---- — April 22 is Earth Day. The observance of Earth Day has come a long way from what it was when the celebration started many years ago. Nowadays the ritual of spring cleaning and taking care of our Earth go hand in hand. As you work to brighten your home, think of all the ways you can get rid of things you don’t want without putting them in a garbage bag headed for a landfill. Your carbon footprint (how much garbage you make) should be as minimal as possible. My family of five has about a bag and a half of garbage a week. That’s because we employ many tactics for reducing, reusing and recycling objects that we no longer need. Besides garage sales and Goodwill, here are some ideas for ways to clean up your home without “dirtying” the environment by throwing unwanted items in a landfill.
Toys: This is a big one in many households. If the toy is still in good shape, donate appropriate age items to church nurseries, daycare centers, preschools (especially if they are learning toys), homeless shelters, shelters for victims of domestic violence and children’s hospitals (like Riley or Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital). Even if a toy is not working, it might be able to be fixed before donation.
Linens: Old blankets, towels and sheets can be warmth for more than you think. Good items can be donated to homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, Red Cross collections for emergency victims and drug recovery homes. If the linens are a bit worn they can still make excellent bedding for animals in shelters, or even inside your own dog house or other animal cage. Linens in bad shape can be cut apart and used for rags around the house. This can save a lot of paper towels, and some fabrics — flannel for dusting or sheets for windows — are super for specific jobs.
Magazines and catalogs: Old magazines and catalogs can still have use. Donate them to a school for use in projects where the students need pictures. Doctor’s office or hospital waiting rooms can also be a great place to donate magazines you are finished reading. Nursing homes or senior centers are also options, especially if any of the magazines are large print. Even if you don’t donate, you can recycle these at schools and churches where many have Abitibi paper recycling bins. This gives money to the organization for all the papers they collect.
Sports Equipment: Many sports items such as balls (all kinds), bats, jump ropes, skates, scooters and even corn hole games can be donated to schools to be used for recess or gym. Boys and Girls Clubs, daycares, camps and churches also will take equipment.
Pet Products: Pet shelters are always happy to take old leashes, collars, food bowls and toys that your pet no longer needs or uses. Consider donating a bag of food or cat litter as well if you are taking items for donation. Frankfort and Indianapolis are close shelters to our area. If you contact the Boone County animal shelter, they also will take donations and distribute them to the homes where animals are currently being fostered.
Clothing and shoes: Clothing and shoes can be taken to area shelters for homeless or domestic violence victims. The Red Cross will also take donations if there has been a major disaster in the area. Many schools and preschools will take children’s clothing for accidents that may occur at school. Shoes can also be collected for organizations like Heart and Sole. Some churches also collect clothing for mission projects.
Of course, the standard recycling of all glass, tin, plastic, cardboard and metal can be done at a recycling center like the one on Lafayette Avenue in Lebanon. Used metal and appliances as well as soda cans can be sold at a scrap metal company. Old oil and batteries can be taken to automotive centers for recycling.
Generally speaking, there are very few things that can’t be either reused or recycled. So give the Earth a chance and do your part to clean your home and environment at the same time.