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5 sustainable disposal options

September 16, 2019

Whether you’re spring cleaning, looking to downsize, or just want to get rid of the clutter in your home, chances are you’ve got a pile of things you no longer want. Sure, you’ve recycled what you could and thrown out anything that was clearly unsalvageable, but what do you do with all the rest – the stuff that is still useful to someone, but not to you? Thankfully, there are plenty of sustainable disposal options available to you.

But before we look into them, there’s one thing to keep in mind: You’ll need to make sure your items are clean and in good repair before choosing any of these options.

1. Donate it

The easiest way to get rid of your unwanted items is to drop them off at a local charity shop or second-hand reseller. There are major thrift store chains, which, depending on your region, include Goodwill, Salvation Army (USCanadaUKAustraliaNZ), Oxfam (USACanadaUKAustralia), the Red Cross and Value Village. Or you can opt to donate or sell your stuff at a local thrift shop. Charity shops and thrift stores are easy to find. Just search online under “thrift stores” “charity stores” or “secondhand shops” in your area. If you live in a big city, take advantage of the many donation bins and banks stationed around your city. Always make sure you find out what these bins accept and in what condition donated items should be. Beyond being one of the more sustainable disposal options, donating your items ensure they find a second life with someone who truly needs them.

2. Sell it on online classifieds

The web is full of online classifieds where you can (re)sell household items. Craigslist and eBay Classifieds (Kijiji in Canada) are some of the best known for local trading. These sites are ideal for offloading appliances, children’s toys, furniture and other housewares to people in your area. Online classifieds are generally free, but check the terms of use before you sign up.

3. Sell it on online marketplaces

Websites such as eBay let you list items for sale and give you tools to accept payment online. While you will gain a much larger customer base with these sites, you will also have to prepare your item(s) for shipping, calculate shipping costs and pay a small commission, usually a percentage of the sale price.

4. Sell it on mobile marketplaces

Want to sell your stuff without having to sit down at your laptop? No problem. There’s an app for that! There are many ‘garage sale’ apps currently available in the Google Play Store or on iTunes. Start by creating an account, then upload pictures of the items you want to sell.  Users can comment on items they like, discreetly message sellers about items they are interested in and arrange a meetup when they decide to buy. As with online classifieds, transactions are usually paid in cash and in person.

Some mobile Garage Sale Apps include:



Let Go

5. Hold a garage/yard sale

Craigslist and mobile too complicated for you? Or do you have too much stuff to list? There’s always the tried and true yard sale. Here are some tips to make your sale a success:

  • The bigger the sale, the better the draw, so try to sell as much stuff as you can. If you find your inventory is a little sparse, ask friends/family if they have unwanted items that you can sell for them. For the best foot traffic, organize a street sale with your neighbors.
  • Promote your yard/garage sale on Craigslist or Kijiji and on your local newspapers’ classified pages, as many avid yard sale shoppers check print and online listings to find the best deals.
  • Advertise your yard sale by putting up posters around your neighborhood (but remember to use recyclable poster board). As an extra boost for the environment, use recyclable coloured streamers instead of balloons.
  • Get your kids involved by letting them set up a drink or snack table. They can sell chips, soda pop, juice or water to shoppers while they browse.
  • Play background music so shoppers aren’t browsing in silence. If you do this, remember that your customers will vary in age and musical taste, so try to find something most people will enjoy.
  • Use brightly colored tags so shoppers can find prices easily.
  • Offer last minute deals, bulk discounts, half price deals towards the end of your garage sale, especially if you only have a few items left.
  • Donate unsold items to charity.

Other garage/yard Sale Tips:

More sustainable disposal options

If your city’s part of the Recycle Coach Network, you can download our app for free. With it, you can find a wealth of information specific to where you live, including tips and tricks that’ll help you dispose of your household waste more effectively.

Have ideas you want to pitch or want to write for Recycle Coach? Email us at

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