Recycle That Suit!

Recycle that suit!

The retail chain Men’s Wearhouse is running their annual drive to collect men’s gently-used professional clothing during the month of July with a goal of collecting 250,000 items. These donations will go social service agencies that work with men who are not able to purchase clothing such as suits, dress shirts, ties, shoes, and accessories that are necessary to present themselves as good job candidates. Those of us who can afford suits and dress clothing may take for granted how necessary these items are to having a job in many sectors of the workforce and to other obligations we have in our everyday lives (weddings, funerals, etc.). For people who aren’t able to afford them, these donations allow them to present themselves during job interviews with confidence and increase their chances of entering or re-entering the workforce. As the stories on the website show, past recipients of these suits are not only people from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds, but people who have struggled due in a variety of ways due to the economy. It’s a national drive, so donations are accepted at all Men’s Wearhouse locations. Use their store locator to find one near you.

suit drive graphic

Where to Recycle Wearable Fitness Tracking Devices

The spring weather motivates many of us to resolve to get more exercise. As part of that effort, we might invest in some tools to help us get going. New exercise clothes, walking sneakers, bike tune-ups. To help us keep track of our efforts, we buy a wearable tracking device, like a FitBit or PolarLoop, to give us the data we need to stay on track. But, after a while, we start to lose motivation. Maybe we’re not seeing quick results. Maybe we’re just too busy with commitments that don’t allow for time to exercise. It is hard to create a new routine. One study* found that use of FitBit tracking devices dropped after only 2 weeks, in part because wearers couldn’t easily incorporate them into busy lives. Or, we lose confidence the device’s ability to give accurate data or find that the data is gives isn’t what we need. And, continuous advancements have us replacing our wearable for the newest model. Into a drawer the unused or old model goes.

RecycleHealth will take your unused tracker and donate it to someone who needs it. RecycleHealth donates wearable trackers to fitness research studies with underserved populations, like those with low incomes or the elderly, to find out the best ways to use trackers towards behavior change and health improvement and to learn which trackers suit which behavior change best. They provide a prepaid mailing label so it costs nothing to donate and it tax deductible. They are also interested in partnering with individuals or organizations to collect devices or distribute wearables as part of a research study. Check out their website for more info.

 

*When Fitness Trackers Don’t ‘Fit’: End-User Difficulties in the Assessment of Personal Tracking Device Accuracy
*Use and Adoption Challenges of Wearable Activity Trackers

*Why We Use and Abandon Smart Devices

Visiting the Local Recycling Center

I dropped by the Wachusett Watershed Regional Recycling Center on a recent Monday afternoon, shortly after they opened at 5PM and was pleased to see they were busy. I waited behind 4 cars as several more lined up behind me. To recycle a printer and several CFL light bulbs, I paid just $2. After I checked in and paid my fees, I drove a circuit along which are the areas where the different categories of items are collected. Others were recycling huge pieces of cardboard and a suede sectional couch. The reuse shop was also very busy – the parking lot was nearly full. Inside that building are rows packed with all kinds of items that are useful but no longer wanted by their previous owners. Among the rows, I saw kitchen electronics, luggage, christmas decorations, greeting cards, coffee mugs, roller blades, golf clubs, framed pictures, baskets, and packing bubble wrap. Donating is easy – just stop at the desk as you enter. I left empty-handed that day, but it’s nice to stop in and see what they have every once in a while. Being that busy, the stock probably changes often. It’s made me more motivated to do some spring cleaning and recycling, especially now that the weather’s taking a turn for the better.

Earth Day 2016

Happy Earth Day!

Inspired by the impact of the previous year’s Santa Barbara oil spill, which spread 3 million gallons of crude oil along 35 miles of California’s cost, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin designated April 22, 1970 as Earth Day. He intended to capitalize on the building public awareness of air and water pollution by mobilizing citizens to attend demonstrations and events across the US on that day. Millions of people attended events held in most major cities in the country. That activity led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, 3 major pieces of environmental legislation that are still in place today, and a continued attention to environmental policy issues. Earth Day (designated by the United Nations as International Mother Earth Day in 2009) was celebrated globally in 1990 and the Day has been expanded to a Week in many locations. On Earth Day 2016, 150+ nations will come together at the United Nations to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Despite the doom and gloom about the consequences of climate change, National Geographic put together a list of what is going right in our environmental history, which is a good way to end the day.

Wachusett Region Recycling Events – April 2016

After appreciating the fairly dry winter we’ve had, it’s nice to see buds starting on the trees. I am in a clean out mode and looking to recycle lots of things. Here are some places that are collecting items during the upcoming weeks…

ReFoamit participates in many single-day recycling events to collect Expanded Polystyrene (#6, also known as Styrofoam) and Polyethylene (#4) foam items in Massachusetts, many of which are open to the public. Many residential recycling programs do not accept these foams, so despite their distance from the Wachusett region, these events are a good opportunity to do some recycling. On April 2nd, Girl Scout Troop 30507 and Central One Federal Credit Union are hosting an event in Westboro. The following Saturday, April 9th, the Woodward Green Team from Woodward Memorial School in Southboro will be holding a collection. On April 30th, Grace Congregational Church will hold a collection event. Check out their website for more info about these and other events.

Jordan’s Furniture is once again teaming with Anton’s Cleaners for their Belle of the Ball prom dress collection and boutique. Drop off  like-new prom or cocktail dresses to Jordan’s or Anton’s by March 27th. Girls who aren’t able to afford to purchase a dress attend an invitation-only boutique event to get a dress for their prom or school dance and your dress gets another life.

Many towns and cities now have kiosks that accept unused prescription drugs for disposal. For people without access to these kiosks, the US Drug Enforcement Administration holds events annually to collect unused prescription drugs. This year’s collection will be held on April 30th. Drugs can be dropped off anonymously to a local police station or safety complex that is participating in the program. Check out their website after April 1st, when participating cities and towns will be listed.

New or gently-used books for children in kindergarten through grade 8 can be dropped off at convenient locations in Worcester county during the Worcester – The City That Reads event. Books are distributed to low-income students via social service agencies and school programs. Many locations are within the city of Worcester but a number of companies are holding their own collection drives. The collection sites are listed on the city’s website.

Wachusett Earthday’s recycling center is open 3 days a week and the 3rd Saturday of every month to accept drop-offs of a wide variety of items. Hazardous chemicals are being collected on Saturday, April 16th. They also have a reuse shop where you’ll find lots of items that still have a useful life, including craft supplies, toys, and home goods. See their website to learn what items they accept for recycling and reuse.

Happy Spring !