Written by: Emily Mills


This summer, I moved into a new apartment. It’s my first place on my own, and there was a lot of work to do when we moved in. The place was dirty and full of trash, and it would have been very easy to throw it all away and never look back. However, interning at TerraCycle has changed the way that I approach “waste,” so I took some extra time and tried to be more creative with the way I cleaned up. Here are some things I learned to help keep your clean up environmentally friendly.


There was a huge computer monitor sitting in the entryway of the house. Instead of just taking it to the dump, I decided to do a little research about how to safely recycle this. Sometimes local businesses hold large collections for e-waste, but unfortunately there weren’t any in my area. That’s when I learned that you can take your e-waste to BestBuy, and they will dispose of it for you. By taking some time to research the resources available to you, it is possible to keep toxic waste out of a landfill.

Clothing & Other Small Items:

There were some clothes lying around the house when I moved in. Some of the nicer things went to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and I tore up the rattier-looking clothes to use as dust rags. There was also an unopened bag of kitty litter, which I donated to a local shelter. I also found some cleaning products that were still useful, so I adopted them as my own.


Also in the entryway, there was a wrapped, unused box spring and a broken dresser with a mirror. Instead of just throwing them away, I took the box spring and mirror over to the closest Salvation Army so that someone else can use them. I then took the drawers out of the dresser and spray painted it black. Today, it is in our living room as an entertainment center. Just because the drawers were broken didn’t mean the dresser was totally useless.


We live in a duplex, with other girls living upstairs. They are not very clean, and did not correctly separate their trash and recycling. I bought a few more bins and made sure that our recycling and trash are carefully separated, and I have made sure that large boxes are taken apart and recycled properly to save space.

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