Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose — Some Helpful Resources
by Mary Connor
Make a Commitment to Take Your Efforts One Step Further
Aside from the weekly recycling-blue-can-to-the-curb, how much do we know about where to recycle consumer items? With the busy lives we lead, thinking beyond the weekly pick-up isn’t generally a priority, but perhaps it’s time to take things further and rethink what we can do to help our environment.
Why Is That Thing at the Curb?
A trip through my neighborhood on trash collection day is often times very discouraging. I see curbside discards that include everything from mattresses to coffee tables to sofas to lamps, and I think, “Where are the guys in those pickup trucks that scour the streets for items they can sell at used furniture stores or flea markets or wherever they wind up going?”
… Ahh, those lucky, rescued items have escaped the dreaded landfill (hopefully).
Friends of mine recently told me that they were remodeling their home and had purchased new furniture, but added that they were disappointed that they could not find a place that would take their old furniture. Having experienced a similar situation when preparing my mother’s house for sale, I was lucky enough to find an estate dealer who came in and bought all contents for a less-than-appealing lump sum — but, nonetheless it was all taken and none dumped, at least to my knowledge.
Hat’s Off to Cherry Hill for Leading the Charge!
Cherry Hill has a very robust recycling program. Guidelines are listed on the website for various materials handled by the township. The Department of Works collects appliances, metal items, automotive items, CFL bulbs and fluorescent lamps, rechargeable batteries and cell phones. In accordance with the State of New Jersey Electronics Waste Management Act (effective January 2011), electronics, TVs, computers, etc. cannot be placed curbside. “E-waste” can be taken to Cherry Hill’s recycling center at the DPW complex, 1 Perina Blvd. The Dept. of Public Works can answer specific questions — call 856-424-4422.
But, We All NEED to Do More!
However, not all items are recycled by Cherry Hill Township. So, who is out there to take these things and where can you find them? I did a little research and here are some resources to consider BEFORE you drag it to the curb. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s a tax deduction for you (see donation guides at Salvation Army and Goodwill links below.)
Free neighborhood programs — Facebook has two groups — Buy Nothing Cherry Hill (East), NJ and Buy Nothing Cherry Hill (West), NJ — you need to join this online group in order to post what you want to unload or what you’re looking to acquire. Items are FREE — no selling on this group site.
Habitat for Humanity – Burlco Restore — (free pick-up) sofas, recliners, living room tables, dining room sets, bookcases, bed frames, and more — items must be in relatively good shape.
Vietnam Vets – Schedule a Pickup – (free pick-up) — no large items such as furniture, but they take clothes, small furnishings, appliances, books, etc.
Mom’s Organic Market – Recycling Center — these guys take the guess work out of what you can recycle (small scale). The store is located on Kings Highway in Cherry Hill. At the exit, you’ll see a well-marked recycling center, including bar wrappers, batteries, Brita filters, cell phones, compost, drink pouches, food squeeze pouches, glasses (eye), health and beauty packaging, natural cork, plastic, shoes, and snack bags. During their annual drive, Mom’s also collects holiday lights and denim. I’m going to make a bag for each one of these at home so I can take them to Mom’s!
Mom’s Recycling Center (image: C. Kaufman)
Recycling NJ — great resource for other types of items that can be recycled plus links to organizations that do the recycling. Some pay CASH!
- Auto Fluids
- Building Materials
- Car Batteries
- Cell Phones
- Light Bulbs – Compact Fluorescent
- Motor Oil
- Printer Cartridges
Renovation Angel — for higher-end cabinetry and furniture, this non-profit group will come in and remove all existing cabinets, appliances and furniture (instead of a complete demo prior to remodel). You save on cost of demo and take a tax deduction. These second-hand items, which are in great condition, are then sold to consumers wanting quality at a discount at sister organization, Green Demolitions.
Terracycle — this is a comprehensive recycling program, which deserves its own blog post; more to come later. (From website) TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.” Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste. We partner with individual collectors such as yourself, as well as major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, and small businesses across 20 different countries. With your help, we are able to divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month.
Let’s challenge ourselves to recycle/reuse/repurpose more. Be proactive about rethinking the way we dispose of things. Afterall, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Mary Connor, LEED Green Associate, is a principal at 21GO Communications, a multimedia marketing-communications firm.