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The Examiner (Missouri): Top 10: Where to Get Rid of Your Old Stuff

November 26, 2011

By Jeff Fox. This article first appeared in The Examiner on November 26, 2011.

We’re now into the season of giving and receiving, which means the season of buying, wrapping and, sooner or later, disposing of waste and clutter. So what are the odds of ending December with less stuff around the house instead of more? It can be done.

Here are some suggestions to end up with less trash at the curb – so less in the landfill – either through alternative ways to getting rid of things or letting less stuff in the house from the outset.

1 Cut down on the junk mail.

The gain here is obvious: fewer dead trees, less fuel spent hauling stuff you don’t want anyway, less time opening and disposing of the hundreds of unwanted items the typical American family gets every year. Bridging the Gap, a Kansas City group, suggests some websites to use to get off marketers’ mailing lists:

2 Rethink a few things.

The Center for the New American Dream promotes its Simplify the Holidays Challenge with suggestions including giving of your time instead of giving material things, having a white elephant party instead of the office gift exchange and giving children simple, creative gifts such as books, art supplies and building blocks. There’s a lot more at www.newdream.org.

3 Everyone has an old computer component or two that time has passed by, sitting in the basement.

Recently I took a couple of old central-processing units as well as a keyboard, a 19-inch television, various computer mice and other stuff with wires to the recycling center at JobOne (the former IBS Industries, providing jobs for adults with developmental disabilities) at 1100 Yuma St., in Independence. It takes recyclables and electronics from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 816-595-1670. They took everything except the TV. Cost to me: $5 for disposal of the keyboard.

4 Then be persistent.

So I’m stuck with a dead TV. Now we turn to www.recyclespot.org, a service of the Mid-America Regional Council. Tell it if you’re an individual, business, school, designer or contractor and tell what you’re looking to get rid of it, and it generates a list of places to go. For the dead TV, the nearest is The Surplus Exchange at 518 Santa Fe in Kansas City.

5 Get serious about recycling.

Blue Springs, Independence and Grain Valley all have drop-off sites for the usual recyclables: plastics 1-7, newsprint, office paper, aluminum cans, cardboard and paperboard (think cereal boxes). All are free; some have a slot to drop a dollar or two to help defray the costs. In Independence, at least three trash companies – AAA, Allied Waste and Ted’s Trash Service – now offer curbside recycling. Communities across the country have found for decades that convenience is the key to promote greater recycling, so here’s your chance.

6 Get even more serious about recycling and start making money – well, some money.

If you want to take the time, old aluminum cans will put a couple of bucks in your pocket. The other day I dropped by Langley Recycling on Stadium Drive west of the old Leeds plant. Prices can vary. In August, they were paying 60 cents a pound; this month it was down to 50 cents. A grocery store plastic bag holds roughly two pounds of crushed cans. At our house, a couple of months worth of cans comes back as $3.

7 Get serious about recycling and help other people.

Grain Valley residents are being asked to bring their aluminum cans to help the Community Services League through a short-term program called “We Can Help.” It runs through Dec. 15. Individuals can bring canned goods and empty aluminum cans to Easy Move Mini Storage, 1520 W. Broadway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Businesses are asked to put a container for aluminum cans near vending machines and lunch areas. The cans are dropped off at Easy Move Mini Storage, or businesses can call 816-220-STOR (7867) for pickups of larger quantities.

8 Glass is a hassle, but it can be done.

It doesn’t go to the curb or in the all-in-one recycling bins because broken glass is difficult to deal with, but Ripple Glass has sites all over the metro area, including the Independence, Blue Springs and Grain Valley recycling drop-off sites. Go to http://rippleglass.com

9 What about those old compact fluorescent lightbulbs?

Take them to the recycling center operated by Bridging the Gap at 91st and Hillcrest in Kansas City, in the parking lot of the old Walmart just east of the former site of Bannister Mall. Hours are 9 to 5 Wednesday through Saturday.

10 Just give it away.

Goodwill Industries has stores at 926 S.W. Missouri 7 in Blue Springs (donation hours 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday) and at 17301 East U.S. 24 in Independence (same hours for donations). Go to www.mokangoodwill.org/

The Salvation Army has a Family Thrift Store & Donation Center at 1535 E. 23rd. St. in Independence. Call 816-833-8881.

The Disabled American Vets has Red Racks Thrift Stores at 16813 E. 23rd St. in Independence and at 922 S.W. Missouri 7 in Blue Springs. Call 816-960-4621.

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