Advanced Search

Please click here to take a brief survey

New Year's Resolutions: Clean Up the Clutter
Emily Gertz, 6 Jan 07

by Worldchanging New York local blog editor (and WC contributor), Emily Gertz

Article Photo

Apartment dwellers in our part of the world know that you can only have so much stuff. January's many post-holiday recycling events offer opportunities to "edit" your belongings (as Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy puts it) without contributing extra to landfills or dumps. Below are just a few for Gothamites in particular; WorldChanging readers, please add your favorite reuse/recycle resources to the comments.

  • MulchFest: Holiday trees (stripped of all ornaments, tinsel, tree stands, and anything else that didn't grow on them naturally) will be turned into mulch for city parks during the New York City Parks Department's annual MulchFest, held on Saturday, Jan. 6 and Sunday, Jan 7, 2007, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Some locations will also provide mulch for the taking to spread in your own garden.

  • The Department of Sanitation will be picking up trees (again, bare of all ornaments etc.) at curbside for mulching, beginning on the evening of Jan. 4 and extending through Jan. 16. And the city's regular recycling program handles paper, cardboard, metal cans and foil, and certain plastics.

  • If you have computers, computer accessories, or other electronics to let go of, consider donating them to Bronx-based Per Scholas, which will refurbish them for donation to youth and senior programs, and for inexpensive resale that allows anyone to afford a good computer.

  • "Bring us your tired, your hungry, your poor huddled e-waste, yearning to be recycled!" cries the Lower East Side Ecology Center, which is holding its annual post-holidays e-waste collection day on Jan. 7 at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan.

  • Local Freecycle lists let you pass on your goods to someone who will value them anew. Another online option is to sell or give away your stuff on Craigslist.

  • You probably already have your favorite thrift store-cum-charitable cause. My own include: Housing Works, which provides support for people with HIV and AIDS, for household goods and books; Build It Green, which takes renovation and construction salvage out of the waste stream for resale and reuse; and Dress for Success, which collects professional attire in good condition to redistribute to disadvantaged women who are interviewing for new jobs (and a host of other support services that help these women attain and maintain economic self-sufficiency). These options also typically offer a donation valuation form that you can squirrel away towards your 2007 tax return.

  • And there's always what my friend M likes to call the New York Exchange: place your no-longer-needed clothing, books, or other goods neatly on the curb outside your home, for others to take home and enjoy as found treasure. (Perhaps there's an enterprising geek out there who'd like to revive and promote the Garbage Scout system?)

    Post more reuse - recycle resources in the comments!

    Above: Bloomie chips a tree, at MulchFest 2003

Bookmark and Share


One of my new favorites in 'get rid of clutter the green way' is they stop your junk mail (less junk mail needed, less tress cut). by reducing paper they reduce clutter. And they plant a tree every month.

Posted by: soumya on 7 Jan 07

That's a nice pointer; thanks, Soumya.

Another way to get off junk mail lists is to write directly to the service provided by the Direct Marketing Association. Plenty of information here:

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 8 Jan 07

Lovely. Now all we need are people to compile one of these for each and every city in preparation for spring. Toronto anyone?

Posted by: Barry on 9 Jan 07



MESSAGE (optional):

Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg