Writer's Spring-Greening

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I know it's not quite Spring yet, but it's never too early for "Spring-Greening." That's what I like to call cleaning out my office and finding a home for all those things that shouldn't go into a land fill, or even a recycling bin. Here's how to get rid of some of that stuff you have hanging around...the green way.


Batteries: Some stores (like Ikea, for instance) will take your alkaline batteries for proper disposal. Also, you can recycle rechargeable batteries when they finally kick the bucket. Check out RBRC (http://www.rbrc.org) to find a drop off site near you. They also take old cell phones.

Cell Phones: Other than RBRC (mentioned above), you can take the cell phone back to the place you bought it from. Some companies, such as T-Mobile and Verizon will recycle all brands of used cell phones. If you don't have access to a nearby store, check out Collective Good (http://www.collectivegood.com), and turn your cell donation into cash for your charity of choice!

Computers: So many out-of-date, obsolete monster PCs are unnecessarily sent to land fills, but The Christina Foundation (http://www.cristina.org) will pick up any old-but-working machine for redistribution to someone who can use it. Or, if you go through computers frequently, trade in your semi-oldish computer to recycling programs such as Toshiba (http://www.toshiba.eztradein.com) or HP (http://www.hp.com/united-states/tradein). For dead computers, visit E-cycling Central (http://www.eiae.org).

Fax Machines: Sending faxes online is so much easier! If you've switched to eFax or MyFax, then list your monster space waster at Throwplace (http://www.throwplace.org) and send it in as a donation.

Ink: Did you know that the average printer cartridge can take more than 450 years to decompose? The Funding Factory (http://www.fundingfactory.com) and RecycleFund (http://www.recyclefund.com) will give you cash for empty cartridges, then recycle them! Also, many ink manufacturers and office-supply stores will take them off your hands as well.


Tip: Another good place for getting rid of anything that may not be of use to you, but could help someone else is FreeCycle (http://www.freecycle.org). You can list the things (anything) you want to get rid of and someone will pick it up! And conversely, if you are looking for something, you can browse through their listings and request to take whatever it is off of someone else's hands.



Books: If you're a book junkie like I am, you probably have a lot of books sitting around that are taking up space--especially those ones that you thought would be good, but actually weren't your cup of tea. You can always trade them in at your local used bookstore (or thrift store), or drop them off at the library. There are also a lot of sites to exchange books. Book Mooch (http://www.bookmooch.com) is a good one, and there's also Swap Tree (http://www.swaptree.com), and many others. Do a google search for "Book exchange" and see what you come up with. You can also list unwanted volumes on Book Crossing (http://www.bookcrossing.com), a free service that alerts users to books left in public places. Pretty cool, huh?

Computer CDs, DVDs, jewel cases, VHS tapes: Recycle these through Act Recycling (http://www.actrecycling.org), a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities find work. Also, Green Disk (http://www.greendisk.com) will take any hardware lying around the office (up to 20 pounds of monitors, cords, mice, keyboards etc.) for $6.95

Paperwork: If you're anything like me, I know you have a lot of paper lying around. Clear out your filing cabinet and go digital instead! By going digital and recycling paper, take a look at the resources saved per ton of paper: 17 trees, 275 pounds of sulphur, 350 lbs of limestone, 9,000 lbs of steam, 60,000 gal of water, 225 kilowatt hours, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. Check with your city or local waste management service to find a place for parting with your paper. You can also call 1 (800) CLEANUP for state recycling information.


It's never too late or early to start spring-greening. By de-cluttering your home office, you can simplify your life and get into the writing zone. And it feels good!


InkBridge said...

These are all great tips, Angela.

I wonder, are they the first steps to spring clean the doubtful writer's mind? LOL. If so, I need to get rolling.

justlettingyouknow said...

If want to get more use from your disposable Alkaline batteries before tossing them or dropping them off to recycle, then use a Battery Xtender to extend their life 10+ times more. You can find it at www.BatteryXtender.com

Unknown said...

eCycle Group recycles printer cartridges and cell phones for over 10,000 charities nationwide, including Girl Scout troops, schools, and Goodwill Industries. http://www.eCycleGroup.com

Incidentally, I've never heard of recycling jewel cases and CDs (Act Recycling) - very cool. This will become more relevant as CDs are replaced by digital downloads and flash drives. Thanks for the list!

Moblibar said...

The South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA) today announced a new partnership to promote the recycling of household batteries, cell phones and other universal waste related items such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The SBWMA has joined with IKEA, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and State Assemblymember Ira Ruskin to promote retail take back options for these materials. A press event will be held from 10:30 am to 11:30 am on December 11, 2007 at the IKEA store in East Palo Alto. The SBWMA will also share details on its recently launched curbside recycling collection program for household batteries and cell phones.

"This is a true public private partnership to promote waste reduction and recycling options for certain hazardous materials that are proliferating in the marketplace as consumer electronics and household lighting product sales skyrocket during the holiday season," remarked Kevin McCarthy, Executive Director of the SBWMA. "We want consumers to know that they have convenient options to recycle all the household batteries generated during the holidays and have a green Holiday Season."

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that Americans purchase more than 3 billion batteries annually to power toys, radios, cellular phones, watches, laptop computers, portable power tools, and other home electronics. In California that translates to 288 million batteries purchased each year. Laid end-toend, these batteries would stretch over 9,000 miles or roughly the distance travelled from San Mateo to the North Pole: three times; enough trips to make even Santa tired!

"At IKEA, we believe doing good business means demonstrating environmental responsibility on a global and local level. Here at IKEA East Palo Alto, we offer our customers the opportunity for free in-store recycling of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's), said Jill Matherson, store manager. "The new recycling program from South Bayside Waste Management Authority adds excitement to our existing community recycling efforts and we are glad to be partnering with them to promote local environmental responsibility."

"IKEA and the South Bayside Waste Management Authority are helping their customers do the right thing and be green by taking back cell phones and batteries for recycling instead of throwing them in the trash," remarked Leonard Robinson, Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). "The laws and regulations set rules to protect our environment from the hazardous materials, mostly toxic metals, contained in cell phones and batteries that are no longer of use. This program provides consumers with free and convenient means to recycle every battery and cell phone to protect the environment!"

The Department of Toxic Substances Control will discuss its "Take-It-Back Partnership" at the event. The California Take-It-Back Partnership is a collaboration of State government; city and county government; businesses; non-profit agencies and non-governmental organizations to provide free, local and convenient ways for California residents to recycle everyday household wastes such as batteries, fluorescent lamps and electronic devices that can no longer be disposed in the trash. This partnership provides a way for California residents to assist the California Environmental Protection Agency in its mission to protect public health and the environment.

"California needs programs like these to remove harmful toxics from the waste stream. I commend DTSC, SBWMA, and IKEA for their leadership and commitment to protecting our environment. This curbside program is an important step toward allowing citizens to easily comply with the Universal Waste Law," said Assemblymember Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City. Mr. Ruskin will continue working on legislation to ensure the safe disposal of waste thermostats containing mercury, a highly toxic substance. The legislation will require manufacturers of mercury thermostats, in partnership with retailers and wholesalers, to participate in a take-back program that is safe and convenient for consumers.

On October 1, 2007 the SBWMA launched a new curbside recycling program for household batteries and cell phones. Residents in single-family homes of SBWMA member agencies (i.e., the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos and San Mateo along with unincorporated portions of San Mateo County and the West Bay Sanitary District) can set out household batteries (rechargeable and disposable alkaline types, but no automotive batteries) in a clear plastic bag on top of their mixed paper recycling bin on recycling collection day. Cell phones should be wrapped in paper and placed inside the same clear plastic bag that contains the batteries. Button cells should be taped.

This new curbside recycling program is being funded by the SBWMA. A highly successful pilot program commenced in the City of San Carlos in March 2007 and this new service has been expanded to all member agencies throughout central and southern San Mateo County. Since the program’s inception, approximately 17,200 pounds of batteries and cell phones have been collected.

Source: Moblibar Articles

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