Did you know that a major contributor to landfills is bulk garbage? Many of these items are also not biodegradable, because only organic matter can breakdown into natural components. This process can also be slowed down in a landfill.
Large or bulky items take up more space in landfills due to their obvious size and capacity, and they are often not properly broken down when disposed of. Many folks are unaware of how to dispose of large items, such as furniture, boxes, and electronics, properly and some may resort to illegally dumping these bulk items on the street or in rural areas.
Below are a few helpful tips for breaking down and getting rid of large household items to make the most minimal impact on the environment:
- Upcycle/repurpose – Before letting go of an item, consider another way to use it. Maybe it is too worn for its original purpose but could be cleaned up or converted for another use or location. Turn old drawers into a cute bench or planter, use spare wood to build a cat tower – get creative with your family, or ask a friend if they could use it at their home or workplace. All it may need is some imagination and a new coat of paint.
- Donate what you can – for items such as furniture, appliances, or electronics, consider donating to local secondhand stores or charities. Some stores will even do a pickup from your home if you are unable to transport the items yourself. For items such as comforters, towels, and linens, consider donating to your local animal shelter. Many animal shelters use linens to clean and house rescue animals.
If you cannot find an organization to take your items, there are online community groups that encourage peer-to-peer gifting. These groups may allow you to post items that are in poorer condition that other charities cannot accept. Group members may still use them as is, or will find ways to reuse them in creative ways!
- Break it down – For items such as boxes, tables, desks, or other furniture, breaking down the item helps to limit how much space they take up in landfills. Enjoy a demolition day and deconstruct furniture before tossing it!
- Schedule a pickup – Research garbage pickup options in your area to schedule pickups for bulk trash disposal. If you are on Oahu, check for the latest information at https://www.honolulu.gov/opala.
- Recycle, buy back – Some stores will exchange electronics for credit, or new electronic items if you wish to dispose of such items. For furniture pieces that are made of glass or wood, consult with local recycling hubs to see if the pieces can be reused.