Buying used from a resale boutique is a great way to live a more sustainable lifestyle and help a local charity at the same time.
Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care operates a quality, up-scale boutique that sells jewelry, clothing and home décor. All of the proceeds from store sales support Kansas City Hospice and The Hospice House. Our store, Top Drawer, is located at 9433 Mission Road, Leawood, KS 66206.
We started a jewelry recycling program a couple of years ago. You can donate all your old jewelry to Top Drawer, even if it is not in tip-top shape. We resell all of the pieces that are in good condition, repair the broken ones, and take apart the rest, saving the components to make new jewelry. Nothing in our program is wasted. Broken brooches can become new pendants or collage necklaces, and beads can be reused in new necklaces or bracelets.
We would love to have your jewelry, gently-worn clothing, shoes and home accessories! Your donations assist Kansas City Hospice in providing expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance and hope to the people of our community.
It’s that time of year when new toys move in and old toys move out. Ensure that the old toys get a second life by reusing and recycling them instead of throwing them away.
Donating old toys is the easiest option. As long as toys are clean and in good working condition, you can donate them to thrift stores and local charities. Most large thrift stores offer pick up services. You can also drop your toys off at the nearest donation box (only toys that will easily fit in the box’s door).
Without a thought, we grab a handful of paper towels to dry our hands in a public restroom or to clean up a spill in the kitchen and then we toss them in the trash. But what is the environmental cost? A lot of energy and resources go into making paper towels: harvesting the wood, processing it, bleaching it, packaging it, and transporting it — all just to reach the store! However, there is a great way to counter this resource and energy-intensive process: just say no.
In the restroom
In the old days, people used to carry cloth handkerchiefs. Today these make great paper towel substitutes. You can purchase handkerchiefs at most department stores, and a good one can last for many years. Keep one in your pocket or purse and use it when wet hands arise. If you’re worried about the dampness affecting other items, you can keep the handkerchief in a Ziploc bag between uses, or lay it out to dry on a desk. Wash handkerchiefs with the rest of your laundry.
In the kitchen
All bath towels must be retired at some point, so why not give those frayed and faded towels a second life in your kitchen? Store them in a kitchen cabinet or drawer, ready to be used the next time Junior spills his milk. Just like the hankies, these towels can go in with your laundry and serve many years as a greener, quicker picker-upper.
If all else fails, compost!
If you do end up using paper towels, they can be disposed of in your compost bin instead of the trash. Find information on composting at home on the MARC website.
For more information on waste reduction and recycling, visit RecycleSpot.org or call (816) 474-4326.
Every holiday season we hear the same question: is it better for the environment to buy a real tree or an artificial tree? Currently, of all the American households displaying trees, 80 percent are artificial trees and 20 percent are real.
A recent study — sponsored by the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) and conducted by third-party international research firm PE International — showed that purchasing either a real or artificial tree has a negligible impact on the environment. However, the study found that length of ownership, disposal method and “tree miles” can make a difference on which tree is environmentally preferable.
ACTA encourages consumers to consider five helpful tips when deciding which tree to buy this year:
If you buy a real tree, buy from a local farm if possible.
Consider “tree miles” — How far the tree had to travel to get to the store or farm, and how far you had to travel to get it.
Consider purchasing an artificial tree to minimize your environmental impacts if you have purchased more than nine live trees in the last nine years.
If you own an artificial tree, plan to use it for at least six to nine years. If you replace an artificial tree, donate the old one instead of disposing it.
Properly dispose of your natural holiday tree. Find local disposal services at RecycleSpot.org!
Missouri bans the disposal of real holiday trees and greenery, just like it does other yard waste materials, and Kansas discourages the practice. Area communities, businesses and organizations offer a number of ways to recycle those trees instead of trashing them. These services divert materials from landfills while creating resources that can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, trees can be shredded into mulch that is used for trail surfaces, erosion control and landscaping, or left whole to create fish habitats in area lakes.
To ensure a pure recycling stream and protect workers and machinery, it’s very important to remove lights, decorations, plastic bags, stands, metal frames, nails and wire from trees and greenery before recycling them.
For more information on where to donate your artificial tree or recycle your real tree and greenery, visit RecycleSpot.org or call (816) 474-4326.
We’re all familiar with recycle and reuse, but how many of us reduce the amount of waste we create? The Waste Management Hierarchy says that source reduction — or not creating waste in the first place — is preferred over recycling or reusing. Items we recycle at the curb and reuse from the thrift store are important, but are only a drop in the bucket compared to the impact that reducing waste can have.
The production of any item uses energy and resources and generates waste and pollution. Reducing what you buy means less need for resources and energy to create new products, less waste going to the landfill and less pollution released into the environment.
What You Can Do
You can take a number of actions to reduce waste:
Don’t purchase products you already have. Keep your belongings clean and organized so you can easily find what you need.
Donate unwanted items to friends, family, neighbors, charities and thrift stores.
Repair things that are broken instead of replacing them.
Maintain homes, buildings, vehicles, equipment, clothing, appliances, etc. Well-maintained items don’t have to be repaired or replaced as often.
Buy well-made, durable products. They have a longer lifespan and are more likely repairable.
Reuse at work. Find out if your business or organization has a system for reusing, donating or selling surplus supplies and property. If not, suggest it.
Share, borrow and rent items you use infrequently. It saves money and resources.
When choosing between two similar products, select the one with the least amount of packaging or — better yet — no packaging at all.
Choose large or economy-sized items, which often use less packaging per unit of product. However, be sure you can use it all or have friends and family who can share it with you.
Choose concentrated products. They often require less packaging and less energy to transport to the store.
Use safe alternatives. Many hazardous products have a low- or no-hazard counterpart.
Use durable bags instead of paper or plastic bags when shopping for groceries, clothes, toys or tools.
Use refillable mugs and water bottles. These days, they come in all shapes and sizes!
Use Tupperware for take-out. These can replace disposable paper, plastic and Styrofoam boxes.
Be sustainable and save money by shopping for used items. Places to shop include:
Garage and estate sales
Thrift stores, consignment shops, antique malls or pawn shops
Habitat For Humanity ReStores
eBay or Craigslist
Reuse everyday items. Some common examples include:
Plastic grocery sacks as trash bags or thrift store donation bags
Dairy tubs as cheap Tupperware
Coffee cans as storage containers for hardware
Old t-shirts as shop or cleaning rags
Popsicle sticks, paper towel rolls, egg cartons, etc. as art project supplies
Even if glass is not collected in your standard curbside recycling program, there are many options for recycling and reusing all types of glass in the metro area.
Food and Beverage Containers Recycle brown, clear, green and blue food and beverage containers in the large, purple Ripple Glass bins located throughout the metro area. If you prefer curbside pickup, both Atlas Glass and KC Curbside Glass provide service throughout the metro area to both residents and businesses for a monthly fee.
Glassware Donate undamaged dishware, vases, decorative glassware and mirrors to thrift stores. Antique glassware can be sold at antique stores and online.
Donate mirrors, glass shelving and various types of glass windows to Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Glass panes or unframed glass can only be accepted if it is new and in its original packaging. For more information on acceptable materials, check ReStore’s donation criteria list.
Fluorescent light bulbs Fluorescent tubes and compact bulbs (the squiggly ones) have mercury in them, which requires special handling. Both can be recycled through local household hazardous waste programs. Compact fluorescent bulbs can also be recycled at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Broken glass With the exception of food and beverage containers, if the glass you want to get rid of is broken, it is not recyclable. Call your trash hauler for pickup of large pieces of broken glass — such as windows, table tops, mirrors, etc. — and verify preparation requirements. A fee may apply. All small, broken glass items and burnt out light bulbs (excluding fluorescent bulbs mentioned above) can be disposed of in the trash. Keep the safety of your sanitation workers in mind and prepare items properly for disposal.