In the midst of economic hardship for the working class and a climate emergency, the last place any usable good should go is a landfill. Donations are a great way to connect with your community, give back, and earn write–offs for your taxable income (although not every organization offers tax receipts). They also can extend the life of your purchases so that other people and the planet can both benefit as less refuse winds up in the ocean and underground. While this piece will focus on office supplies, you can also use a lot of these resources to find places that accept all sorts of donations or goods to recycle.
Please note: While donations and recycling are great options, the BEST way to reduce waste is to REDUCE our consumption.
The good old Salvation Army can handle a variety of pickups for a range of good like furniture, appliances, and clothing.
Savers partners with a range of non-profits (including some of the ones on this list) by paying them for the donated products and then selling them in their thrift stores. They accept books, electronics, small furniture and appliances, clothes and more.
Habitat for Humanity
Your local ReStore will happily take items that can be resold to raise funds for builds. This is a great option if you have leftover building materials after a renovation or build out.
Human IT accepts most electronics, and office and warehouse equipment. They have a nationwide pick-up and delivery network and repair, refurbish, and repurpose all donations when necessary. They also provide discounted internet access and digital literacy training.
Computers with Causes
Computers with Causes allows you to donate computers, scanners, routers, and other electronics. They repair and refurbish the donations so that they can help their national network of organizations.
This non-profit recycling and reuse network allows you to “offer” anything for donation. After filling out their simple form, they will connect you to an organization that accepts what you’ve got!
You can use this nifty resource to find schools in your area in need of supplies like pens, art supplies, or organizational materials.
Vietnam Veterans of America
You can support veterans across the US by donating your furniture and other supplies to the Vietnam Veterans of America. With networks in over 30 states, they can more likely than not pick up your items, too.
The Freecycle Network
You can use The Freecycle Network to offer up anything that may be of use to someone else. It’s like a Craigslist where people can post what they need, you can post what you have to give, and make the connections to get these items redistributed.
Donate by Location
Donate NYC is an online directory that will connect you with organizations that will accept anything you’d like to donate. You can search by the kinds of items and see locations all around the city to select the cause you’d like to support.
Scrap takes a variety of materials from textiles to office supplies and breathes new life into them through art, while financial donations support a range of creative programming.
LA Shares takes donated furniture and supplies from local businesses and redistributes them free of charge to local non-profits.
The WasteShed in Chicago has a similar mission to SF’s Scrap, taking office supplies and art supplies and repurposing them for art projects. If they can’t take what you have to give, they’ll do their best to redirect you to an organization that can.
Zero Waste DC provides a list of resources specific to the DC area for all your donation and recycling needs.
The Career Wardrobe resells business attire at a discount, so if you’ve been looking for a place for your tired blazers to find new life, this is the place. They also may take office supplies from time to time.
In the Greater Miami area, Miami Rescue Mission will take all sorts of office supplies and other items either in their offices or to sell in their thrift stores. They serve the unhoused population in Miami and are an extremely kind group of people. (I dropped a few boxes of excess office supplies to them last year and it was so easy.)
I haven’t forgotten about our Canada-based readers! The Toronto Wildlife Centre accepts a range of office supplies and electronics. Specifics are in their wishlist.
Another haven for the arts, Austin Creative Reuse will take most office supplies with some exceptions that are outlined on their website. They are currently accepting donations by appointment only.
Develop Africa helps 87 schools in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leon, and Tanzania supply their classrooms with a range of supplies necessary for an effective classroom experience.
Pens for Kids
Founded in Switzerland, Pens for Kids coordinates the delivery of pens and other school supplies to their liaisons in Africa that distribute them to school–age children. You can send directly to Africa or to the coordination center in Switzerland.
Not everything is fit to be donated. If it can’t be reused or donated, we can find ways to recycle these goods. Recycling doesn’t have to be a hassle, either; if your office building or city doesn’t have a way to recycle paper, you can hire some outside help. Plenty of companies offer bulk recycling for larger corporations that produce a lot of paper waste. Here are some other options for your recycling search.
You can use a nifty search tool like Earth 911 to find places where you can recycle everything from paper to batteries and everything in between. Many of these places will offer pick up services for a large enough load.
TerraCycle is an amazing resource for finding free, national recycling programs for a range of hard-to–recycle products. From toothpaste and coffee pods to stationery and Solo cups, you can find a program for almost anything you’d prefer to recycle instead of throw away.
Recycle by City
If you’re located in Austin, Chicago, Flagstaff, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sedona or West Hollywood, Recycle by City can help you find the right facilities to recycle all sorts of supplies and goods.
Go forth and de-clutter knowing you’re doing so more responsibly. Spring cleaning never felt so good.
About the author.
Alessandra is the mentor, educator, and writer behind Boneseed, a private practice devoted to deep self-inquiry through a range of physical, energetic, and mental modalities. She has over 500 hours of yoga, mentorship, and facilitation training and can be found slinging knowledge on her website, newsletter, and @bone.seed.