Need to find a new home for old computers, toys your kids have outgrown, or paint you're not going to use? Here is our guide to getting stuff out of your basement and into all the right places—that is, everywhere but the landfill.
Clothing: Cleaning out your closet gives you the opportunity to help others in need or maybe even make some extra cash. Here are a list of places to donate, sell and recycle unwanted items from your wardrobe.
- Goodwill, 415 Route 18, East Brunswick: Goodwill is a nationally recognized name for donations. Gently used clothing, shoes and accessories are accepted. However, children's clothing with draw strings, metal or painted appliques are not accepted, according to the Goodwill website.
Toys: As your children get older and are gifted more toys, they outgrow certain playthings that can benefit less fortunate children. Consider donating to Toys for Tots, or go to www.donationtown.org or repurposenj to find out where you can bring your old toys.
Electronics, Computers, Cellphones: Even though that old computer and last year's iPhone seem outdated, there are plenty of people who could put them to good use. For example, many women’s shelters collect working cellphones for women in domestic abuse situations so they can call 911 if needed, explains HowStuffWorks.com. Here are some other examples of local organizations where you can donate, sell or recycle your used electronics.
- The Middlesex County Department of Solid Waste Management's "E-Cycle" program accepts electronics like phones, televisions, computers and fluorescent light bulbs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month and from noon to 4 p.m. on the third Monday of every month at Sims Recycling Solutions, located at 401 Mill Road (Heller Park Lane) in Edison.
Household Goods: Ever go through your garage and wonder why you have so many flyswatters, toasters and gardening gloves? Consider bartering them online or donating them.
- Better World Cafe, 19 S. Second Ave., Highland Park (First Reformed Church): The Better World Cafe is another project of Elijah's Promise, and provides healthy food in a pay-what-you-can setting. As the cafe is a community kitchen, and not a full for-profit restaurant, it relies on the donations and volunteerism of the community to help keep it going, and often puts out requests for supplies to use in its kitchen. Take a look at the cafe's wish list (located on the top right side of their blog) to see if any of your old household items could have a new life at the cafe.
Paint: It's safe to dry out your leftover latex paint with kitty litter, dump it in the garbage and recycle the can. But, oil-based paints are actually considered hazardous, according to TheDailyGreen.com. Here are some ways you can safely discard the cans of paint taking up space in your garage.
- Old paint can be brought to the East Brunswick Reclaimation Center, located at the corner of Dunhams Corner Road and Church Lane. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Paper Shredding Services: Looking for a way to get rid of old documents but don't want to risk someone seeing your private information? Here are some paper shredding services nearby.
- The Middlesex County Department of Solid Waste Management is scheduled to hold a series of paper shredding events in 2013 for residents to dispose of their documents. View the schedule here.
Newspapers, Magazines and Other Paper: According to environment.about.com, recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy.
- East Brunswick's Public Works Department provides curbside pickup of mixed paper and cardboard products every other week. To view the pickup schedule for each of East Brunswick's 10 districts, click here.
Plastic and glass: According to Earth911.com, recycling one ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space. While it's pretty easy to recycle bottles in town, other plastic items can be tricky. However, many grocery stores offer recycling programs for plastic bags and product wraps. Glass is a very efficient material to recycle, because it takes much less energy and money to recycle the material than to make it from scratch, according to curiosity.discovery.com.
- To recycle your plastic and glass bottles and containers in East Brunswick, rinse and remove the caps and place them in a designated recycling container for curbside pickup. To view the pickup schedule for each of East Brunswick's 10 districts, click here.
What did we miss? Tell us where you're recycling, reselling and donating your gently used items.