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.
- The Clothesline at Elijah's Promise, 90 Jersey Ave., New Brunswick: Located at the rear of the Puerto Rican Action Board's warehouse, the Clothesline collects gently used clothing in men, women and children's sizes. It it open from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- 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Electronics, Computers, Cellphones: Even though that old computer and last year's iPhone seem outdated, there are plenty of people who could put them to good use.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.
- The New Brunswick Department of Public Works accepts paint on the second Saturday of the month at their 400 Jersey Ave. location in New Brunswick. Paint cans, spray paint, varnish, lacquer, and paint thinner are all accepted, but must be labeled.
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 will hold a paper shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon on July 26 at New Brunswick High School, 1000 Somerset St. The full list of scheduled paper shredding events in Middlesex County can be viewed 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.
- New Brunswick's Public Works Department provides curbside pickup of mixed paper and cardboard products to be recycled. Paper must be placed in the city-provided recycling bins, and cardboard must be flattened and tied. Both are picked up every other Monday in collection zone one and every other Tuesday in collection zone two. To view the schedule, 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 New Brunswick, place them in a recycling bin (not in a bag), with the bottle tops removed. Glass and plastic are picked up every other Monday in collection zone 1 and every other Tuesday in collection zone 2. To view the schedule, click here.
What did we miss? Tell us where you're recycling, reselling and donating your gently used items.