Everyone has items in their house that they no longer want or can no longer use. Most of the time, these items wind up either in the trash or at a yard sale.
Beth McFadyn says there is a much better alternative.
McFadyn, a member of the Tewksbury Congregational Church, is organizing the church's second annual Zero Waste Day -- a day when residents can turn their unwanted "clutter" into a boon for area non-profit agencies.
The event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Wynn Middle School. Residents can bring anything and everything from televisions, to computers, to clothing to furniture and everything in between.
"Last year we had 400 vehicles drive through and make donations," said McFadyn, who has worked cooperatively on the project with the Tewksbury Recycling Committee. "We're hoping for 400 again this year."
A dozen area charities are participating in Zero Waste day. They include:
- Big Brother Big Sister
- Bikes Not Bombs
- Boston Building Material Resource Center
- Community Giving Tree
- Got Books
- Lazarus House
- Lowell Wish Project
- MSPCA/Nevins Farm
- Saint Vincent de Paul
- Paper Retriever
- Lowell Humane Society
- Project Home Again
The concept is simple. People come and drop of items and the charities, many of which come with large trailers, take them. From there, the items are used to help underprivileged families throughout the area.
The only requirement is that the items be usable. Junk will not be accepted.
"I tell people, don't give anything that you wouldn't give to a friend," said McFadyn. "Sometimes the charities give the items directly to families. Other times they sell them at discounted prices in their thrift shops, then they use the money from the sales to fund their programs that help other families."
Some of the programs are quite unique. Bikes Not Bombs, for example, refurbishes used bicycles and sends them to children in impoverished nations around the world. The Boston Building Material Resource Center provides materials for low-income projects.
The donations are tax deductible and receipts will be provided on request.
McFadyn says the idea for Tewskbury's Zero Waste Day came from a similar program in Andover.
"Andover does such a great job with theirs," she said. "Our secondary goal this year is to inspire other communities to start Zero Waste Days in their towns."
Tewksbury's event is a true team effort. In addition to help from the recycling committee, McFadyn also has manpower in the form of the Tewksbury Congregational Church Community Outreach Team.
"We get a lot of volunteer support through the church," she said.
Acceptable donation items include (but aren't limited to) the following: Clothing, Shoes, Household, Goods, Furniture, Decorative Items, Bikes (without rust), Building Supplies, Books, CDs, Videotapes, DVDs, Baby Gear, Linens, Pet Supplies, Appliances.
While most items can be donated for free, some have a small fee. TV's cost $10-20 depending on size, appliances are $10, computers and moniters are $5 and small appliances are $1. McFadyn says the fee is much cheaper than usual recycling charges.
In addition, if you donate a bag of clothes or books to Big Brother and Big Sister, they will recycle your computer or monitor for free.
For more information on Zero Waste Day, log onto: http://tewksburycc.org/zerowasteday/