Every year as the holidays approach, a tangible sense of excitement fills the air. And this has become the giving season; a time when so many people act selflessly, take a break from their busy schedules, and find the opportunity to give back to others. Even online shopping sites have popularized the act of donating a percentage of their income when customers purchase their products. I, myself, searched for my gifts from organizations that donated a percentage to a charity.
On the other side of the coin, and by far the less attractive side, there is the tremendous amount of additional waste that is generated around the holiday season. Apart from the packaging and wrapping (which are hopefully recycled!) that encloses many of our gifts we also accumulate more “stuff” including clothes, toys, electronics, etc. Some may have gotten a new cell phone or computer, making their most recent model now obsolete. This also applies to fashion. As time goes on, clothes begin to wear, their color isn’t as bright, and the style itself has changed. All of these older items are typically thrown out, even though a substantial amount of this ‘waste’ could actually be beneficial to others!
On average, each person in the United States throws out about 4.5 pounds of garbage every day. This adds up to about 245 million tons in a year! I was astounded at this statistic and decided it would be worthwhile to do some digging to find organizations that would recycle or reuse certain materials.
A lot of the materials that are thrown out in the garbage are still serviceable items. Places like the Salvation Army and many local churches will gladly accept clothing and other donated items that the less fortunate could use. Here in Poughkeepsie, we have a large number of churches, as well as a Salvation Army on 570 Main Street. Here at Hudson River Housing, a broad range of items including clothing, blankets, school supplies, backpacks, etc., are happily accepted for distribution to members of the local community.
In addition to these organizations, there are many department stores in Poughkeepsie that also recycle and reuse electronic equipment. This website actually connects people with other organizations looking to reduce waste: http://www.environmentalistseveryday.org/solid-waste-management/environment-friendly-waste-disposal/electronic-recycling.php
It’s funny think that even in the giving season; many of us are blinded by the new “stuff” and “things” in today’s market. If we actually took a second to look into our own closets, desks, and drawers, we may actually find that there are plenty of items that could make a world of difference for someone else.