Thursday, February 21, 2008

 

Writer's Spring-Greening


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.


ELECTRONICS:

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Computers: So many out-of-date, obsolete monster PCs are unnecessarily sent to land fills, but The Christina Foundation (http://www.cristina.org) will pick up any old-but-working machine for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.

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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.

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MEDIA:

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.

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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!

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