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GENERAL

Some towns now offer purple bags you put out on the curb. Items in those bags such as clothing and household goods get resold somewhere. This is a much better alternative than throwing them in the trash. However, if you would like your goods to help someone else, or support a local charity, read on for other options below.

CALL FOR PICK-UP

LIGHTBULBS & BATTERIES

  • Batteries that contain mercury (for example, hearing aid batteries) go to your town's hazardous Waste collection. Some Boards of Health might also collect them.
  • Regular alkaline batteries (for example, AAA, AA batteries) can be thrown in the trash.

  • Fluorescent lightbulbs also get collected by most towns on Hazardous Waste collection days. Or you can drop them off at Home Depot and Winters for no charge.

  • Regular incandescent light bulbs can go in the trash.

TO RECYCLE ELECTRONICS

FURNITURE & HOUSEHOLD GOODS

CLOTHING & SHOES

  • Prom dresses Waltham High School's 'Dress Boutique' gives out prom dresses to students in need. They discreetly give out 300 items of clothing to female students every year. Please donate current, new or in good condition special occasion clothing and accessories.

  • H&M will accept used clothing from any brand, in any condition. They can be dropped off at any H&M store. H&M will resell clothes that can still be worn; re-use into cleaning cloths etc, or recycle into fiber.

  • JackRabbit accepts used running shoes & sneakers to recycle the rubber

  • Goodwill locator, for a drop off near you

  • Big Brother, Big Sister pick up scheduler. They will pick up your donation at your home.

  • In Lexington, MA each of the 9 public schools has a clothing drop off box on campus. The drop off boxes are managed by BayState Textiles. See what they do and do not accept. They will even take rags and recycle them.

  • In Lexington, MA, LexFUN runs an annual huge children's consignment sale in the Spring, typically the first Saturday in May. The consigner keeps half the proceeds and LexFUN uses the other half to support the community (scholarships, emergency support, local organizations). 1,500 people attend.

  • Dress for Success provides Executive clothing for women

  • Uncommon Threads provides up to 4 complete outfits and a styling session to women who have been referred by a social service professional. The goal is to build self-esteem.

  • Catie's Closet improves school attendance by providing clothing and toiletries to children in need, right within their schools. Catie's Closet helps 50,000 school-aged boys and girls in 80 schools in MA & NH.

For your community's specific recycling and special trash disposal days, check your community page

BOOKS

  • Donate books to your local public library. Most public libraries have a Friends group that will sell donated books as a fundraiser, then give the money raised to the library for new purchases. So even if the library cannot use your donated books, the Friends group might. However, check your library's list of what they can and cannot accept. It takes a lot of volunteer work to sort and move the books, so it's thoughtful to make sure it's worth their effort.

The Friends of Cary Library in Lexington, MA have a list of books they can and cannot handle.

Note: you cannot put hardcover books in the paper recycling bin without tearing off the hardcover first.

EYEGLASSES

In Lexington, MA, the Lions Club manages several eyeglass drop-off locations, including Michaelson's Shoe Store and Stop & Shop.

PLASTICS #5: YOGURT CONTAINERS & KEURIG VUE CUPS

  • If your local recycling program does not take #5 plastics, then Preserve will recycle your #5 Plastics into colorful plates, bowls and utensils that are dishwasher safe and usable in the microwave. Use Preserve to recycle:
  • yogurt, margarine, cottage cheese, cream cheese & hummus containers
  • Brita water filters
  • Burts' Bees tubes
  • cleaned take out containers
  • Keurig Vue cups

Either drop off your #5 plastics at your local Whole Foods or mail them in to Preserve .

Earn rewards from recyclebank for your efforts.

STYROFOAM

ReFoamIt(R) at 25 Mohawk Dr, Warehouse 2 in Leominster is dedicated to recycling styrofoam. You can drive there and drop off unlimited quantities of styrofoam, free, or check their local events for a drop off in your area. Go to the Upcoming Events /Single event page for listings. Call 508-864-8723 to arrange for drop-offs & pick-ups

BIKES

Bikes not bombs will take bikes and refurbish them.

TOOLS

Donate tools at the Somerville Tool Library - you'll get a free yearly membership, worth $50, and help support a great concept!

"The Somerville Tool library is a tool lending library located at Parts and Crafts, 577 Somerville Ave., in Somerville, Massachusetts. It is available to residents of Somerville and the surrounding cities and towns. The library is open Thursdays from 4PM to 8PM and Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM."

Read the boingboing article

CAR SEATS

Car seats that can still be used safely can be donated to a local shelter, freecycled, sold individually or at a local yard sale. See links above under Household Goods.

It is free to advertise yard sales on the HelpAroundTown Bulletin Board.

If your old car seats and booster seats are no longer safe, here is how to dispose of them:

  • Remove the straps and the fabric. Try to reomove as much of the metal and styrofoam as possible. Recycle all materials separately. Mark the plastic base as 'bad' or 'do not use' and leave it for recycling/trash.

  • Consumer Reports has good advice about removing the metal and styrofoam that may be in a car seat + links to places in different states that will recycle car seats.

JEWELRY

Check your local senior center. Most have a fundraising shop where people can buy and sell things. Consider donating your jewelry there. For example, The Windowpane Shop at the Lexington Senior Center welcomes donations of jewelry, accessories and small gift items. Monday & Friday mornings only.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Berklee College of Music will donate good quality instruments to local public schools and teen centers, including places where Berklee volunteers help enrich music education.