CAN: Act Sustainably

Lifestyle Choices - Don't throw it out!

Where does our garbage go?

Once we leave our garbage and household items at the curb for the DPW to cart away, we lose sight of it. However, waste is not a victimless act. The waste goes to landfills or to incinerators, with dire effects on the communities that house them. Think about all the garbage you leave at the curb a year. It goes somewhere and, most importantly, it is not reused. It becomes a problem. For a long, long, long time.

Don't despair, there are many ways we can divert some of our waste from the landfill or incinerator. Here are some easy suggestions for finding a home for your unwanted items.

Rehome your Household Items, Clothing, Including Furniture, and food

First we always look at reduce. Do you really need that item on sale that is catching your eye? Or will it be taking up storage space soon? Challenge yourself before making purchases - do you really need it? This question will not only save you money, but it will save the earth.

Now what to do with what you have? Don't toss it - find it a new, useful home. Here are some suggestions:

  • Join the Buy Nothing Rivertowns South Facebook page. Residents try to find homes for their unwanted items. Everything is free.

  • You can advertise free items on Next Door Ardsley

  • VVA, and Big Brothers and Sisters will pick up your items curbside. Check their lists of what they accept. Not only do you find a new home for your items but you support these charities and their mission.

  • The Fuller Center ReUse store in New Rochelle will take unused construction material, paint, furniture, and much more. Proceeds are used to support their work building affordable homes for local residents and veterans.

  • Towels, rugs and blankets are often needed by local animal shelters.

  • Give those unused coats, socks, mittens, gloves, blankets, scarves and hats to Midnight Run right here in Dobbs Ferry and help the homeless.

  • Though a pet's death is a sad event, you can donate the food, toys, beds, and other pet items to the Humane Society of Westchester. They also need cleaning items and stuffed animals.

  • Before you take your clothing to the local clothing dumpster repository, read this article. Don't assume your clothing donation is helping a cause - it could just be assisting a for-profit organization. The article will list organization that need the clothing. For women's professional clothing please consider Dress for Success or Career Closet.

  • Excess food or unwanted food? Donate to the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at South Presbyterian Church.

  • Kitchen cabinets, windows, doors, and so on removed as part of a renovation can be donated to The Fuller Center.

Need more?

Repair, don't toss

In the 'old days' nothing was tossed if it could be repaired. These days, many of us have lost the skills to repair things. However, there is good news. A new movement, called Repair Cafes, is sweeping the nation. For free, experts will help you repair your items so that they are not discarded. We are fortunate to have an active Repair Cafe in the Rivertowns. Generally, every season a Repair Cafe will pop up in one of the Rivertowns - just bring your broken items and leave with a working, viable treasure...and some new friends. If you know how to repair items, contact the local Rivertowns Repair Cafe or the Ardsley CAC and volunteer your expertise and services in this fun community event.

Reduce and reuse plastic

Plastic is everywhere - including inside of us. It has a dire impact on the environment, wildlife, and people because it never goes away. We are growing islands of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere. Plastic also contributes significantly to our carbon footprint. Though it may seem impossible to reduce our plastic dependency, it is not. Just fifty years ago we didn’t need this much plastic. We were fine without it. Be creative.

Another recent problem with plastic is that China, the world's biggest buyer and processor of recycable material, is no longer accepting plastic. This is causing global plastic crisis and, unfortunately sending much recycable plastic to incinerators and landfills.

There are more sustainable ways to get through our lives. Here are some simple and easy ways to reduce your use of plastic. Need more ideas? Here you go!

Did you know you can recycle your plastic bags and soft plastic product wrappings/film, including dry cleaning bags? Don't send them to a landfill. Though you cannot recycle them through the Ardsley DPW because they require special processing, there are many local establishments, even here in Ardsley, that will take them. Check here to find out who will take your clean plastic bags and plastic film/wrapping. Even better, send your feedback to manufacturers and stores about their excessive use of plastic. Vote with your voice and wallet to change the future.

Don't gift stuff

One of the many sources of unwanted items are gifts. Rather than giving a thing that may or may not be wanted, give an experience or meaningful contribution. Here are some ideas:

  • Contribute to the college fund of a child - they will thank you when they are in college

  • Provide gift certificates to favorite stores/vendors

  • Contribute toward a wanted item, like a vacation

  • Gift an experience or a getaway

  • Purchase a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant

  • Make a contribution in the gift recipient's honor to their favorite charity or cause

  • Give consumable gifts such as food, beverages, sweets

  • Delight with plants, shrubs and annuals - the earth and pollinators will thank you if they are native.