Recycle Where? is a great tool for helping Bay Area residents determine how to donate, recycle, or responsibly dispose of unwanted items. Simply type the name of the item you are looking to donate into the search bar and up pops a list of organizations that can accept the item. Easy! The website is a collaboration between the city of San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the city of Palo Alto.
Their website states:
"The goal of Recycle Where? is to reduce waste by providing accurate information about recycling, reuse, and proper disposal options for residents and businesses without regard to traditional municipal boundaries."
The next time you are stumped with a donation or disposal item, give Recycle Where? a try!
The Children's Book Project is a wonderful San Francisco non-profit that is dedicated to providing free books to Bay Area children. Their website states:
"The Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by providing new and gently used books for free to children who need them. Since 1992, we have given away over 2.7 million books for children in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Research shows that children to whom books are read have an easier time learning to read than those who don’t have this experience. In addition, evidence shows that reading aloud to children actually helps their brain development. However, many children in the Bay Area and beyond live in homes without books and attend schools and programs where books are in short supply. Encouraging reading is not enough when families do not have books."
The Children's Book Project is always in need of new or gently used, books for children of all ages, from infants through teens. Books can be donated on-site or at one of the many blue "Book Bags" at retailers around the city. Here is a list of all retailers with Book Bag donation sites.
They especially need:
The Children's Book Project
1360 43rd Avenue, room 105
Donation Spotlight for November!
Goodwill sells goods to break the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through free training and work placement programs. Goodwill has donation sites all over the bay area.
Their website states:
"Each year, nonprofit Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin breaks the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through our transformative free training and work placement programs. Goodwill serves anyone who comes through our doors with a willingness to work."
Things they accept are:
My current favorite Goodwill donation location:
1690 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Mon-Sat 9am-8pm • Sun 10am-7pm
Donate at one of their 25 dropoff locations.
Donation Spotlight for October!
Community Thrift Store is a wonderful San Francisco non-profit thrift store. They serve dozens of charity organizations such as Meals on Wheels, The Boys and Girls Club, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, and La Casa De Las Madres. Their website states:
"Community Thrift is an independent and non-discriminatory establishment -- when you donate with us you can pick your favorite charity! We accept donations on behalf of our charity partners, sell the items in our store, and then disburse the proceeds."
Items they accept for resale are:
Community Thrift Store
623 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA
Donation Spotlight for September!
Animal Care and Control is the city-run animal shelter in San Francisco. It's also where my husband and I adopted our beloved Chow Rocco many years ago! Their website states:
"San Francisco Animal Care & Control keeps our community safe and protects all animals from abuse, neglect, and cruelty. SFACC is the City’s only open admission shelter; we accept all animals regardless of temperament, medical condition, or species. We rehabilitate and reunite animals with their owners, rehome the orphans, and assist wildlife."
The shelter has many donation needs! Items may be dropped off at SFACC during normal operating hours. Things they are in need of are:
SAN FRANCISCO ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROL
1200 15th Street
San Francisco, CA
If you enjoyed this post check out Where can I Donate this? SCRAP!
Photograph by Erik Auerbach
Donation Spotlight for May!
I have long been a fan of First Exposures, a youth-mentoring program centered around photography. Their website states:
"First Exposures is a San Francisco-based, nationally recognized youth mentoring program that strives to make a major long-term difference in the lives of high-need, underserved San Francisco Bay Area youth by providing a venue for them to enhance their self-confidence, develop their creativity, and gain a passion for learning."
If you have a camera, film or photo paper that you no longer need, consider donating them to this great organization! Email First Exposures at email@example.com with your donations or questions. Below is a list of items they could use.
RayKo Photo Center
428 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Donation Spotlight for April!
I recently came across a great nonprofit organization called Bike Kitchen. Their website states:
"The Bike Kitchen teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles. The Bike Kitchen promotes personal development and provides leadership opportunities. Operating as a cooperative shop, we provide affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike, encourage re-use and recycling, and work with community groups to get more people on bicycles."
How great! If you have some bikes or bike parts that you no longer need, consider donating them to this great organization!
650H Florida Street, San Francisco, CA
If you love discovering strange places, let me introduce you to Building Resources.
Building Resources is San Francisco's only salvage yard and a great source for reusable building and landscaping materials. With rows of old doors, windows, furniture, tumbled glass and tile, you can find things both strange and wonderful! I recently picked up a stained glass window I couldn't live without. Building Resources is also a great place to donate old house parts or garden art, furniture that has seen better days or scrap metal and wood. Stop by and get inspired!
701 Amador Street, San Francisco, CA
Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the basics! If you have an organizing project and don't know where to start, look no further than this quick guide! It's all about the basics.
1) SET ASIDE TIME: Block of 3 hours to start your project. Make this a time with no interruptions. No kids or phones!
2) START SMALL: Pick a room and choose a small area, such as your desktop or one drawer to start.
3) ASK QUESTIONS: For every object, as yourself, do you want it, love it, or need it? If the answer is "no" let it go!
4) CAN IT BE DONATED? Donate items that still have use! Check out my favorite donation organizations here.
5) HOW ABOUT RECYCLED? Can't donate it? Use the RecycleWhere tool to find recycling and responsible disposal options.
6) KEEP GOING: Stay focused on your chosen area and your work will pay off! If you need some extra help, feel free to book a session!
Top left photo: Pearl the Falcon. Bottom left photo of Recycling Center: Photograph © Sven Eberlein.
Right photo: Erin in hard hat and vest on tour.
Every Wednesday night I haul three bins into the sidewalk. One Black, one blue and one green. Of course, I had a general understanding of where my trash went, but now my understanding goes great deal further.
Recently I toured Recology's San Francisco Transfer Station and Recycling Center. On the tour, we learned about San Francisco's goal of zero waste - the most ambitious in the country - and how we can help achieve that goal by properly recycling and composting. We toured the Environmental Education Center, the Artist in Residence studios, sculpture gardens, and the dump transfer station. We also met a falcon named Pearl who is used to deter (but not harm) the many seagulls that flock to the station. She was absolutely beautiful!!
We then drove to the Pier 96 Recycling Center. This center really blew my mind! It's like walking into an octopus of conveyer belts! It's a 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art recycling center. Things are moving all around you. People and machines are hard at work sorting our recycling, and it's LOUD! It's actually kind of hard to comprehend everything that is happening as you walk through the center. It's amazing, enlightening and sobering.
The sheer amount of stuff we throw away and recycle is staggering. Of course, recycling is better than landfill, but that plastic will still be around in thousands of years, even if it's recycled. This trip really made me want to double down on my efforts to use less plastic and create less waste in general. Here is a great post by Sven Eberlein about the new center. It really gives you an idea of the size and feel of this massive place!
If you live in San Francisco, I highly encourage you to take one of these tours! They are free, happen twice a month and anyone can attend! Found out more here.
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a