Toss That Old Garden Hose

garden hose

With summer finally here, many of us are realizing that our garden hoses are cracked, broken or leaky and need to be replaced. Although you might think garden hoses are recyclable because they’re made out of plastic, they actually need to be put in the garbage.

Garden hoses are one of the most dangerous items to accidentally toss in your recycling. Why? They are long, unruly and can wrap around sorting machinery. This not only damages the machinery, but it also endangers the workers who have to try to untangle them. Toss them in the trash, or, if you’re feeling creative, check out these ideas in the Recycling Guide for repurposing them.

When replacing your garden hose, opt for polyurethane (PU) or natural rubber hoses over PVC hoses. PU hoses can also withstand cold weather and high pressure better than PVC hoses do. Also, they are more eco-friendly because they do not contain chemicals that can leach into the environment.

How to Keep Your Old Clothes Out of the Landfill

clothing

If everyone in the U.S. kept their clothing and textiles out of the landfill for one year, it would save the equivalent of nearly 31 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That’s the same as taking all the cars in Los Angeles off the road for a year. So how can you do it? Here are your options:

Sell

Are your unwanted clothes still valuable? For-profit secondhand stores are a quick and easy way to cash in. There are also a host of websites and applications that will help you sell or swap your old threads with just a few clicks on your smartphone, including eBaythredUPswap.comPoshmark and Tradesy.

Donate

If you think your clothes may not be new enough to sell, donating locally is an easy way to give your wardrobe future use. Check whether an organization takes only gently used items or items in any condition—they can easily be a one stop shop for all your old clothes. You have two choices when it comes to donating garments:

Non-profit organizations raise money for charitable causes. Goodwill, for example, uses the revenue from sales of donated clothing to fund job training programs for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Another benefit of this option is that your donation may be tax deductible. Goodwill has a PDF guide to help you estimate the value of your donation. Other national charities that accept clothing donations include The Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Vietnam Veterans of America and PlanetAid. If you want to know more about an organization before you donate, look it up on CharityWatch or Charity Navigator.

For-profit companies may or may not donate a portion of their profits. ThredUp will donate $5 to a charity of your choice when you donate old clothing to them. Some clothing retailers such as H&M, Levi Strauss & Co. and The North Face encourage customers to bring back old clothes from any brand to their retail locations, so they can be reused or recycled. There are also companies that use clothing collection bins, such as USAgain. These recycling companies have stirred up some controversy because consumers often assume their donations will benefit the needy. However, the clothing is often sold internationally, and only a small portion of sales, if any, fund charitable causes. Other for-profit clothing collectors include Savers, Community Recycling and American Textile Recycling Service.

Recycle — But Not at the Curb

Sometimes clothes get stained, ripped or just plain worn out, and they can’t be sold or donated. If your unwanted garments can’t be worn again, you can still keep them out of the landfill by recycling them. However, you can’t recycle them curbside. Why? They get tangled up in recycling machinery and damage it. But you can still recycle them. Here’s how:

Give clothes in poor condition to organizations that have direct relationships with textile recyclers. Some major clothing recyclers include Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Savers, Blue Jeans Go GreenAmerican Textile Recycling Service and USAgain. Many organizations that accept clothing for resale will also recycle clothes that are torn, stained or worn.

Remember to Reduce

Another way you can help keep clothes out of the landfill is to consider buying secondhand. Many times secondhand clothes are new and unworn. The more we reduce our consumption in the first place, the less material we’re responsible for recycling.

Reduce Your Junk Mail in 5 Minutes

junk mail

Junk mail may seem like just a nuisance cluttering up your mailbox, but all those catalogs and ads take a toll on the environment. More than 100 million trees are cut down each year to make all junk mail in the U.S., and junk mail’s annual carbon footprint is equal to the greenhouse gases released while heating 13 million homes during the winter, according to nonprofit ForestEthics. You may think you don’t have time to tackle that pile of credit card offers and coupons on the kitchen table, but here are two simple ways you can cut down on the bulk of your junk mail in just minutes.

Option 1: CatalogChoice

HOW IT WORKS
After you join this free website, simply search for the type of junk mail you’re looking to avoid: catalog, credit card offer, phone book or charity donation request. Pick a mailing option (no delivery, delivery two or four times a year, etc.), and CatalogChoice will send the request to the company for you. Your CatalogChoice dashboard lists the companies and organizations they have contacted and updates you when a company has confirmed your request – so you don’t have to keep track of all that information yourself.

WHO SHOULD USE IT
Anyone who wants to manage their junk mail through a website, doesn’t have a smartphone or wants to support a nonprofit junk-mail-reduction service.

Option 2: PaperKarma

HOW IT WORKS
Much like CatalogChoice, PaperKarma forwards a request to the companies sending you junk mail and monitors all your requests for you. But, while CatalogChoice only operates as a website, PaperKarma is a free app, available for Android, iOS and Windows smartphones. The process to submit a request is convenient and fast: Just snap a photo of your address on the piece of junk mail, and PaperKarma will take care of the rest.

WHO SHOULD USE IT
The smartphone addict, the super busy.With whichever service you choose, remember to be patient in your quest to reduce your junk mail: It may take a few months to start seeing results, since many mailing labels are printed ahead of time.