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Recycle, Reuse

July 1, 2010

By Jennifer Chaky

I am aware that this is a strange thing for a retailer to say, but we buy too much stuff. Often we buy more clothes than can fit in our closets, backpacks that last only one school year, and umbrellas that last one storm. Maybe with this recession you’ve cut back on what you buy and find that you can get more use out of the stuff you have (or maybe you have always been that way—which is great. Kudos to you! ). But we are generally a “throw-away” nation and we need to think about the resources (natural and human) that it took to make what we buy and throw away.  CPlease watch this short video, The Story of Stuff, to fully understand why our linear system of consumption and disposal will not work).

Putting it on the curb does not make our garbage go away. It comes back to us in the form of water and air pollution. Our trash goes to an incinerator in Newark where it is burned and all the toxic substances within are released into the air.  It is important to try and eliminate what we put out on the curb by buying well-made products that won’t be fit for the trash, and repairing items instead of tossing and buying new. But, when there is something that really must go, here are some resources for places to donate the useful stuff and ways to recycle what is no longer useful:

Craigs List and Freecycle.org are great resources for unloading or picking up anything from clothes, old sports equipment, craft supplies…you name it!

Bicycles: Pedals for Progress will fix up the bike and send it overseas where non-polluting, cheap  transportation is much needed.
They also seed bike repair businesses in these communities to help the local economy. ($10 min. donation to help cover costs of shipping bike
required). 

Electronics: Most towns have designated electronics recycling days. Check with your municipality to dispose of electronics, including computers and components
(keyboards, mice, wires etc.), TVs (no big-screens or consoles), cell phones and telephone equipment, printers, copiers, fax machines, VCRs, CD or DVD players, electronic video games, camcorders, stereo equipment and radios.

Visit aesop.rutgers.edu/~wastemgmt/countylist.html for a helpful list of recycling resources.
Also, most cell phone companies offer buy back programs where you can recycle your phone, possibly even for a credit on your bill.

Furniture: Bric-a-Brac in good condition only: Jewish 800 507 GIVE (4483) or Vietnam Vets at (800) 775-VETS (8387) to arrange pick up.

Cabinets, fireplaces, appliances under 6 years old, building materials like doors and windows, etc.: The Restore in Morris County will accept these. Also a great place to shop when you need such items.

Shoes: Nike accepts athletic shoes only to be turned into playgrounds and sports surfaces. Visit letmeplay.com/reuseashoe/ for mailing
address or drop-off locations.

Beat-up Crocs can be sent to: Crocs, 1510 Nelson Road, Longmont, CO 80501 and clearly mark the outside of the package with “RECYCLE!”

Other gently used shoes can be sent to Sole4Souls at: Soles4Souls, Inc., 619 Old Hickory Blvd., Old Hickory, TN 37138

Pots and Pans: In NYC they actually pick these up with curbside recycling. In NJ, sadly, they don’t. But metal is such an easy and valuable material, don’t let it go to waste. Bring these items to a local Salvation Army or Goodwill.

FavorPals envisions a world without money and is a way for skilled people to connect and barter services.

SwapTree lets you trade books, dvds, and cds—many items are even brand new in the package!

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