1. Donate Your Old Clothing Regularly
There are so many ways you can reuse or give away clothing. The obvious way is to donate to a local shelter or a second-hand shop, but nowadays, you have a lot more options.
For one, many fast-fashion retailers, such as H&M and Zara accept old clothing and will recycle it for you for free, plus, in some stores, you might even get a discount coupon in return. Note that these don't have to be clothes you purchased at that store.
Don't feel like recycling clothes? No worries, you can reuse them as rags. I personally swear by old T-shirts as the best dusting rags ever.
2. Give Away Books You Don't Need to Local Teachers
Over the years, everyone collects a bunch of books they don't even like. Also, many people go digital for the sake of all that free bookshelf space and less dusting. Whatever the case with you may be, if you have a few or a lot of excess books on your hands, you can donate those to a local public school.
Many teachers are forced to buy their own learning materials for their students nowadays, including a classroom library, so you'd be really helping them out with those few books.
3. Turn Leftover Wood Into Mulch
When you're done with your woodwork project, don't throw any leftover wood away, as you can easily transform that junk into mulch, and who doesn't need that for your gardening projects? You'll need a small wood chipper to process the wood, but even if you don't have one, you can rent one at practically any big hardware store.
A word of caution, though, using wood chips or sawdust as mulch is better as a means to control weeds rather than growing plants.
4. Return the Plastic Bags to a Grocery Store
Do you, too, have an extra-large plastic bag filled with a whole lot of other plastic bags somewhere in your kitchen? If so, you'll know how annoying these can be, plus most of the bags always have holes in them for some odd reason, so you'll not even be able to use them when you need them. So, it's best to recycle these, either at a local recycling center or at a grocery shop. Yes, many grocery stores nowadays have drop boxes where you can recycle plastic bags easily.
5. Donate Excess Writing Utensils to Those Who Need Them
You might think that a pencil or pen is such a widely-accessible thing that sorting and throwing out old writing tools is a routine procedure. This may be true in your country, but you'd be surprised as to how many schools and kindergartens in developing nations are experiencing a shortage of pens and pencils.
Why not donate the pens and pencils you don't need to Right-to-Write, a program dedicated to putting old pens and pencils to good use by shipping them to children in developing countries?
6. Even Old Mascara Wands Can Be Reused
Ready to be surprised even more? Even your old mascara wand can and should be reused, as it turns out that it's the perfect tool in the hands of a knowing veterinarian. Wildlife rescue shelter workers use old mascara wands to clean the fur and feathers of wild animals from pests. Every October and February, Wands for Wildlife accepts mascara wands from willing volunteers.
7. Got an Extra Vase or Two? Give Them to the Local Hospital
You'd be surprised how many hospitals have a shortage of vases because the most popular gift patients in hospitals typically get are, you guessed it, flowers. That's why you can always take a few spare vases to a local hospital, they'll be more than happy to accept them, and you'll be doing something very kind.
8. Try Composting
Did you know that nearly half of the waste people throw out are food scraps? Makes sense, but what's even more alarming is that food waste is becoming a real environmental issue, significantly contributing to the Earth's methane emissions, which, as you might know, is a greenhouse gas that really affects the environment.
Composting would not only reduce methane emissions but would also benefit your garden, enriching the soil at no cost. Here is a tutorial on how to start composting.
9. Dry Out Excess Paint or Take It to the Recycling Center
Latex paint is one of the most extreme pollutants thrown out by households, that's why you should always think twice before tossing it into the trash. Recycling centers will accept latex paint and dispose of it safely, which is always the best option. But if you don't have a recycling center near you, a trick you can do is dry it out before tossing.
Dry paint can be disposed of 'the traditional way', and to dry out a can of paint, all you need to do is to leave it without a lid in an open, dry and warm place until it solidifies completely.
10. Give Old Towels to a Local Veterinary Office or Animal Shelter
Another way you can help our four-legged and feathered friends is by donating old blankets and towels to vet offices or animal shelters. Animal shelters will typically accept even those worn out and shabby towels you wouldn't be able to donate to a charity, and you just know that the puppies and kittens need them way more than your trashcan does.
11. Take Your Old Sports Shoes to a Nike Store
Old sports shoes are very difficult to recycle, as they consist of many different materials that can't just be taken apart by you. There is a way to give a new life to your old shoes, though, without harming the environment, too. You can take an old pair of sports shoes of any brand to a Nike store and they will recycle it for you. They will use the scraps of your shoes to make new equipment, such as basketball courts and running tracks for communities in need.
12. You Can Recycle Electronics at Big Retailers
Recycling electronics is another painful subject, as it's usually very difficult to take these products apart, so they just accumulate in a drawer of sadness where we keep decades worth of mobile phones, cameras, and wires of unknown origins.
Instead of cluttering your own home with all this useless junk, free up that drawer and take all the electronics to a local electronics retailer, such as Best Buy, Target or any other large shop, all for free.