January 9, 2015

Resources: Reuse & Recycling

After reflecting on the last post about my difficulty getting started sorting through our stuff, I realized something valuable. My reluctance/inability to relegate anything to the purge pile is not indicative of a desire to hold onto every possession, regardless of its burdensome weight. Rather it is a reluctance to allow anything useful to go to waste and a keen desire to keep everything (or as much as possible) out of the landfill.

In my previous urban home(s), I had ready access to organizations who would gladly resell most anything I wished to donate, from good quality clothing to art supplies to random collections of things that could possibly be repurposed in some inventive manner. There were recycling opportunities for everything from shredded office paper to home electronics and (supposedly) safe recycling/disposal of household hazardous waste such as used motor oil and spent paint thinner. In the city, I could divest myself of possessions without disposing of them. For me, this is of the utmost importance.

Here among the corn fields of rural Ohio, we do not have curbside recycling. I do not live a couple of blocks from the architectural salvage and home improvement reseller or the creative reuse center. I don't have access to a creative reuse center, period. Hence my reluctance to part with anything when I don't know how to part with it responsibly and in line with my values.
But, now that I've identified the problem, I'm building a list of local(ish) resources. Places that will take everything from scrap metal and broken appliances to batteries and compact fluorescent bulbs. I found Earth911.com a useful starting place to search for places that will recycle items not accepted by municipal recycling programs. Like the hot water heater we replaced on the first of the year. For still useful items, there's freecycle. I logged into my freecycle group to post an offering of acrylic yarns culled from my stash only to find a day old request for yarn, ribbon, and buttons. Turns out the person asking is the librarian who answered my request for unwanted books for crafting. She's taking a moving carton worth of yarn off my hands tomorrow. 
May the lighten-ing continue.

Search here to find a freecycle group near you. A good listing of creative reuse centers can be found here.


  1. I love this!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. The resources are US-centric, but please do share any you know in your part of Europe. I plan to put together a resources page on my website and would love to expand it into a worldwide list.

  2. What a brilliant idea - I need to create a similar list. Some of our local resources we are already actively using but I think we could delve much deeper and be more specific about who gets what. Yes, a list! A list of contacts is what I need - and to keep that list very handy for quick, easy reference. Thanks Laurie.

    1. Yep, I feel like I can tackle just about anything if I have a corresponding spreadsheet list. I'd love to know what your reuse options are, so as to include them on the eventual resource page I plan to make for my website. ("Eventual" being the key word. Ambitious plan for this year is a total redesign of oddbirdstudio.com. Researching, writing copy, designing, and re-learning HTML and CSS. Yeah, that sounds long-term to me. And kinda fun!)