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You can reduce waste and help out the planet year around.  Just take the following material to local organizations for reuse or recycling.  Material should be clean.  Call first if you are bringing lots of material.

Please email if you know of a place that reuses or recycles the following materials:  drycleaning bags, styrofoam trays, aluminum pie pans, cotton t-shirts with holes (for rags), Christmas lights, and mixed media items like tennis ball containers.  If you would like to add an item to this list, send it to reuseyourtrash at gmail dot com.


Although this is recycling rather than reuse, this is too good not to mention. My Organic Market, 3831 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22305, 703-535-5980 accepts any type of battery besides car batteries. They pay Battery Solutions to recycle batteries properly.  All non-alkaline batteries, need to have masking tape on on the positive end of the battery to prevent any sparks we they transport batteries in bulk.


Bikes for the World

VeloCity Bike Coop in Delray accepts bikes, accessories, and parts


Animal Welfare League of Arlington, 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA, 703-931-9241 accepts worn out blankets and uses them to care for the animals.




Offender Aid & Restoration, 1400 N. Uhle St. Suite 704, Arlington, 703-228-7435, collects Christmas gift bows, ribbons, and new leftover Christmas wrapping paper.  They use them for Project Christmas Angel where they distribute new toys and gifts to children of incarcerated parents.

Tip: To avoid making single-use wrapping, try basic furoshiki - the Japanese art of wrapping without tape - to use fabric instead of paper.


Recycled by My Organic Market 

This lighting company accepts lights by mail and will give you a 15% off coupon toward their lights including LEDs:


Patagonia's Common Threads Garment Recycling accepts worn out fleece and Capilene garments and fabrics. They melt the material down and reuse it to make new garments.

Coats for Cubs in DC accepts old furs for use at wildlife rehab centers.

or at Alexandria farmers markets


Most thrift stores accept them for reuse.


Taylor Elementary School SCA raises funds for the school by collecting *HANDHELD* electronics like mobile phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, digital video recorders, portable DVD players, MP3 Players, X-Boxes, Playstations, Wii, GPS devices, and digital picture frames for recycling through  Drop off electronics in the collection box in its lobby – 2600 N. Stuart St, Arlington, VA 22207.

E-Tech Recycling in Chantilly.

Turtle Wings in Capitol Heights, MD, accepts many electronics for free if you drop it off at their location.  They will pickup for a fee.  They charge for TV and computer recycling.  For a full list of items that they collect, visit

You can also sell certain new, used, or broken electronics at


Potters tell me that drycleaning bags are perfect for wrapping their wet pottery before firing in the kiln. If you have an artist or studio that would like to be listed here, email


Most drycleaners accept wire hangers for reuse. Goodwill accepts hangers.


Kenmore Middle School art teacher Jeff Wilson uses them in his art. Label with his name and drop off at Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Rd. For pictures of his art, see:


Brother's Brother Foundation accept most medical devices and pharmaceuticals in Fairfax, VA (Merrifield area) warehouse.  There is usually someone in the warehouse from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday...and we're often open until 6pm several days per week.  It is best if you call first and ask for Dinita.  If Dinita is not available...either Debbie, Thad or Ruth can help you.  Address:  2730 Prosperity Ave, Fairfax, VA 22031, Suite 110 and Dock 5.  In the back of this business park by the loading docks.

NURSERY POTS (those black plastic pots when you buy plants)

The Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and Long Branch Nature Center accept nursery pots for their plant sales in the spring.

Any pots one gallon or larger can be reused by Arlington County Park in their tree giveaway program. Drop off pots at the Department of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, 414, Arlington, VA 22201. Contact Patrick Wegeng at (703) 228-6521 for drop-off details.

Large tree-sized pots are accepted by Nature by Design, 300 Calvert Ave. Alexandria, VA, 22301, 703-683-4769.

Any pots one gallon or larger are accepted by Earth Sangha, 10123 Commonwealth Blvd., Fairfax, VA 22032-2707.

PACKAGING (corrugated cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, hard Styrofoam blocks, Fill Air, Tyvek envelopes, shrinkwrap)

Pak Mail, 1001-C N. Fillmore St., Arlington, VA, 22201, 703-351-7777
The Plastic Loose Fill Council maintains a directory of businesses that reuse packing peanuts. You can also call their Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214 for a listing of businesses that reuse these.

accepts packing peanuts and sometimes bubble wrap.


Many farmers at local farmers markets accept egg cartons and those pulp produce baskets for reuse. 

Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA, 703-931-9241 uses paper towel and toilet paper rolls for the rabbits and hamsters to chew on.


PLASTIC BAGS (grocery or newspaper)

You can reduce this one easily by bringing your own bag and deducting 3-10 cents off per bag at Giant, My Organic Market, and Whole Foods. If you accumulate plastic bags, the following places accept them (without holes) to clean up after their dogs:
Northside Veterinary Clinic (only newspapers bags) 4003 Lee Hwy., Arlington, VA 22207, 703-525-7115
Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic 4038 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207, 703-528-9001
Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA, 703-931-9241


TerraCycle's Bottle Brigade reuses 20 oz. plastic bottles to sell their plant food. Their Web page has a full listing of participating locations including several in Arlington.


Clay Cafe Studio in Falls Church accepts broken or whole porcelain, pottery, or tile to make mosaic art works as part of their summer camp.


Taylor Elementary SCA raises funds for the school by collecting ink jet printer cartridges for reuse. Drop off material in the collection box in the school's lobby – 2600 N. Stuart St, Arlington, VA 22207.


Art for Humanity accepts shoes for the poor in Honduras, the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. stores accept "used not abused" shoes for reuse through

Worn out Crocs are collected through Croc retailers and then recycled.


Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA, 703-931-9241 uses adult-sized shoeboxes to transport small animals.



Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA, 703-931-9241 takes tennis balls, so you can donate them there once they are too flat to play tennis with them.



Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA, 703-931-9241 accepts worn out towels and uses them to care for the animals.



Have something to get rid of that is not listed?  Try these resources:

Charity Choices -- Where To Give Away Your Stuff

Arlington County's Trash & Recycling Programs has a reuse directory and information on curbside recycling.

Thrift Shopper Web site shows a list of thrift stores by zip code or city. 

Arlington/Falls Church Area Freecycle - a listserv to post items to offer to the community. Individuals will then pick them up from you. AFC Freecycle members may also join the AFC Cafe which lists resources and events for repair, reuse, recycling and more. Trash-to-Treasure Drive events are often posted on AFC Cafe.

Alexandria Recycles

Craigslist DC is a local online classifieds where you can list the material for someone else to grab (reuse is more efficient than recycling).

Arlington County's Donation Hotlink allows you to search for items that are needed by non-profits in the county and nearby.

Home to Recycle Practically Anything has more information on mail away reuse and recycling opportunities.

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard is a fun, user-friendly video that shows the downside to America's production and consumption patterns and their effect on the environmental and people around the world.