Be a Smarter Discarder

By Lauren Leonard

As part of its quest to become the greenest city in the nation, the City of Philadelphia has expanded recycling as a means of improving the environment, the economy and quality of life for all residents. According the Streets Department, residential curbside recycling rates are at an all-time high with a record 128,000 tons of recyclable materials being collected in 2014. As is apparent on Friday morning’s in Queen Village when sidewalks are crowded with items not yet at the end of their useful life, however, there is still room for improvement.

Much of what we discard weekly isn’t actually trash. In fact, as the saying goes, it may actually, to someone else, be treasure. The first (and often simplest) step to improving our neighborhood environment, economy and quality of life is by diverting waste from landfill; becoming smarter discarders. With this in mind, the Quality of Life (QOL) committee offers some resources for more responsible disposal of unwanted items.

1. WILL TAKE JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING
Philly Aids Thrift
710 S 5th St | 215.922.3186

Accepts gently used appliances, books, cars, CDs, records, tapes, clothing, shoes, accessories, DVDs, VHS tapes, electronics and stereo equipment, furniture, home furnishings and household items, jewelry, sporting goods. Proceeds go to local organizations involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

2. FURNITURE
Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles
832 N Broad St | 215.546.9616

A free furniture pick-up service. Email photos of your gently used furniture to ufcphilly@gmail.com to expedite the screening and pickup process. 100% of proceeds from contributions benefit the African People’s Education and Defense Fund.

3. CLOTHING
Bella Boutique
527 S 4th Street | 610.594.6844

Accepts for consignment high-quality clothing in excellent condition this is in current style, freshly laundered and ironed; perfume; like-new jewelry, shoes and purses.

4. SHOES
Back on My Feet (BoMF)/Shoebox Recycling
philadelphia.backonmyfeet.org/shoeboxrecycling

Donate gently used athletic shoes, raise awareness about the global impact of shoe recycling and help put reusable, renewable shoes on people who need affordable options. BoMF works to empower, educate and employee homeless Philadelphians.

5. BOOKS
Mostly Books Warehouse
529 Bainbridge Street | 215.238.9838

Mostly Books is always accepting books, music, and CDs for store credit. Give 35% of value of books to owner in form of store credit.

6. FOOD
Bennett Compost
bennettcompost.com | 215.520.2406

The average person throws away 1600 pounds of food per year! Composter’s throw away half of this. Sign up for $15/ month curbside weekly pickup of food and compostable waste.

7. ELECTRONICS
eForce Compliance
eforcecompliance.com

Provides compliant electronic recycling services to both commercial and residential markets, proper disposal and recycling of electronics and other difficult to recycle materials.

8. MATTRESSES
The Philadelphia Streets Department
philadelphiastreets.com/sanitation

Provides curbside pickup of mattresses. Mattresses and box springs must be bagged and sealed in plastic mattress bags when placed curbside. Items may be set out on your regular trash day. (They do not have to be bagged if taken to a Sanitation Convenience Center.)

9. OVERSIZED/BULK ITEMS
The Philadelphia Streets Department
philadelphiastreets.com/sanitation

Residents may continue to set out compactable furniture, such as sofas for collection at curbside, up to two items per week. (For gently used items, refer to above list.) The Streets Department does not accept metal oversized items or tires as part of curbside collection. Automotive tires and appliances, such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators, hot water heaters, etc. should be taken away by a private hauler, or residents may bring these items (limit of two oversized items and four tires) to a Sanitation Convenience Center.

For more information on responsible disposal, visit the following resources:

Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.