Giving Away Used Goods for the Good of the Planet

In terms of being green, giving away used goods through a charitable organization reduces waste and fits in with the eco-friendly idea of reusing as much as possible. If you’re interested in giving things away to people who need them more than you do, you can donate just about anything.

A few organizations that accept household or clothing items:

  • Goodwill Industries International

    Local stores welcome donations of clothing and household items for resale.

  • Habitat for Humanity

    Habitat accepts tools, building materials, furniture, and appliances in good working order, either for use in homes being built or for resale to the public in order to help raise funds. The organization also accepts vehicle donations.

  • Hands Across the Water

    This group collects unwanted books and sends them to schools and libraries that need them around the world.

  • Lion’s Clubs International

    Lions Clubs recycle eyeglasses, collecting used eyeglasses at a number of eyewear chain stores and in some libraries and redistributing them in developing countries.

  • Nike Re-Use a Shoe

    Take worn-out athletic shoes of any brand to your local Nike store or other drop point and the company will process them into material used for sports surfaces such as playgrounds for youth around the world.

  • The Salvation Army

    This unarmed organization operates local centers that accept household and clothing items for resale.

Charitable organizations don't accept all types of items, but that doesn't mean you have to add to the waste stream by tossing them away; you can be greener than that. If you don’t want to sell your unwanted goods, Internet share sites can put you in touch with folks who need what you have:

  • Freecycle was one of the first Web sites to offer members a way of giving unwanted possessions away for free to other members who would make good use of them. This program takes the principles of reducing, reusing, and recycling into cyberspace. Community members can offer unwanted items to local members, who then respond by e-mail. The rule is that everything offered must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages. Membership in Freecycle is free.

  • Sharing Is Giving acts as a one-stop source for all free-transfer Web sites. You can post a link to your share site; all Sharing Is Giving asks in return is that you put a link to their site on your home page. This site has the same rules as Freecycle about listing only all-ages, profanity-free, legal, and free items.

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