Spring is in the air and you’re probably elbows deep in natural cleaning products. If you’re anything like me, spring cleaning is closely followed by spring de-cluttering. It’s a great time to create more space by getting rid of stuff that you and the kids have outgrown or just don’t need any more.
But before you throw it out, there may be somewhere that you can donate it to. It might not be useful to you any more, but someone else could need that very thing. Recycle, rehome, reuse and keep it out of the rubbish tip. You’ll also be helping those in need.
You may be surprised by how many household and personal items you can actually donate, instead of throwing into landfill. We just don’t hear about it enough. But when we do see a widely publicised campaign, for example the Planet Ark printer cartridge recycling campaign that has kept over 28 million cartridges or 12,000 tonnes out of landfill, we know we can really make a difference. Imagine if every household donated just one bag of unwanted goods each year instead of throwing it away?
Here’s a our top ideas for common unwanted items that can be recycled, and the companies that take them.
Kids grow out of shoes so fast. Good thing there are plenty of organisations rehoming perfectly useful shoes to those in need.
- You can ‘pair it forward’ to Soles for Souls to various locations in South Australia and in Ramsgate, NSW. So long as they’re not damaged, ripped or have a high heel they will be given to disadvantaged men, women and children.
- MORE (Modular Organic Regenerative Environments) collect athletic shoes to fund their programs in Africa. The not for profit foundation teaches regenerative farming methods to small farmers and villages in West Africa so that they may prosper. It’s made accessible by sending you a collection box to fill with shoes and return to them at no cost to you. A great one to get your school or neighbourhood involved in.
- Shoes for planet earth recycle running shoes to communities in need both local and international. They have drop off points throughout the country and provide some information on how to wash and tie your pre-loved shoes for donation.
- Boots for all help disadvantaged Australian children and adults get involved in sport by providing them with essential sports equipment. They have collection points throughout Victoria.
This is an unusual one. You’d be forgiven for thinking that bras could not be recycled – it’s in the underwear category, after all. But bras don’t come cheap! For many, bras are unobtainable or unaffordable. The Uplift Project collect bras from drop off points around Australia and distribute to disadvantaged women. So if you’ve got a bra in the drawer you don’t wear because it’s not quite the right size or fit, there’s an organization just waiting for it.
If it feels like there’s a new iPhone released every six months, it’s because there is! Many of us don’t feel the need to upgrade this often, but the truth is, electronics aren’t designed to last any more.
- Give Now has compiled a great list of places to donate your unwanted or outdated electrical goods, ranging from printer cartridges to mobile phones, computers, tablets and other ‘e-junk’.
- ARP accept your old mobile phones for donation to a charity of your choice.
- Mobile 4 Charity take your old mobile phones and recycle to the highest environmental standards with proceeds going to a worth charity, schools looking to raise money for projects or corporate partners who support charities. You’ll find a list of charities they support on their website.
Time to upgrade your lenses? Need new frames? HCF will take your old specs in partnership with Lions Recycle for Sight – a program distributing used glasses to poor communities in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. You can read more about the program here.
Kids love learning to play music, but will either grow out of them (literally – child sized instruments are of no use to growing teenagers and young adults) or make room for new interests. If you’re not using that first keyboard or violin, there are some great charities such as the Sounds Like Welcome initiative by Welcome to Australia and Music for Refugees providing musical instruments to refugees in immigration detention centres or on humanitarian visas.
Items for babies such as cots and prams have to be built to some pretty high standards to be acceptable in Australia. So by the time you’ve had your last child, your pram is probably still in great condition. St Kilda Mums in Melbourne re-home new and pre-loved baby gear and nursery equipment to families in need. There are a number of small, local organisations around the country so if you’re not in Melbourne, be sure to do a search on Give Now or ask around in your local community.
Kids Toys and Books
Your local St Vinnies, Salvos, Savers or most op shops will welcome any books and toys that are in working order and have not been chewed! Also, think about any local businesses that have a children’s corner in their waiting room. Donated toys have probably kept your kids occupied (and kept you sane) for hours in doctor’s surgeries – many businesses will be grateful for your donation of pre-loved toys.
Can you think of any other household items that can be reused and recycled? Share your ideas below!
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