The average person creates 4.5 pounds of garbage every day. But on your annual Spring Cleaning Day, that amount likely triples-or more. This year, why not find new places for your trash instead of landfills? Here are five ideas:
Got mounds of old and broken crayons? (Who doesn’t?) Collect them into a shipping box and send it to the Crazy Crayons Recycling Program, which has recycled 47,000 pounds of crayons since 1993. All crayons are accepted. Mail to: 721 Village Road, Pelican Lake, Wis., 54463. Online: www.crazycrayons.com
Instead of using old towels and blankets as rags to wash your car, donate them to your local animal rescue shelter. They can be reused as bedding or for puppy bathtime. Find the closest shelter to you at www.aspca.org/adoption/shelters
If you’ve completely switched to DVDs but still have old VHS tapes lying around, consider sending them to Alternative Community Training, a non-profit that employs people with disabilities to recycle the videos. First, fill out a donation form online at www.actrecycling.org/donations. Then, ship the tapes to 2200 Burlington St., Columbia, Mo., 65202.
They may seem like a small part of your trash, but more than 25,000 tons of toothbrushes are thrown away every year. Instead of tossing your family’s, send them to Recycline Inc., which reuses the material for plastic lumber in decks and park benches. Print the shipping label at www.preserveproducts.com/recycling. (Note: Recycline cannot accept packages weighing more than 13 ounces.)
When organizing your garage, set aside all unwanted home-improvement materials like paint, scrap wood and tools. These items can be resold by your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to benefit the non-profit, which builds homes for people in need. Find a ReStore at www.habitat.org/env/restore.aspx.
And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, turn one of these ideas into a school or community-wide drive. More recycling means a merrier planet.