It's a small thing, but I really like my new toaster. Sitting on the kitchen counter, it's the Mies van der Rohe of appliances----sleek and spare, no button undefined in function. All this and a perfect slice of toast in the morning, God certainly is in the details.
But my new toaster begs the question: what to do with the old one? It only toasts on one side, so it wouldn't be neighborly to pass it on to someone else. Tossing it in the garbage, to commit its coils and plastic in landfill perpetuity, seems irresponsible, too.
My old toaster is in good company with many household items that were once useful but have been replaced by new technology. Some of them were the heart of the home, like the family phone book that sat near the phone in the hall. Then we moved on to the personal Palm Pilot, which is history, too. The stack of DVD's for family movie night is now in the Netflix Cloud.
From our purview at Forest & Found, we see trends in items that have gone the way of modern obsolescence. In a box of donations, we'll often find photo albums, even the beautiful leather bound ones. We see angel food cake pans, Jello molds and coffee sets that whisper of evenings spent entertaining at home. Good bye to Walkmans, computer programs on CD, digital cameras.
What to do with stuff nobody wants? In the secondhand market, we can't create a demand for the things we no longer need---like old VCR tapes or well-worn and stained clothing. But recyclers can. Industrial recyclers have built phenomenal businesses around taking the obsolete and turning it back into raw materials. Many of these recyclers are just a five-minute drive away.
To help you recycle, we have a list of local resources for household items that are hard to dispose of. For example, you can load up the car with your old printer and laptop and drop it at the Best Buy or Staples on Milwaukee Ave in Vernon Hills.
We encourage you to use our list of resources when cleaning out a desk, closet or garage. The list is a start – we're sure there are many more responsible places to recycle – but by using it, you'll save energy, time and gas. See our list of recycling resources at forestandfound.com/donating-with-us/.