Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to pretty much ride through every street within our city limits on multiple occasions.

During this time, my eyes have really been opened to the huge problem we have with sending “usable” items to the landfill to be disposed of. Some of the items I have seen at the curb include clothing, shoes, furniture, books, toys, bicycles, tools, electronics and home décor items.

Clothing (cotton, mixed fibers and nylon): 100 percent cotton clothing takes a couple of months to decompose, however, mixed blend clothing can take as long as 200 years to fully biodegrade.

Shoes: Leather shoes take up to 40 years to decompose while rubber shoe soles take up to 80 years to decompose.

Furniture (wood and metal): Painted/treated wood takes 13 years to decompose and cannot be recycled due to being treated with chemicals. Scrap metal should never, ever go in the landfill, it is much more useful to recycle and repurpose it into something new. Depending on the type of metal, it can take as long as 500 years to decompose.

Books: Books take a couple of weeks to decompose.

Toys: Kids’ toys are made with so many different materials that they are nearly impossible to recycle, and depending on the materials, can take up to 1,000 years to fully decompose.

Bicycles: the aluminum/metal on bicycles can take up to 200 years to decompose and is actually one of the easiest materials to recycle. Tires can take up to 80 years to decompose and the synthetic materials in tires are bad for the environment.

Electronics: TV’s, computers and other old electronics can leak toxic chemicals, such as lead and mercury into the landfill’s surrounding soil.

There are many local nonprofits that would love to take your donations. Many of these nonprofits will come to you to pick up donations and your donations are tax deductible.

Local nonprofits that accept your donations include:

  • The Salvation Army Thrift Store — Items accepted include shoes and accessories, household items, collectibles, furniture, clothing of any type, jewelry, antiques, linens, small electrical items, pianos and organs, computers, laptops and other electronic items, exercise equipment and vehicles. Donations may be dropped off at 2153 Lawrence Circle or call 252-446-4496 to schedule a pick-up.
  • Habitat For Humanity Restore — Items accepted include new and gently used furniture, home goods, appliances, electronics and building materials. Donations may be dropped off at 627 Tarrytown Mall or call 252-972-1994 to schedule a pick-up.
  • Injoy Thrift Store — Items accepted include shoes, accessories, household items, collectibles, furniture, clothing of any type, jewelry, antiques, linens, bicycles, toys and electrical items. Donations may be dropped off at 1020 Liberty Lane or call 252-442-8484 to schedule a pick-up.
  • A Second Season Resale Store, benefitting “My Sisters House” — Items accepted include clothing for kids, men and women, purses and shoes. Donations may be dropped off at 1360 Benvenue Plaza.
  • Goodwill Community Foundation — Items accepted include shoes, accessories, household items, collectibles, clothing of any type, jewelry, linens, toys and electrical items. Donations may be dropped off at 2824 Zebulon Road or call 252-446-4639 to schedule a pick-up.

Please call 252-467-4960 for more information.