Earth Day is officially April 22, but let's think about it every week this month.
How can we all be kinder to our planet? Recycle something! Here are things that can be recycled, and several also do good at the same time:
If you're sick of your clothes, trade some with a friend instead of buying new ones. Take the extra second to toss your pop can into a recycling bin and not the garbage. When you buy something, take it home without a bag...or bring your own bag. And, of course, donate unwanted items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Disabled Vets, Lupus Foundation, or any other charitable organization. Some of them will even come and pick it up at your house at no charge.
Do you have some women's business attire that is up-to-date? Consider donating it to Dress for Success. This organization provides 'suitable' clothes for women who need the right outfit for an interview and to start work in a business environment. Some realtor offices accept these donations---visit http://www.dressforsuccess.org/affiliate.aspx?sisid=130&pageid=22 (scroll down for a list of places to bring your business attire to donate). Of course, if you are the person in need of business clothing, give them a call! An assistant will be assigned to help you personally.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (the squiggly ones): Ikea will accept them for recycling, or call your local recycling folks and ask.
You can swap exercise videos through www.videofitness.com
Eyeglasses that are of no use to you can be donated to your local Lions Club, which will get them to people who need them. Some Wal-Marts also have a donation bin for this purpose, or ask at your optician's office.
Foam peanuts - some mailing companies will accept them. Call first, but you will find somewhere that takes them. Or, call the Peanut Hotline (really) at 1-800-828-2214.
Cell phones are always welcome donations at womens' shelters. Be sure to erase all your contact numbers and include the charger. If you don't know of a shelter close to you, there may be a store that has a recycling bin for phones to be dropped off.
Technical gadgets: http://greendisk.com/ will accept your technical gadgets; visit their website for details.
Trophies are a welcome donation to Special Olympics. Sometimes when a trophy is made of real metal and wood, it can be recycled in the 'traditional' way.
Do you have a fairly new formal dress you would be willing to donate? Everafter Gowns provides young ladies with limited income, a chance to obtain a prom dress and accessories free of charge. Check out their website and see what they do: http://www.everaftergowns.org/dropspot/dropspot.html .
Are you thinking about cutting your hair? If the hair cut off would be at least 10" in length, you can donate it to Locks of Love: http://www.locksoflove.org/donate.html where it will be made into wigs for young people age 21 and under. These people may have had cancer treatments, have been burned, or have a medical condition that causes baldness.
Help someone learn to repair bicycles--donate your old bikes to http://fullcyclebikeshop.org/ (this is located in Minneapolis)
Old, clean, towels are always needed at your local animal shelter. They will also take blankets, place mats, newspaper, and food. Detergent and fabric softener is also appreciated.
Wine corks are recycled into shoe soles through http://recork.org/
Get in touch with the company who made your makeup; they may have a recycling program for used-up items. For instance, MAC has a recycling program called 'Back to MAC,' and if you send them six items to be recycled, they will send you a free lipstick. Also, Macy's has drop boxes for you to dispose of old makeup; the containers can be recycled.
Are there old bits and pieces of crayons sitting around your house? Recycle them through http://www.crazycrayons.com/recycle_program.html --This is located in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Nike sponsors a program to accept used tennis shoes at www.nikereuseashoe.com and will donate them to athletes and other people in need of shoes.
Last but not least....Ever wonder what happens to an old computer when it's recycled? Check out this video from Best Buy showing how they recycle old computers (and by the way, they also accept your old TV sets and VCRs-please don't throw them in the garbage):
Besides listing free items on Craigslist, you can also use Freecycle, where people offer and ask for things for free: http://groups.freecycle.org/freecycleMpls/posts/all .
Here's a great website for other sources: http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/greenamerican/articles/21Things.cfm