Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less.
Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle.
That's why our editors have spent the summer investigating the state of waste management in our country, and putting together information for you, our Co-op America members, explaining how we can get serious about the three R's – reducing, reusing, and recycling. Supporting members of Co-op America can expect to receive this issue of the Co-op America Quarterly this fall.
If you're not already a supporting member, join us now
to get this special issue mailed to you.
3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women's shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local Freecycle.org
listserv or on Craigslist.org
for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, UsedCardboardBoxes.com
accepts them for resale.
5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. Donate wearable women's business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LmRyZXNzZm9yc3VjY2Vzcy5vcmc=
. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.
10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion's Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.
17. "Technotrash": Project KOPEG
offers an e-waste recycling program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Use Project KOPEG to recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more. Also, easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk's Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK, http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LmdyZWVuZGlzay5jb20=
19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms' yogurt cups. 888/354-7296, www.recycline.com
20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.
21. Stuff you just can't recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly...