April is the month we celebrate Earth Day, and a time to think about how our actions affect our planet. And the decisions we make about how our responsible recycling before a move can have a direct effect on our world, its air, water, and inhabitants.
We always encourage anyone planning to move to declutter their home as efficiently as possible. When you’re getting ready to move, It makes sense to discard of anything not needed in the next house and also cuts down on packing and moving time. So take time to separate your unwanted items into a few categories: resell, donate, recycle, or trash.
Trash is self explanatory, so let’s look at the others!
Newer, more valuable and desired items like electronics, clothing, and jewelry can be taken to a consignment shop for resale. Or, you can try to sell it online yourself through someplace like Craig’s List, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, neighborhood platforms or social media. Flea markets and garage sales are always an option as well.
Sometimes your belongings are not resalable, but still have use or life in them, like older model appliances, or older, but gently used clothing or home fixtures. These donations would be welcome by a myriad of nonprofit organizations such as Goodwill, Amvets, St. Vincent DePaul, etc. that will sell your items for their good cause. Some even make it easy on you and pick up from your doorstep.
Materials containing dangerous chemicals, or liquids like oil-based paints, batteries, and lacquers, all require special handling and responsible recycling. Most cities and villages have drop off centers for them, as well as electronics. .
Above all, it’s important to never toss your electronics into the trash or landfill! Most electronic devices contain elements that are harmful to the environment and require special handling. Besides city and municipality drop-off centers, retail and office supply stores like Staples, and consumer electronic stores, like Best Buy, collect items for recycling too.
Recycling Electronics Responsibly
Most of us assume that when we drop off our old electronics at a recycler that they will be handled responsibly and refurbished for use by someone else. However, there is a humanitarian concern to recycling electronics. According to a video for the E-Stewards Enterprise Program, a study conducted which included GPS tracking on devices showed that 40 percent of electronics were being imported to backyard scrap operations in developing countries. There, teams of workers, often including children, dismantle the electronics. They work without protection from the toxic fumes and exposure to lead, mercury, and other harmful, organic chemicals, and poison the air of their country as well.
We all recycle with the best intentions in mind. However, for those who want to be sure their recycler or employer is honorable about their recycling intentions, there are currently two certifications for organizations who have pledged to recycle electronics responsibly: the E-Stewards certification and R2 (which stands for Responsible Recycling). Both certifications ensure that electronics that are collected are subject to a secure protocol to protect all legacy data remaining in the devices and reconditioned for resale or donation in compliance with all NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) protocols. Devices that are unable to be refurbished are completely dismantled and given to smelters or refiners to safely dispose of the components.
Using a certified business or vendor will ensure that your donations be handled ethically.
A list of reputable recyclers who are certified by the E-stewards program can be found here. Or you can locate an R2 certified retailer by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) here.
Century has also put together a quick tip sheet of places to donate and recycle your unwanted household items of all types in the Chicagoland area. You can access it here.
Happy recycling and enjoy your newly decluttered home! You’re taking a first, important step towards moving. And if we can be of assistance along the way, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Century Moving.