Friday, July 11, 2008

A Movement in a Few Parts - The Final Countdown

For those of you following our move (and more importantly our quest to avoid the landfill by creatively disposing of belongings we don't want to cart 3,000 miles...again), we are days away from the arrival of the moving truck.

It should be noted that due to both environmental and budgetary concerns, we have also tried to consume as little space as possible on a carbon emitting moving truck. After some research, I found a company that rents smaller spaces on large trailers, and so we were able to rent the smallest size - 6 x 8 x 9 - further emphasizing the need for "net reduction".

So we've had our moving sale, we've made a few trips to Goodwill, and we've swapped our books, but what about the X-Box player that doesn't work, or the CDs that have long ago been burned into our Itunes library? We don't have room for them in our precious square of truck space, and we still don't want to hit that dumpster.

There are two resources that I have been using constantly to find lists to aid me in my quest. The first is Earth 911's recycling locator. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am a contributor to Earth 911). The locator allows you to find places to recycle anything from fluorescent bulbs(don't throw these in the garbage - they contain a tiny bit of mercury and can be recycled at all Ikea stores among other places) to old phone books just by entering in your zip code. It is one of the most comprehensive databases out there.

The second resource that I often use is a blog by Coop America titled "21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Recycle" with links to recycling agencies for everything from CD jewel cases to appliances.

Here are a few tough-to-recycle items we recycled using the suggestions from the list (and a little creative thinking too!):

Beanie Babies - No idea where these came from. I know they are not mine, and my husband is also pleading ignorance. No matter, we plan to sell them on Ebay. Craig's List is also a good (and free!) place to post items for sale.

Broken X-Box, Stereo, and Speakers - Used Earth 911's recycling locator to find a place to recycle these. Some electronics stores like Best Buy have recycling "events", which are days when all broken eletronica will be accepted for recycling.

Technotrash - In our case, this included CD jewel cases, various chargers, music and VHS tapes, and an old cell phone (cell phones are incredibly easy to recycle as well as useful for someone else - Collective Good refurbishes cell phones and sells it for use in a developing country: 770/856-9021. Call to Protect gives cell phones to victims of domestic violence. For a fee of $30, Greendisk will send you a box that you can fill with up to 70 pounds of technotrash - totally worth it.

Televisions - We were able to sell both of our sets, but with the switch to digital slated for later this year, there will be a lot of people interested in upgrading their sets. Televisions can contain up to eight pounds of lead, and some municipalities have already banned them from the landfill. Start with Earth 911's recycling locator again, and look for a subsequent blog with complete details on what to do with your old television!

Old Athletic Sneakers - When you are a size 12 (yes, dainty me), these add up quickly when you are talking about cubic feet in the landfill! Luckily, Nike will take back all old athletic sneakers and will recycle them into Nike grind, used to make playground and other sports surfaces.

CDs - We found a CD store that bought used CDs and sold them - I guess this confirms that my husband has good taste in music. Those that were rejected were listed and swapped at You can do the same with DVDs at

Books - Paperback Swap! For more on their services, check out the previous blog.

Lightly Used Litter Boxes and Cat Toys - These went to our local no-kill animal shelter - we cleaned them of course! Animal shelters are in constant need of supplies.

Batteries - Single Use and Rechargeable - We ordered a recycling kit from Battery Solutions.

If you still find that you have items to dispose of after perusing my blog, Earth 911, and Coop America, then post your goodies at or bring them to a local Goodwill.

Off to load (..tightly!) those 432 cubic feet with all of our worldly possessions.

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