In our latest issue:

 Amazing & green gifts, easy holiday recipes, plus eco-friendly winter vacations See more >
KIWI magazine

Conquering clutter is one of cleaning’s most satisfying victories. But tossing everything into a landfill isn’t exactly a win for the environment. Here’s what to do with those unwanted items, courtesy of Jennifer Berry from, an environmental website featuring a comprehensive list of recycling resources.

Keep landfills from filling up with electronic waste—the fastest growing type of trash in the U.S—with these programs:

  • buys and recycles a variety of electronics, offering free pickup services nationwide and hundreds of drop-off locations. The company refurbishes unwanted electronics to sell, and customers receive 70 percent of the revenue.
  • offers local drop-off locations to recycle rechargeable batteries (like those found in cell phones and laptops), as well as old cell phones. Metals recovered from the used batteries create new batteries and other products.
 lets you enter your gadget’s info (cell phones, MP3 players, cameras, rechargable batteries, monitors, and laptops) and see the best options—whether it’s reselling, recycling, or donating.
  • features free shipping on a range of gadgets, such as computers and calculators. Enter the gadget’s info, send in your electronics, and get paid for your items.
  • buys working and non-working electronics for cash and then recycles them. For each order, the company plants a tree through the nonprofit American Forests.
  • is a site powered by the Consumer Electronics Association that lists local recycling opportunities and resources for selling your old electronics.
  • is a computer recycling program by Goodwill and Dell that allows you to donate any brand of computer or computer gear at nationwide drop-offs.
  • is a nonprofit that provides libraries and other organizations with technology products, such as donated computers.

Clothing and shoes
According to the EPA, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person each year, says Berry. Local thrift stores and charities are a great place to start, and you can also consider these options:

  • uses worn out shoes to make playground materials and tracks. Drop off old kicks at a local recycling center or mail them in.
  • collects used shoes to send to those in need worldwide; drop shoes off at locations nationwide or mail.
  • is a service of Vietnam Veterans of America that picks up clothes in 30 states to help support programs for vets.
  • helps disadvantaged women get back on their feet by providing professional attire. Donate suits and accessories at drop-off locations nationwide.
  • is part of the American Red Cross and accepts clothing donations for local disaster victims via bins nationwide. You can also schedule a free pickup.
  • has hundreds of nationwide drop-off locations for adult and children’s clothing.

Baby and children’s gear

  • has over 900 locations throughout North America where you can sell or trade used musical instruments.
  • buys outgrown kid gear—such as clothing and highchairs—for cash, and has more than 240 locations nationwide.
  • buys used sports equipment and resells it for a profit—sellers either get cash or can trade for other items.
  • is part of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Foundation, a nonprofit that funds organizations for wounded veterans. They offer free pickup on a multitude of household items in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

Expired medications
Medications are considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), so they’re not suitable for your trashcan, and it’s never okay to flush them, says Berry. You can call your local HHW facility to confirm they take medications, or search for a local facility at Many pharmacies also offer drug take-back programs.

Old paint
There are a few ways to handle your old paint, depending on whether or not it’s still usable. The National Paint and Coating Association suggests donating usable paint to local charities like Habitat for Humanity, church groups, or theater organizations. If it’s dried out, contact your local HHW facility for proper disposal, or search for one at


Caring ...for people and the planet


Subscribe to KIWI! Save more than 50% off the newsstand price.

© 2015 May Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy