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Spring Cleaning Promotes “Tossing Out” Culture

spring cleaning declutter electronics waste

There is something so restorative about spring cleaning. It is a yearly ritual where you spend time reorganizing all your belongings and understand what is in your best interest and what no longer serves you.

For me, spring cleaning is fun because it gives me the space & time to go through any products that are basically empty, purge things that don’t work, and get rid of clothes that I no longer wear or “give me joy” as Marie Kondo would say.

Do you feel excited when you get rid of things? In the past, I would clear out my spaces and obsessed over the new Feng Shui it brought me. The problem is the “how to” part of getting rid of items was not given much thought. Taking the time to look into how to properly dispose each item felt like a waste of my time, and was just slowing me down in finding my new self in this more minimalistic persona. This is better known as ‘Instant Gratification.

Jumping on the Minimalism Trend

spring cleaning minimalism

We love convenience. It takes about 5 minutes to toss everything in the garbage after a good spring cleaning. It takes a few weeks to properly recycle items and have them taken to specific drop-off locations.

But for 2023 and beyond, convenience is no longer our friend. It is our comfort zone, our quick sand, our enemy. Convenience is the road to a dead world.

Good news is that consumers are becoming more and more aware of their consumption and whether the companies they support meet their values. We are starting to see less as more. We recognize the impact it has on our well-being, mental health, and money habits.

We are also seeing this concept translated to social media, as TV shows, books, and growing sustainability trends are on the rise, trail-blazed by popular names such as The Minimalists or The Home Edit.

A word of caution

Whether it’s Marie Kondo, The Minimalist, Joanna & Clea, or someone else, they are all providing us with something new. They bring a new outlook on how we organize, clean, purge, and live in general. But trends are trends for a reason. They become big quickly and when things get a bit more complicated and fuzzy, we jump to the next best form of convenience.

We can hug our clothes, thank them, and sort them in to piles, but how are we 100% certain these clothes will end up where we intend. But after a spring clean and we donate them, how sure are we that they won’t just end up in the landfill because no one else wants it?

When we take the time to spring clean, how likely is it that we are going to spend hours making sure each item is recycled properly? What happens if we get overwhelmed, or run out of time? The trash can starts to look mighty ideal at that point.

Case Study: Recycling My Dead Airpods

airpods declutter electronic waste spring cleaning

So my Airpods died. They just stopped playing music although they still can be charged. Not sure.

Shame on me for not getting warranty, BUT even with warranty, I would assume Apple would send me a new pair anyways. So where does that old pair go? What do I do with my dead Airpods that I have now? In the past, I would pass these over to my mom and let her deal with it. But now that I live on my own, I actually felt a bit dumbfounded when trying to figure out what to do with them.

Electronic waste has become the fastest-growing type of waste worldwide, with many items being single-use products.  Sure they last a few years of usage longer than a single-use straw would, but in the end, there is no way to re-use it. I mean some could, but most of us aren’t Tony Stark and can’t turn any pile of junk into a flying suit that spits light beams. Electronics also contains various toxic materials that enter our environment if they are not disposed of properly.

Programs like the Apple Recycling Program do exist, but with limitations. First off, it is only available in some countries. Secondly, how do we know they are actually recycling the items or if they are just being sent to an electronic waste landfill beyond the public’s eye?

If you are American-based, you do have some options. For free recycling of your old device, a prepaid shipping label, and instructions, see the Apple Trade In website. (USA ONLY) When sending back your items, the lithium-ion batteries in your AirPods and charging case are recycled.  Disposal mark.

But I am in Canada, so what do I do? And nope, you can’t just place it in any recycling bin!

After taking a quick google, there are a few options I found:

  1. You can take your electronics to Staples or Best Buy
  2. You can use ERI direct which will give you a shipping label. ( I am going to test this out!)
  3. You can also probably drop it off at an Apple store but I am not 100% certain they will take it in Canada. Airpods also seem to be a bit more tricky as there is no trade-in option.

Either way, it requires effort and I can’t say it is something a busy consumer will take the time to think about.

Taking accountability.

declutter spring cleaning

There is a responsibility we take on when we make a purchase. We are great at buying things and envisioning how they will improve our lives, but we consider less often how we will impact the life of that item.

Yes, buying less and buying smart is a great way to reduce your consumption and reduce climate change.

But for what we do buy, it is like we are signing a contract to bring that item into our lives. And these items do not just disappear the moment we cannot see it anymore. Spring cleaning is not a hall pass for tossing things out.

Furthermore, the items you own now could quite possibly last longer than you will. So what will you leave behind?

spring cleaning clutter electronic waste

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Join the Conversation

3 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning Promotes “Tossing Out” Culture

  1. I was particularly relieved (and delighted) to read that marie kondo is relaxing her own rules in her own house since having kids!! hers was a difficult standard to live up to, and not realistic in all situations (like for those of us with kids – especially small ones!)

    Thank you for the info about the air pods…i have often wondered where old electronics go when they die.