanity will accept it as a donation to help decorate homes for families in need.
Blinds To Go accepts drop-offs of any brand of window blinds and takes them to accepting recycling centers. This program receives an average of 50 donations each week in some of the company’s 107 store locations across the U.S. and Canada. If the blinds are in good condition, Blinds To Go will donate them to World Vision, an organization that will distribute them to families in need around the globe. For more info, visit www.blindstogo.com.
Because of its unique, aged look and historic appeal, antique brick is the latest trendy material used in residential construction for eco-conscious homeowners. Check with an expert to make sure the brick has maintained its integrity before building with it. If you’re demolishing brick walls, sell the used brick to local masonries for resale or to be ground into cement.
411 on mattresses
Health-department laws restrict donating used mattresses to local charities. Forty percent of mattresses end up in landfills, but 90 percent of a mattress is recyclable, and can be made into carpet padding, moving pads, wood mulch and scrap metal. To find a mattress recycler near you, visit www.earth911.org.
Drop off major appliances at a recycling center or have them picked up. As long as they are 50 percent metal or more, you can recycle your microwave, dishwasher, lawn furniture, kitchenware, bicycle, grill, etc.
Old comforters can be stored in the trunk of your car in case of emergencies or used as comfy picnic blankets.
Shower curtains make great drop cloths for paint projects or car-seat covers for transporting dirty items or pets.
Wallpaper is great for paper-mache projects, gift-wrapping and cupboard liners.
- The Home Depot’s “propane exchange”—trade old propane tanks for new ones
- Sharetechnology.org—donate old computers, printers, etc.
- Freecycle.org—connects local homeowners to give and getunwanted items for free
- Paperbackswap.com—share used books (not just paperbacks) with fellow book lovers