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  • Writer's pictureCarol Ann Guarino

The Four R’s

I’m not talking relaxing, rewinding, renewing and rebooting, though a day at the spa would be delightful. I’m talking about repurposing, recycling, reusing and refusing.

Where do you start? Most of us already recycle. If you want specifics as to what you can place in your recycling bin, call your municipality or visit their website for guidelines. You may be surprised by what they will and will not take. There are area locations that take used electronics and wiped computers, there are also recycling centers that will let you drop off paints and chemicals, batteries, lightbulbs, CDs and shredded paper. None of these should be placed in the garbage or regular recycling bin.

As for everything else, donation may an answer. You can donate working small appliances at homeless shelters and Habitat for Humanity will pick up most large appliances for free. Donate used books to libraries and stuffed animals to animal shelters. You can donate furniture, clothes, shoes and there are some donation centers that will accept mattresses (to be sanitized). Vehicles can also be donated, even ones that are not working as they can be broken down for parts.

Then there is reusing. Small jars can be used to store sorted hardware (my grandfather screwed metal jar lids to a piece of wood over his workbench and filled the jars with nails, screws, bolts, and other small hardware). Plastic containers can be used to store non-food items for drawer organization. If you’re crafty, you can repurpose so many things…I have a jewelry set I bought in Germany from an artist made out of repurposed coffee pods (the picture above). Reuse packing boxes for shipping or donate to a friend who’s moving. Check out Pinterest for ideas. Think before you toss.

Lastly, there is simply refusing. Weigh your purchases…do you need it or want it? Is it worth the space it will take up? Maybe less IS more.

Some sources: Link to Raleigh waste services and collection centers in the area. A local compost company, they drop off bins weekly, you fill them and can earn compost. Scrap metal recycling center. An awesome non-profit for household goods and furniture donations. Link to Habitat ReStore donation page. Has pick-up service for donated clothes and accepted household goods. Donate gently used woman’s professional attire. Donate gently used (or new) clothes and shoes for school-age children in need. Artist studio in Durham that takes ALL kinds of donated items to reuse in art projects.

The list can go on….check your local area for additional donation, recycling spots.

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