Learning the Do’s and Don’ts of Donating with Dignity is easy. Here we offer you simple tips to make sure you are donating and not dumping.

First, ask yourself some simple questions:

  • Is this item damaged? This could include stains, rips, broken zippers or odd smells on clothing or other linens. It may also mean cracks and chips on dishware.
  • Are there missing pieces/pairs? A hand mixer with only one beater. A puzzle with only half of the pieces. A manual that is missing the CD.
  • For tools and electrical items, does it work/is it safe? Will that camera take a picture? Does the fan work on all settings or only the lowest/highest? Is the cord on the electric lawnmower “shredded?”
  • Is this item so out-of-date it’s no longer useful? VHS tapes of old Jane Fonda workouts or your old SAT study guide from the 80’s you thought your kids might need.

If you answered yes to any of the above, the items you’re thinking of donating may be better off at the dump. See below for “alternative donation/recycling ideas.”

Donating Smart!

Local organizations want to help you donate smart. See below for hints and tips from several agencies designed to help focus donations to the needs of the groups served. When in doubt, you can always reach out to the organization directly and ask if the item you wish to donate would be appropriate. They’ll give you the straight scoop.

Alternative Donation/Recycling Ideas

When it’s time to dump instead of donate, keep recycling centers in mind. Below are a couple of options for making the most of what you dump.

Who we are and what we do
Helpful Hints to Dump/Recycle Responsibly!

Montgomery County Transfer Station

MCTS offers recycling and trash collection options. Open 7 days a week, MCTS is conveniently located just off of Shady Grove Road

Visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/dropoff/ for a listing of items accepted for recycling and trash.

Community Forklift

CF is a nonprofit reuse center for home improvement supplies. They pick up donations of unwanted and salvaged building materials throughout the metro DC region. Then, they make the building materials available to the public at low cost, and provide vintage materials for restoring old homes. They also offer public education about reuse, and distribute free supplies to local nonprofits and neighbors in need.

Visit http://communityforklift.org/donate/donate-materials/ for ideas on how your old building materials could be transformed into something new!