Instead of focusing on all the bullshit in the world, I’ve chosen to write something good about what we can do today to be helpful. Because you know what? Trump is just trying to distract us from the healthcare issues by making ridiculous claims to keep us focused on less important issues. There is literally no way trans* people won’t be allowed to serve, that just won’t happen. So today, let’s talk about a few things you may have in your home, that you’re not quite sure what to do with.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, throw old clothing away. It doesn’t matter how ripped or stained it may be. According to David Freeman’s article, “Why You Should NEVER Throw Clothes In The Trash,” they [clothing and textiles] release landfill gas, a toxic brew of air pollutants that includes the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. This is the 3rd largest source of methane emissions in the world. So what should you do instead?
- Salvage it! Make rags, use them as paint drop cloths, or animal towels, be resourceful and keep them as long as possible
- Donate it! Could be anything from your trousers to your undergarments, if they’re in decent condition donate it to any trusted secondhand shop. And every donation you get can go on your taxes. Bonus!
- Recycle it! Eileen Fisher, H&M, The North Face and Patagonia are among the companies that have some sort of recycling program for textiles.
I feel like such an idiot for doing this, but back when my mom was going through menopause, we cleaned out her feminine products drawer and literally threw out a bunch of tampons that were too large of a size than what I used. But what we should have done is donate them to either the nearest women’s shelter or homeless shelter. Feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads, panty liners, and diva cups are all in high demand. You can either bring them directly to a center, or mail them a care package. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Also in this category are items such as deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and q-tips. If you perhaps cleaned out one of your bathroom closets and realized that you don’t use this shampoo anymore, or you’ll never use this soap, these items are all perfect to be donated as well. Half-used? That’s okay. Why should these go in a landfill when someone can use them?
Ipsy is a subscription based beauty program that allows customers to get a selection of beauty products for $10/month. They come in cute little bags, and if you’ve been subscribed for a longer time, you end up with a huge stack of Ipsy bags an nothing to do with them. So before you toss them consider donating them! Women’s shelters use them to make discreet packaging for feminine hygiene products! If you like them and want to keep them here’s 5 things you could use them for today:
- A wallet or small purse
- An electronics/cord holder
- Travel make-up bag
- Mini sewing kit/repair kit
- First-aid kit
You can’t throw your electronics in the trash, or at least you shouldn’t. Computers can be broken down into different parts and donated to science! Not only that but donating an old computer allows some companies to refresh them and donate them to schools. That old mobile phone? You can use it as a gaming device, an alarm clock, a music player, or even a camera. Things like old gaming systems can be sold through Craigslist to someone who perhaps really wants it! If you don’t want to go through all the hassle of these options use the website Earth911 to help you find recycling facilities near you.
The passing of a pet is difficult, but all those items you have can serve a higher purpose. Local animal shelters are constantly in need of items, and if yours is no longer using them donate them. Here’s literally just a list of things you can donate:
- Treats and Food — Most animal shelters money goes towards feeding animals
- Towels and Blankets — The bottom of kennels get messy, and old towels and blankets are great liners as opposed to newspaper which has to be thrown away, they’re also great for snuggling in
- Carriers — Animals at shelters need to be transported to the vet and other areas, like for local adoption events, so clean that old carrier and bring it in
- Litter boxes and Litter — Kittens and kitties gotta go potty, and these boxes are in short demand, and even half-used litter is still usable
- Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes — These are pretty self-explanatory, and even if your pet is still alive, if they’ve outgrown their baby sizes, donate those!
- Toys — If the toy is still in decent shape, or maybe it isn’t, these little rascals destroy toys like it’s their job
- Flea and Tick Treatment — Extra doses, or brand new boxes are great so the animals can frolic outside without the risk of lyme’s disease
If you don’t already have a stockpile of recyclable totes in your trunk, please do so. Plastic waste in general is killing our environment, and plastic bags can be altogether avoided. But if you’re like me, I do need to use them. They’re great for cleaning out my kitten’s litter box, bringing lunch to work, lining my bathroom’s trash can, cleaning up dog poop, and helping to hold my hair dye. If you have them, use them. If you don’t want them you can recycle them, places like Festival Foods even have large plastic bag donation areas. St Vinny’s uses bags that donations come in for products leaving. Animal shelters can use them for a multitude of purposes. Please, just find a purpose for these bags.
Whether they’re from a restaurant that you own or something you made, leftovers can be donated to shelters all over. Especially restaurants! Whether you donate it or sell it at a huge discount, it will allow those in need to eat the food that is otherwise getting thrown in the trash. On top of that farm animals are a great way to use your leftovers as well. Believe it or not, but Joseph Erbentraut writes in his article, “Farm Animals Actually Eat People’s Leftovers — And It’s Good For The Planet,””Leftovers such as kitchen scraps and plate waste are collected, treated and processed into an oat-like consistency, then are fed to livestock such as pigs and cows. Even zoo animals can benefit from this type of feed.” This practice fell out of popularity in the 1980s, but is making a huge comeback and for good reason. Food waste is also among one of the highest contributors to methane gas pollution.
I hope these inspired some of you to do some summer cleaning! We may not be able to change our government, but we sure as hell can make a difference for our environment. I am sick and tired of watching the world go to trash. You know what the best thing you can do for this planet is? Use things longer. It’s as simple as that. Let’s get smarter, greener, and savvier for the sake of the air we breath. If you have any tips for using items longer, please share them in the comments below!