6 ways to spring clean without adding to landfill

If you feel great after a big clean up- but not so great after sending half a house full of stuff to landfill- then this might be the list for you!

There could be a person, charity or organisation that needs exactly what you don’t. Not only will you be reducing your waste (and your landfill guilt), you will also be helping someone else out.

#1: sell it

Have a good condition item that you just don’t need? There is a range of options for selling used products online. Here are some tips for minimal time wastage and maximum income!

  • Research. Search for your product first to see if a similar item is already for sale. Is it popular? What is the asking price?
  • Photograph. Include sharp, clear photos! Make sure the object takes up most of the frame and try to avoid a busy background.
  • Haggle. Expect people to offer you less than you have asked for and get ready to stick to your guns or meet them somewhere in the middle.
  • Set a date. If you have a lot of items, set one pick-up date and place for people to collect. This will save loads lot of time organising individual pickups.
  • Be safe. Meet at a public location (don’t give out your home address), preferably with another person. Always let someone else know where you are and take your phone with you. Don’t get in their car. Trust your instincts and cancel if you are not comfortable. Better yet, post it! Check out this safety list published by Craig’s List.

#2: swap it

If you think you have some friends who might be in the same cluttered boat, have yourself a swap party. Set a date, pick a house, pick a category (e.g. clothes and accessories, baby stuff, kitchen stuff, last year’s unwanted Christmas presents), set some grounds rules, and send out the invites. Easy!

#3: give it

GIVIT is a national not-for-profit organisation connecting those who ‘have’ with those who ‘need’ in a private and safe way. GIVIT can also help you make donations to people responding to, or recovering from a disaster. GIVIT works with local charities, community groups, state governments and councils in an affected area to help them obtain exactly what is needed, when it is needed.

If GIVIT doesn’t need your item, try Freecycle. Freecycle is just like gumtree or EBAY but all products are offered free of charge. If you just need it out of your place, and you want it to go to someone who needs it – Freecycle it!

#4: share it

Professional clothes and accessories in good condition can be donated to Dress for Success. The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing professional attire, support and tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

#5: clear it

Clear out the Library Donate your unwanted books to the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation (ALF). ALF provides ongoing literacy programs and opportunities for Indigenous young people through education and community-based initiatives. Check out their book donation guidelines to see if your books are needed. You can also ask your local op shop, library or school if they need books. This vital program is currently on hold due to lockdown restrictions, so store your books and keep an eye on the website for when it resumes.

#6: revive it

Give your old phone a new meaningful life. The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) is a non-government organisation on a mission to safeguard wilderness & wildlife for future generations. The FNPW has partnered with the Aussie Recycling Program (ARP) to collect unwanted mobile phones, chargers and other mobile accessories to be recycled. For every unwanted mobile donates that can be reused and is less than 5-6 years old, the Aussie Recycling Program will give $3 to $5 to FNPW, so that means that by recycling your old reusable mobile, you’ll be protecting pristine bushland and habitats, and help save threatened animals and plants from extinction, right across the country.

Remember that a lot of charities and op shops are staffed by generous volunteers, so make their job easy – only donate items in good condition and always comply with their donation guidelines.

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Emma Hawkins

Emma has degrees in Environmental Science and Social Science. She has 11 years experience working in government and consulting roles in the areas of sustainability, climate change, life cycle assessment, water management and biodiversity. She is passionate about protecting our environment, raising awareness around sustainability, and the ocean. She spends as much time in or near the ocean as she can.

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