Don’t Trash It – Ten Ways to Get More Value Out of Things

don't trash it

The growing problem of landfills is a bit too abstract and remote in my mind for it to keep me from throwing things away. And I’ve even climbed one, Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach, now a city park. Far more effective at helping me keep down my personal waste is possibility of throwing away something of value. I might be short-sighted in this area, but losing money now is a stronger motivation for me than the possibility of environmental disaster at some uncertain time in the future.

I never have been one for throwing away things that are still useful, but reading Mongo: Adventures in Trash by Ted Botha made me think even more about the value that still exists in the things I m


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9 Responses to Don’t Trash It – Ten Ways to Get More Value Out of Things

  1. A Marino says:

    This a good article and a timely one at that. I think that for so many years, many of us have been guilty in throwing perfectly good items away. I feel that I’m more conscious of each day when I see a landfill and also hearing about others in need of much needed items.

    Even if you have lumber, or lumber scraps and put it in the front yard with a sign that says FREE, it will be picked up. There are many that have hobbies and sometimes just need a smaller board to complete it. You have saved them from having to go out and purchase unneeded amounts of lumber and you are helping the environment and yourself as well by getting rid of it.

    I have started reusing freezer bags. I figure that is one less piece of plastic that will be thrown in a landfill. There are myriads of ideas out there.

    I also have started cutting out greeting card front pictures and using them as a tag for presents.

    Thank you for the article. The ideas are very useful.

  2. Fern says:

    Freecycle has its merit in keeping things out of the landfill, but it also requires a ‘taker’ to drive, sometimes surprising lengths, to pick a single item up, wasting gas and spewing more carbon dioxide into the air. A lot of people turn freecycle into a game of sorts, trying to see how much free stuff they can accumulate, and whether or not they really ‘need’ it is debatable. Many also resell the stuff for a higher price on ebay, which destroys the real essence of what freecycle is about, IMO. That is, making the concept of sharing and recycling the priority with no emphasis on profit for anyone.

  3. ~Dawn says:

    I would love to compost, but living in an apartment cuts down on what you can do with that.
    And I have a north (non-sun) facing patio so I can’t grow anything. It sucks!!

  4. Ann says:

    Dawn, and those like you, find out if there is somewhere in your area that takes organic waste to compost. They may even pay you for it.

    Those who give things away on freecycle are responsible for ensuring what kind of home things go to. As a fervant freecycler, I screen requests carefully, keep a log of those who don’t thank or don’t come. We use the post for things like coupons and bundle like things. Frankly, if it’s something that’s needed, someone would rather drive and get something for free than drive to the store (with all the same effects) and have to pay for it. Or, you could drive it (more driving) to the chairity place, and someone could drive there (more!) and buy it.

    Nonetheless, it sure beats tossing something that’s perfectly good but useless to you.

  5. Adit says:

    Why don’t you try to export to Indonesia or surabaya because many people here make new product from those things…. I am not kidding

    that becomes they job and many that “new product” sold by them to another country

  6. Chuck says:

    FreeCycle has really been a pain when I tried it. Wasted a whole day waiting on people who never showed up or even bothered to Email back that they were no longer interested.

    Second time, I took a different approach. Gathered all my items that I was giving away & put them in the back of my pickup truck. I told the first 4 or 5 responders where the truck would be & at what time. I warned that if they didn’t show up at that time, their items would go to whoever grabbed them first. This worked a lot better, as I was done in ten minutes.

    Of course, I received Emails stating that they were sorry they didn’t make it, and was that old computer or whatever available.

  7. Kathy says:

    Great article! I once gutted out some old stereo speakers and made a small two shelf “bookcase.”

  8. Anita says:

    Dawn, there are ways for apartment dwellers to compost using worms. Chris (Apt*) does it. Check her out on my blogroll.

  9. Max says:

    Dear Shannon:

    Some time ago, I heard about a NY website that posts real time info on items seen in NYC curbside trash. The purpose of the site was so that interested people could go and see if they wanted to take the items or not before the Sanitation workers got to them. I’ve been searching around, but have not been able to find that site. Would you happen to know the site I’m referring to, and it’s web address? We have an old living room set we’re about to toss out, grungy but still usable if cleaned up, that I’d like to post there…

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