Spring cleaning: an annual tradition that’s at once dreaded and eagerly anticipated.
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with minimizing our lives and getting rid of excess. So here’s an extra bit of motivation to help you get started:
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to get rid of expired or unneeded medicines. But it’s not as simple as tossing them in the trash. Some medicines can be harmful, or even fatal, if ingested by children or animals. Many medicines that find their way into our waterways can harm aquatic life, too.
If your medicine doesn’t give disposal instructions, it’s best to find a drug take-back center. You can drop off any of your unwanted medicines, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Big or small, many older appliances might be hindering your energy conservation efforts. Why not use spring cleaning as an excuse to swap an old model for a more efficient one?
From lightbulbs to toilets to air conditioners, there’s a newer, more efficient model. Energy Star is the program established by the EPA to incentivize the creation of energy efficient products. Their website is a goldmine of information on what you can do to conserve energy at home.
Most general recycling centers don’t have the technology to sort and process plastic bags. Fortunately, many retailers are now providing recycling receptacles specifically for plastic film.
These stations also accept dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, packaging, and more. Click here to find your closest drop-off station, and see the full list of what can go in it.
Thrift stores, shelters, and other non-profits are always looking for donations of clothes, shoes, and other personal items in good shape.
Unfortunately, not all donation centers are created equal. Some popular thrift stores are for-profit businesses with less-than-stellar reputations. You may wish to do some research on an organization before you choose to donate.
Always check in advance to see what items are accepted; different locations have different needs. Many non-profits also have receptacles in public areas. We like this one in California. We also like Career Gear and Dress for Success: two non-profits that help low-income adults prepare for job interviews. Find a local non-profit that speaks to you, and divert more items from the landfill for a good cause.
When you go through the fridge and discover (with shame) the numerous bottles of expired salad dressing, don’t head straight for the trash. See what kinds of crazy ideas you can come up with for repurposing containers first.
So clean out the fridge, bring on the soap and water, and let the crafting commence. The possibilities are endless...unlike those pesky expiration dates.
Cover image: By Caroline South of Scraps of Us
1. Pharmacy image: By Norwex Movement
2. Energy Efficiency: By Electrolux
3. Correctly dispose plastic bags: by Medasset Organization
5. Repurpose: by Decor Diva
The Ocean Cleanup is a project centered around a brand new technology, invented by young Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat. It uses the same natural currents that consolidate garbage into large patches to find and collect the debris, where it's later picked up by barges and recycled. This technology could greatly reduce the amount of pollution that eventually breaks down into microplastics, which have harmful effects that cascade up the food chain.
For Americans who have set intentions and personal goals around reducing impact—by buying eco-friendly products or cutting energy use—the news of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement may be disappointing. But this change has actually inspired many powerful entities to kick their current planet-cleaning efforts into high gear. The trajectory doesn't have to change simply because of a formality. The movement starts with everyday people: buyers and consumers.