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A Spring Recycling How-To: Cleaning Your Home and Yard the Environmentally Friendly Way

- Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fibrex GroupThough some places around the U.S. are still suffering the last angry outburst of winter, most are already enjoying the warm sunshine and bright colors of spring. However, before you can truly enjoy the nice weather, you need to finish your dreaded spring cleaning. In years past, you may have toiled weekend after weekend to scour your home of winter dust and grime and declutter your favorite spaces ― but this year will be different. Using the following eco-friendly tips, you can recycle your way to a cleaner home in no time.

Big Belongings

Tables covered with old mail and dirty clothes all over your floor seems to make your home look cluttered, but actually, too many big items in and around your home take up more space. For example, if you have three sofas in one room, something is probably amiss. Besides spare furniture, other large items you might no longer have need for include extra appliances, moldering boats and cars, and outdated electronics. By ridding your home of a smaller number of larger items, you can start feeling fresher, sooner. Here’s how:

Recycle

Large items tend to be composed of hundreds of smaller parts, and not everything inside is recyclable. Because municipal recycling centers are rarely equipped to dismantle large items themselves, you should avoid putting these items out for pick-up without putting in a little work. Using online guides for reference ― and using essential safety gear, like goggles ― you can take apart your large items and reclaim materials that can be placed into your recycling bin, like aluminum, glass, and certain plastics.

Alternatively, you can contact organizations that have the knowledge, skills, and equipment necessary to retrieve recyclable materials from larger items. This might mean hauling your items to scrapyards, junkyards, or other drop-off locations. Often, these groups will pay you for your item, since they will sell the recyclable materials to manufacturers.

Donate

If your items are in good repair, you might consider reusing before recycling ― or donating before dismantling. Many organizations are eager for large items like furniture to place in homes or like old vehicles and boats to sell for cash to help charitable causes. Often, charities are more than willing to pick up your contributions, and sometimes, groups will assess your donations and provide receipts good for sizeable tax deductions.

Small Stuff

Refrigerators and freezers stuffed with food you won’t eat, closets bursting with clothing you don’t want, and other storage spaces (and non-storage spaces) that are covered with stuff are ripe for some spring cleaning. More of the clutter strewn around your home is recyclable or reusable, which means you can get rid of it in an economical and environmentally friendly way. Consider the following cleaning tactics:

Recycle

By now, you should know what items you can toss in your recycling bin, and if you don’t, you should be able to find out using your city’s recycling website. Typical recyclables include paper, glass, aluminum, and most plastics. However, you might also be able to recycle things like plastic shopping bags, clothing from artificial materials (like nylon and rayon), fizzed lightbulbs, paint, tires, and more by contacting local organizations.

Compost

All food is biodegradable, which means instead of sending it away to a landfill, you can reuse it to make your garden look great. Composting is incredibly easy; in fact, you can start right now if you have a large container, some soil, and the right foods. You can even put yard trash into your compost pile, but tough branches and sticks might take longer to decompose. With diligent care, your compost pile will produce wonderfully nutritious fertilizer for your garden ― just in time for spring.

Repurpose

You don’t have to be crafty to succeed at upcycling old items ― but it certainly helps to have a hot glue gun and some paint brushes. You can find hundreds of websites helping you reimagine your old trash as invaluable new treasures. However, you should try to avoid holding onto useless stuff in the hopes of one day completing a repurposing project; that’s just procrastination. When it comes to repurposing, complete the projects immediately or get rid of the items.

Donate

Finally, as with your big belongings, if your small stuff is in good condition, you might consider donating it to those in need. The closer you can get your donations to the people who will use them, the better; therefore, instead of dropping everything off at a thrift shop, you might consider giving books and toys to the children’s hospital, clothing and bedding to a homeless shelter, and food to a soup kitchen. Then, no one will waste time or resources doing what’s right.

*Contributed by Jenn French