Reduce Clutter and Help the Environment!

Jessica Houlihan
Do it Green! Minnesota

Do you ever open your closet to find a few items you wear and a few dozen that you don’t? Or do you, in the process of cleaning out the garage, find chemicals or lawn care products you just don’t use anymore? Regardless of how much of a savvy shopper you may be, almost everyone accumulates garbage throughout their life. In fact, Minnesota citizens each generate about 2,000 pounds of trash each year. Thankfully, in Minnesota, there are many ways you can recycle or sell your trash and promote products getting a new life. When you recycle, you not only reduce the amount of waste entering landfills but you cut down on the need for new materials. Use the resources below to help you get rid of the old or search for like-new items:

Trash to Treasure

One way to reduce the unused or unwanted items around your house is to have a rummage sale. If you don’t have enough to hold one yourself, consider partnering with a neighbor or friend. If you are looking to get rid of a specific item that still has a value, think about placing a classified ad in the paper or selling it on or If you are willing to part with the item for free you can list it on or call 651-222-7678 to get your item listed. Once listed, interested parties can contact you by email or phone and they will pick up the item or you can offer to drop it off for them. Tip: You will be able to sell or get rid of your item faster if you post a photo with your ad.

Get Rid of the Toxins in Your Home

Many of the metro counties, including Hennepin, Anoka, Carver, Ramsey, Dakota and Washington, have an environmental center where residents can drop off household hazardous waste, electronics, scrap metal and many other items at no charge. Several of the locations include a reuse room where usable products and paints are available for free. To find the locations, fees and hours check your county’s website or visit

Electronics Must be Recycled Properly by Law

According to the new E-waste law in Minnesota, electronics manufacturers must now participate in the recycling of their products. There are several different companies that make it easier to recycle broken and unwanted electronics and accessories. Best Buy will accept used cell phones, printer ink cartridges, and rechargeable batteries for free at any of their locations. VerizonWireless also accepts used cell phones that they refurbish and sell. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the money they collect from the project is used to buy wireless phones and donate airtime to victims of domestic violence through human services and law enforcement agencies. Epson offers recycling for all of their printers, scanners and projectors for ten dollars, which includes shipping, and you receive a five-dollar credit for their online store. For computers and other electronic item recycling, contact They refurbish, reuse and recycle the different parts.

Giving your trash a new life is an important step toward reducing the waste entering landfills. Buying recycled products is another way you can support waste reduction. To find recycled content products that were made in Minnesota visit the “Buy Recycled” directory at the MPCA website in the Resource Box.

Reduce Clutter!

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