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Recycling for a Cause

Earth day had me thinking a lot about the waste generated/collected in our small house.  Then I started obsessing over spring cleaning.  Now I have notes scattered throughout the house about the Plastic Roundups, the Neighborhood Hazardous Waste Roundup, and various other close to home dumping events. But wouldn't it be nice if it was all taken care of for us? A mama wonders:

I like helping people.  I hate waste.  I hate feeding bottles into a machine.  I like tax deductions.  These things seem like they all naturally add up to charitable donations of recyclable bottles and cans.  This has been harder to find than I expected.  Does anyone know of a school, scout troop, homeless shelter, who will come to my house, take my recyclables, and give me a receipt?  Bonus points for a group that does it on a regular basis (i.e. they call me every month or two and say "it's time...").

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I've been meaning to spread the word about this cool thing called Virtual Warehouse that has just started up. Essentially it connects stuff donors to stuff needers to make a good match. Also, I think the ARC comes to your house.

Virtual Warehouse: http://www.donorsresource.org/
The ARC of Mult Cty: http://www.thearcmult.org/

You can also donate to the Vietnam Veterans of America. They pick up at your house when you want them to and you can schedule a regular, routine time with them.

http://www.clothingdonations.org/service.htm

If I find myself with a large amount of cans or bottles (or boxes, newspapers, paper towel tubes, etc) that are clean and in good shape, I keep them on hand for my in-home toddler program or I offer them to my daughter's preschool for craft projects galore.

empty cans are great for:

-stilts (think Ramona)
-pencil holders/paper flower vases
-telephones
-maracas
-wind chimes
-building supplies
-submarines and space ships

empty bottles are great for:

-terrariums
-worm farms
-bowling pins
-water toys
-science experiments (put some baking soda and vinegar through a funnel and woo-hoo!)
-tornado in a bottle.

No tax write off, but I love free art supplies!

Cans and bottles I put out for the recycling truck (comes the same day as the garbage truck). The convenience is worth far more to me than scheduling someone to pick these things up when I am home or available and any small amount of $ I could get for traipsing them across town to shove them into a can counter.

To me, as long as I'm recycling the things I can and donating the things I can rather than putting it all into a landfill, I feel good about it.

Now, does anyone know where I can donate electronics? I know of a place for computer disposal (they recycle them to schools if they can and those they can't they dispose of properly for a small fee) but televisions, radios, cell phones and the like, I keep collecting them because I don't want them to end up in the land fill when their parts could be recycled or something. No receipt necessary if a person will do something other than toss them...

Free Geek takes a lot of electronic equipment: http://www.freegeek.org/

The National Coaltion Against Domestic Violence (and several local DV shelters) take cell phones with batteries/chargers. They give them to victims of domestic violence who choose to return home. They are programed only with access to 911 services in the event the victim needs emergency services.
http://www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DonateaPhone_129.html
http://www.ocadsv.com/OCADSV_SheltersAndServices_Map.asp

Donor's Resources emailed us with the following to add a bit more description to what LTF commented

"...We are encouraging people in Oregon and SW Washington to donate items such as household goods, clothing, toys, books, bikes, family entertainment goods to families in need. While it used to be cumbersome to find nonprofits to take goods and items when you want to donate them, now it can be done online through our Virtual Warehouse. So far, we have more than 100 nonprofits registered to use the service, and donors can support particular causes by donating items to them.

When you have time, please visit our site: http://www.donorsresource.org . Donating goods is now online, and it makes giving more fun, faster, and rewarding for donors and nonprofits in Oregon and SW Washington."

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