The Sustainable Art of Tidying Up

Thanks to the popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, households across the country are cleaning out closets and reducing clutter. But, where is all of the cleared out clutter going?

Clothing & Shoes

The EPA estimates that the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing a year, and these items can spend up to 10-15 years in the landfill. Clothing and shoes that are still in quality condition can be donated to second-hand stores. But, items with holes, stains or too damaged for resale can still stay out of the landfill. Organizations such as Boys & Girls Club take textile donations to sell to fiber recycling companies that turn them into insulation. Put them in a bag marked, “scrap material” to make their sorting job easier.


Consider donating newer books to your local library or second-hand store. If they are past their reading age both paperback and hardcover books can be recycled in the mixed paper bin at Recycle Utah. Magazines can go in the paper bin too, just ensure if the magazine is still in plastic packaging you remove the packaging first.

Expired Medicines and Vitamins

Stop flushing those pills down the drain. Medicines and vitamins dumped down the drain end up polluting our waters, impacting wildlife and contaminating our food and water supplies. Most wastewater treatment plants are unable to remove the medicines. Instead take them to the Summit County Sheriff’s office or save them until Recycle Utah and Sunrise Rotary host the spring Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day in April.

Electronic Waste

Still have an old CR TV sitting in your basement or maybe a DVD player you no longer use? Technology changes quickly, and in the ever changing industry it is hard to find a resale market. If you can’t find someone who wants the e-waste make sure you recycle the item responsibly. Electronics have chemicals and heavy metals. When e-waste is thrown into landfills, these chemicals and heavy metals leach into the soil, polluting the ground water as well as the air. Recycle Utah can take electronic waste for a fee to help cover the costs of processing materials responsibly.

While you are tidying up your house, remember, very little actually needs to be sent to the landfill. Check out our full list of items of what we take on our site.