10 Things to Donate, Not Toss
Why Donate? Recycling is a great why to keep materials out of the trash, but it should never be the only option, as recycling is still an energy-intensive process. If an item is still usable, someone should use it! When you donate unwanted goods, valuable resources are put in the hands of those who need them.
- Furniture – If you’ve ever moved or just like redecorating, you probably have unwanted furniture taking up space in your garage. Give that furniture to a disadvantaged family through the Salvation Army or a local non-profit like Off the Floor Pittsburgh.
- Bicycles – Even if your old bike is in need of a little TLC, there is someone out there who could benefit from it, especially individuals with limited access to vehicles or public transportation or kids who otherwise would not be able to afford one. All over the world there are thousands or organizations collecting and distributing bikes to those in need.
- Skateboard parts and accessories – Similar to bikes, your old skateboard could could be donating to a child in need. Trash to Thrash is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit that collects and repairs old skateboard and then teaching local youth how to safely skateboard.
- Medical Supplies – There are a number of non-profits looking for usable medical supplies such as crutches, walkers, and more, to be donated to low income families or developing nations. In western Pennsylvania, for example, Global Links and Brother’s Brother Foundation are doing just this!
- Pet Supplies – There is a good chance that any and all pet supplies would be accepted by your local animal shelter. Many shelters are also in need of household items such as blankets, towels, or shower curtain liners. Try calling your local shelter to find out what the biggest needs are and keep them in mind next time you’re de-cluttering.
- Art Supplies – From old paint brushes to the half empty bottle of paint, your old supplies could have a new life through the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. Not in the Pittsburgh are? Not to worry! Check with your local schools and education programs to learn more about their current needs.
- Beer Bottles – Okay, when you “donate” your beer bottles they don’t go to a charitable organization, but they are reused! When you purchase 16-ounce returnable “Pounders” from Straub Beer, you can take the bottle right back to Straub to be used again. Located in St. Marys, PA, Straub Beer is the last remaining brewery in the United States to offer this service.
- Child Car Seats – In order to meet current safety regulations, car seats cannot often be donated to families in need. Target has partnered TerraCycle to collect and responsibly dispose of unsafe (damaged or outdated) car seats. While this service does not directly reuse the car seats, TerraCycle has confirmed that fabric that is salvaged and reused whenever possible while all other parts are recycled.
- Eyeglasses – For many individuals, vision impairment is a major road block to obtaining an education and career. Lions Clubs across the country are collecting, cleaning, sorting, and redistributing unwanted glasses to be donated to low income families.
- Tools – Most tools are build to last, but you may no longer need it or end up with more tools in your box than you intended. Luckily, your local Habitat for Humanity can likely do you a favor and take those unwanted tools off your hands.
Do you have a usable product that you no longer want? Before you toss it consider your local non-profits, charitable organizations, and churches. For help finding a charity to donate to, check out DonationTown.org. Chances are, there is a home out there for your item and it’s not the garbage!