I'll make this quick and dirty since we bought a new house and I've got some packing to do (woo hoo!). While getting our current place ready for sale over the past several months, I've been decluttering whenever I can (my rowhouse neighbors and I both love freecycle, fortunately, so they have been extraordinarily good sports about the revolving door of neatly labeled bags on my front porch) . Some things, though, are just past their prime. Big, hulking things like my love seat.
Now, my love seat has seen my family through some good times. My husband and I bought it together (one of the few pieces of furniture we've ever gotten - we are lucky in the hand me down department) back when we lived in California. We paid extra to slather it with some type of
Fast forward eleven years. Since the love seat saved our marriage, we'd gotten a delightfully spoiled 85-pound dog who liked the Marriage Saver very much, thank you. Right after he'd turned around a few times and scratched, right through the stain-repelling fabric, into the foam interior! Sandra Steingraber had a few nightmares just because of our love seat. We did try a couple different sofa covers before giving up in despair. I mean, it's not like we were going to declaw our canine. And that animal? Wasn't going to sleep on hardwood or tile, baby. (Don't ask - he ate dog beds like some pets eat Snausages). Plus, we had Sharpie-wielding, peeing children by this point. So why get a new sofa?
The answer, it turns out, is that the
So, like my poor shattered carseat, I turned to a company that's working hard to make sure our old crap doesn't just get kicked to the landfill curb. Back when I was trying to get a recycling program started at my kid's school last fall? An amazing woman named Linden Coyne stepped forward and offered her company's services to set up a program for us for free (we later got accepted as part of a DC Public Works/DC Public Schools pilot program so we didn't have to take her up on her offer, but how cool was that?). I knew she was the person to turn to to deal with the Eyesore.
I shot Linden an email, and the rest was history. For $100, Linden came and hauled away my eyesore. Plus, she promised me that if she couldn't find someone to actually use the sofa (what a sweet optimist, eh?), her company would dig down into the love seat and remove the steel frame -- to be recycled. Cool, huh? Well, she was even cooler than that. She told me that if I was willing to dig deep myself, our city's bulk pickup would handle the frame and take it to be recycled for free! Who tries to lose business to save a customer money?! Luckily for Linden's company (Junk In The Trunk), there's no way I'm ripping into a bunch of flame-retardant foam around my kids. So $100 later? Problem solved.
My policy rec? You know how you can get a tax write-off for donating goods to charitable organizations? What if you could take a tax deduction for paying companies to do right by your waste? Not like I begrudge the companies that took care of recycling the parts of my car seat and love seat, but it wasn't cheap to do the right thing. I'd love it if there were some way our government encouraged people to follow suit.