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A to Z Recycling

26 ways to get your old stuff into the right hands

Is your house growing tight around the middle? Consider this alphabet soup as your diet to lean down.

Antiques and Art
    These have potential value. Search online, include collector clubs.
    Ebay may be a sales route and offers research leads.
    Antique stores. Call ahead.

Building Materials
    Donate new, surplus and salvaged supplies and fixtures. Pick-up available.
    Community Forklift, Edmonston, 301-985-5180,
    Habitat ReStore, various locations, sales benefit Habitat for Humanity.
    The Loading Dock: This 28-year-old nonprofit links the building trades with retail clients and helps low-income residents. Baltimore, 410-558-3625,

Craft Supplies
    Scrap D.C. accepts craft and art material, including fabric. Washington, D.C.,
    Local schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and community centers.
Doggie and Kittie Stuff
    SPCA of Anne Arundel County accepts donations of premium dog and cat food, towels, blankets, shampoo and more. Check the online wish list: Annapolis, 410-268-4388.
    Humane Society of Calvert County has a similar wish list: Sunderland, 410-257-4908.
    Calvert Animal Welfare League: 1040 Prince Frederick Blvd., Prince Frederick, 410-535-9300,
    Patuxent Animal Welfare Society: Lusby, 410-326-1616,
    To help owners afford neutering and spaying, donate household, sports items and clothes to The Spot, St. Leonard, 410-562-6516,

Expanded Polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam)
    Recycling centers do not accept foam packaging. Instead, take it to EPS Industry Alliance in Crofton. Styrofoam  must be clean; no take-out boxes, cups or other food containers. 800-607-3772,
    UPS Stores accept clean packing peanuts:

    Anne Arundel County Foodbank supplies food pantries and soup kitchens. Call ahead. Crownsville, 410-923-4255,
    End Hunger Calvert: One of many groups in Calvert County working to end hunger through donations of food and skills training for people in need. Huntingtown, 410-257-5672,

Garden Equipment
    Local organizations that run community gardens or sharing gardens, such as Grow Annapolis ( and the Goshen Farm Preservation Society ( are often in need of garden equipment.

Horseless Carriages and Car Parts
    Many nonprofits accept used vehicles, including boats and RVs, typically auctioned for fundraising.
    Vocational and technical schools need used cars to work on.
    The Anne Arundel County Food Bank also accepts working vehicles for clients who need transportation for work but cannot afford to buy a car.
    Car Swap Meets and Cruise-Ins: Collectors have specialized tastes for both whole vehicles and parts.

Indian Saris and Other Clothing
    Consignment Stores. Align donations with the seasons. Clothing must be clean, free of rips and stains, with all buttons and zippers intact.
    School Drama Departments & Local Theatre Groups: Anything may be welcome, but especially vintage clothing and props.
    Dress for Success ( and Suited for Change ( accept business attire for job-seeking women.
    Local churches offer periodic, donation-based days of clothing and other household items.
    Drop boxes are convenient, although do you know what they do with your donations? They’re a good place for unusable fabric, which is bulked and sold.

    Antique and second-hand stores accept costume and high-end pieces.
    Local jewelers appraise and often buy estate pieces. Do your homework and check several stores for prices.

The Kitchen Sink
    Annmarie Garden repurposes cast-off items into art at the Garden’s new Art Lab. “The quirkier, the better!” says Jaimie Jeffrey. See the wish list at Solomons, 410-326-4640.
    Goodwill, Salvation Army, Purple Heart and others accept clothing and usable housewares. Purple Heart sends out reminders when the truck comes to your neighborhood.
    At, find your local Yahoo Group and e-mail a member request. There’s no fee. Takers come to your house — or a mutually arranged spot — to pick up.

LPs, CDs and Other Recordings
    Used Music Stores: Get cash or trade credit for your music at stores such as CD Depot and CD Cellar. KA-CHUNK!! Records in Annapolis buys used LPs and 45s. If you just want to pass the music along, try Freecycle.
    Libraries may accept CDs and DVDs.
    Compact discs are No. 7 plastic and require special handling to be recycled. The New Hampshire–based CD Recycling Center of America provides specialized recycling for CDs, DVDs and other items by mail:

Medical Supplies and Equipment
    A friend found a willing taker for a full box of sterile tracheostomy-cleaning kits in the Anne Arundel County Food Bank: Crownsville, 410-923-4255,

Novels and Other Books
    Many used book stores offer cash or trade credit. Try Second Look Books in the Fox Run Shopping Center, Prince Frederick: 410-535-6897.
    Books for International Goodwill (B.I.G.): Parole Rotary collects books of all types, including textbooks, to distribute to groups around the world. B.I.G. also has periodic local sales. Pay to ship your book to a member who wants it, just as others pay to ship to you.

Oxen Yokes and Farm-Related Stuff
    Future Harvest CASA — Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture ( and PASA — the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture ( hold annual conferences with silent auctions. Donate that old butter churn.

Paper of Various Makes
    For magazines and unused greeting cards, try senior centers, hospitals and nursing homes. Calendars may be used for children’s crafts.
    Consider dropping your paper into one of the yellow Abitibi Paper Retrievers found at many schools and churches. Abitibi, a paper company, pays these organizations for the paper. No corrugated cardboard.

Quivers and Other Quirky Stuff
    If you have local items that are part of history, look to historical societies, associations and museums.

Refrigerators and Appliances works pretty well for getting rid of older, large appliances in good condition.
    County recycling centers also take appliances, ensuring that they are disposed of properly.

Sail and Power Boats
    The Keep Kids Busy Foundation located at Herrington Harbour North in Tracy’s Landing accepts boats, both wood and fiberglass, for reconstruction. Check with local sailing groups: many seek donated boats.
    If you want to make money from your old boat, try Bay Weekly’s guaranteed classified ads, where for one low price your boat will run until it sells. If all else fails, boats donated to charity will earn you a tax credit.
    Second Wind Consignments in Deale accepts tools: 410-867-0480,
    Tools are good sellers at flea markets and yard sales.

Upholstered Couches and Other Furniture
    Antique and consignment stores like Echoes and Accents in Annapolis accept furniture: 410-280-8800, Condition is an issue, even for donations. Goodwill, among others, throws out items in poor condition.

Veggie Seeds and Plants
    Overrun in the garden? Grow Annapolis ( accepts plants for school and community gardens. Members of Calvert Eats Local ( are also traders. Contact local garden clubs. Many have sales this time of year.

Xylophones and Other Musical Instruments
    Local music stores may consign instruments or buy them outright. School music programs may also take your unwanted instruments.
Ylang Ylang and Other Essential Oils and Toiletries
    A purchase doesn’t work as you hoped. Some stores (including Traders Joe’s) take back such things, even if opened. Others won’t. Crisis centers and shelters seek unopened toiletries.

Zoo-Type Animals and Other Exotics
    Never release pets of any sort into the wild. It’s unfair to the animal and to the local ecosystem. Some pet stores take exotics. House of Tropicals in Glen Burnie is one: