One Green Thing: Recycling (or reusing) your stuff

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

If you are like most, there are now things you no longer need. I say, get busy before the “stuff” overtakes you.

So…dealing with e-waste (typically anything with batteries, but some items can be plug-in types, too), you do not want to send these to the landfill because many have toxic materials including lead, nickel and mercury. Reuse is possible, as many charitable organizations accept these types of items. Check around, and if you do not find any, be sure to try Best Buy and Staples, which accept e-waste free.

Have you recently gotten a new iPod? Apple has its own recycling program that also includes mobile phones. They are shooting for a 70 percent recycling rate this year.

You can recycle gift cards. Once you have used them up, mail to Earthworks, an Ohio-based company that recycles them into new cards.

As far as clothing, you know how easy it is to find a local thrift store to get rid of unwanted items. KNIB (Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful) also has regular clothing drives. If you are crafty, there are re-uses for wool sweaters (learn the art of felting), old blankets (use as the middle layer of a quilt), or use fabrics from children’s clothing to turn out pillow covers your kids will remember and cherish forever.

These all work toward starting a greener 2011.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the March 9-15, 2011, issue

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