Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ready to Go!


cover of Downsizing Donation Guide

It’s online! The Downsizing Donation Guide was funded by a grant I received from Recycle CT one year ago. The Downsizing Donation Guide is available on the home page of the HomeHaven website for all to read and download (www.homehavenvillages.org.).

The goal of The Downsizing Donation Guide is to keep useful items being removed from people’s homes or businesses as they downsize out of the waste stream and out of recycling bins. Its broader mission is to help residents of New Haven County find a new life for these items with groups that will use them.

Forty-three organizations from across New Haven County participated in the project. Each supplied a wishlist of needed items and instructions on how to donate them. Most wishlists are very specific. Some are very short, others long. Some items are for immediate consumption (food); others are meant to provide a lifetime of joy (musical instruments, golf clubs). Most requests are for goods for use in ongoing programs. Some will be sold to raise funds for programming. 

Wishlist requests range from alarm clocks to violins, from garden tools to wheelchairs, from bicycles to pickup trucks [on three wishlists!]. Some wishlists contain such challenging to donate items as musical instruments, pet supplies, medical equipment, and knicknacks!  Many requests are items to fulfill basic human needs: bed linens, canned goods, cleaning supplies, diapers, paper products, toiletries, and towels, all items likely to be left behind if a person is making a long-distance move, transitioning to assisted living, or settling an estate.

The project proved useful even before The Downsizing Donation Guide was completed. One of the participating organizations contacted me to ask if I knew of anyone who might be interested in 200 chair covers they had been offered but could not use. I was able to connect them with someone who was looking for that very thing! 

While the primary purpose of this guide is to find new life for still useful things, it is my hope that as you explore The Downsizing Donation Guide you may also discover some new organizations of interest, or even of service, to you or someone you know.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”- Vincent Van Gogh

If you make a donation as a result of The Downsizing Donation Guide, please tell the organization how you heard about their needs.

Please share the The Downsizing Donation Guide with friends and colleagues whenever you have the opportunity. Happy downsizing!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Downsizing for Good

Calling all not for profits in New Haven County! I have an opportunity for you.

As the recipient of an Innovation Grant from RecycleCT, I am contacting not-for-profits in New Haven County seeking wish lists of gently used goods that will benefit their organizations. I will be compiling this information into a resource called “The Downsizing Donation Guide,” a best practices guide for donating goods to not-for-profits in New Haven County. 

This project’s major goal is to keep useful items being downsized or discarded from people’s homes out of the waste stream and out of recycling bins, directly benefitting groups that can use them. 

Anyone who has tried to downsize their own belonging or those of a loved one is familiar with the problem. There are so many potentially useful things and the prospect of finding them a good home is daunting. 

It is my hope that this e-guide will benefit both agencies (who need specific items) and those who are downsizing (who don't).

The material will be organized in the form of a pdf booklet, broken into two alphabetical sections. 
  • The first part of the booklet is a listing of goods, arranged alphabetically by category, along with the agency(ies) accepting a given type of item, such as “books."
  • The second part is an alphabetical compilation of participating agencies. Each agency has a page that includes a mission statement, a wish list, and clear instructions for making donations.
I am working with HomeHavenVillages.org, a not-for-profit serving Greater New Haven, whose mission is to support its members’ desire to remain in their own homes as they grow older.  When completed in April, “The Downsizing Donation Guide” will be shared with the participating agencies, distributed through HomeHaven’s email list, and posted on such sites as RecycleCT, public libraries, and the recycling section of each city and town’s website.

If you would like to participate in this project or have a suggestion for an agency to include, please email DownsizingDonationGuide@piroet.com for more information.

I am trying to publicize as many agencies as possible and to solicit as wide a range of donations as possible. So please participate!

Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Getting Your Recycling Right



Recycling has been the law in Connecticut since 1991. In 2015 residents and business recycled and composted about 35% of our state’s waste, a rate that has remained relatively flat over the past decade. Each of us is sending about about 4 pounds of trash per day, or  ¾ ton of trash a year to be burned or buried. We can and we must do better.

If done correctly, recycling saves our cities and towns money; recycling costs less than landfilling or incineration. Residential mixed recycling collected curbside or at transfer stations is brought to one of five material recovery facilities (MRF)  in Connecticut. The MRF employs people and technology to separate out aluminum, tin/steel, paper, plastic and glass containers. These materials are processed and baled or boxed and sold to manufacturers looking for those raw materials to make new products.  

If recycling is done incorrectly, it can contaminate the entire batch sending it all to the incinerator to be burned instead of being sold for reuse.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has issued a universal list of what belongs in your recycling bin and what does not. This graphic has been branded for distribution in New Haven, but the rules are the same whether you live in New Haven or Coventry, Greenwich or Hartford. You can get your own printable guide here. Forget trying to recycle by using the numbers stamped on plastic containers. Use this guide instead. You can read more here to learn why. 


The guide is not perfect. The wording is at times confusing. As an example, what is a “spiral wound container?” But the guide is a good start, and if you have any questions about what is in or what is out, just ask the RecycleCT Wizard found on the RecycleCT website

There’s more…

Just because something is designated as an “out,” that does not mean you should put it in the trash. Check out the site’s “Beyond the Bin” tab. You can either use the “Wizard” or search alphabetically to learn how to recycle items from antifreeze to yoga mats.

FYI For those of you reading this in the New Haven area, you only have a few more dates (October 13, 20, and 27) to get your hazardous waste to HazWaste Central before it closes for the season. To be sure your items are eligible, review the online user registration form. It will save time if you fill out the form in advance, print it out and bring it with you. Since 1990, HazWaste Central has collected over one million gallons of waste from more than 113,000 households. 

Here is something we can do that will make a difference! Just how big a difference depends on how many others we can get to do the same. Spread the word in your home, neighborhood, city. For inspiration check out the materials promoting CT Recycles Day on November 15. 

In the words of the Lorax:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” ― Dr. Seuss