My Anxiety About Throwing Things Away

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I’ve learnt – it’s freeing to get rid of stuff…the more stuff you own the more stuff owns you. The more you can move these pieces on, the better you’ll feel mentally and spiritually. This fits within the Buddhist’s belief of impermanence and concept of free movement of energy. If you’re looking to lighten the clutter in your home or garage, but feel hesitant about it because you’re a waste-not-want-not person like me or have other reasons, here are some tips to lessen your concerns.

recycling sign in a hedge promoting how it is the best way to throw out old stuff

It makes sense to me to get rid of stuff and free up space because I like space and openness (don’t cage me in). I also think the less material stuff I own the less stuff owns me in terms of maintaining it, that’s one of my self wilding principles I live out. But I can still get anxious and have difficulty getting rid of stuff.

About a year or more ago, we renovated our kitchen to open up the space and let energy flow between areas. It was a good time to declutter, to get rid of stuff.

I had to get pass the “I might need that [special thing] some day” or “I might regret throwing it [the special thing] out. (Some say this is to do with perfectionism.4)

Anyway, anything duplicate was given a new home. If you’re going through this process you might find the following helpful.

How to throw away stuff With less anxiety

We all know how to throw out stuff — It’s just that it can be hard to throw stuff out.

The usual how-to-part-with-them advice is all logic. Like, create three piles: Yes, Maybe, and No Way. The ‘Yes’ get thrown, the ‘Maybe’ get second thoughts, and the ‘NO WAY’ get kept. This works to different degrees depending on your mindset.

I have to psyche myself, else I have this niggling in the back of my head, that I could use this item one day. I dwell on what has gone into that item, its use, and the cost to the environment. How can I just throw it away?

The best way to throw it out is to give it a new life, which helps the flow of energy.

The following provides useful solutions, but not everywhere will have the same collection or exchange programs. I recommend you read the following and use it as a guide for what may be available in your area.

For US readers, simple solutions for disposing of old pots and pans by Crystal’s Cookware Hub may help.

Garbage – Going to landfill

You could drop your old stuff off with other trash at a landfill near you, but it may come at a cost. Check out the local authority’s rules as these will differ from place to place.

You could easily put them in the curbside garbage collection bin, but it’s better to look at enviro-friendly options, right?

How else can you throw away old stuff?

Donate 

Providing the gear is not faulty or broken, you could give it to another home. Online places that help with this include Ziilch, Freecycle and OzRecycle. There are op shops such as the Salvation Army, St Vinnies, or other charity stores to which you can donate them for resale.

Gift Or Sell It

You can gift them, swap them or sell them to your friends or to others through Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, SwapAce or Quicksale.

Or hold an an online auction on Ebay or Trading Post.

Recycle programs

For you who are conscious of your environmental footprint, let’s check out the recycle programs.

Some material is recyclable. The following gives a general idea of options available for the different materials, including Pyrex, ceramics, and metals.

Pyrex Glass

You probably CAN’T recycle Pryrex glass in your recycling bin that you put out for collection. Pyrex glass cookware and glass lids are generally not accepted by curbside recycling programs (in most places).

The reason Pyrex isn’t accepted is that it doesn’t melt at the same temperature as other glass. Adding it to your recycling will contaminate the rest. The thing to do with this type is to pass it onto charity or to another home via the above suggestions. 

Ceramic

By ceramic, I mean all ceramic cookware, not the nonstick type. You’ll find recycling programs don’t exist for ceramic items because ceramic does not melt.1

Consider passing it on to a new home using the ideas and links given above.

If any are broken or chipped, you could repurpose of upcycle these ceramic pots. Look for ideas on Pinterest. 

The Zero Waste Institute advises you can break the ceramic into pieces and then down to particles to return them to the clay from which is what they are derived.1 

I’ve used broken up pieces of ceramic in the bottom of pot plants as it makes an excellent drainage material. Being 100% ceramic it will be free of problem chemicals.

Metal

You can check, but most curbside recycling programs don’t accept scrap metal and this includes metal homeware.

There are exceptions. Some councils, e.g. Darebin in Melbourne, Australia according to OnlyMelbourne, accept “clean pots, pans and other metal cooking dishes (even with plastic handles)”. But no glass lids are accepted. Check out your local council, they may have a page similar to ‘What goes in your bins‘ by the City of Melbourne.

If you are considering offloading your metal frying pans to recyclers of scrap metals, you’ll probably need to tell them whether your cookware is nonferrous or ferrous. 

They’ll contain nonferrous metal if they are made from aluminium, copper or stainless steel. 

The ferrous metal is iron, and this will be your cast iron skillet. If you are not sure whether your cookware is ferrous, simply use a magnet. If it sticks it will contain ferrous. Some stainless steel cookware may have a ferrous layer incorporated.

Nonstick Cookware

If your nonstick pan has worn away and the aluminium is exposed, it’s time to get rid of it. If it is worn away to only the aluminium base, pretty much the advice above sticks.

Otherwise, metal recyclers may or may not accept Teflon nonstick cookware (with the PTFE coating still intact).

How to dispose of Teflon pans

You can check with the company and see if they have a mail-back program for PTFE-coated or ceramic coated nonstick cookware.

To repurpose your Teflon pan, a great idea is to upcycle it as a chalkboard.

Repurpose what you can’t recycle

Pinterest is a good place to grab some repurposing ideas for household stuff, including old pots and pans.

There are a lot of repurposing ideas, including this list of 25 ideas from a DIY site for repurposing old kitchenware including old Teflon pans. So you could go wild with your creative ideas.

Or simply plant out flowers or herbs in your old pots or pans. 

Final wrapup

What to do with your old pots and pans?

When disposing of your pots and pans and other house stuff, think about recycling or repurposing it for the sake of the environment at least.

For recycling near you, check out Planet Ark. Terracycle also collects certain household items, but not cookware at the time of writing this.

References

  1. Zero Waste Institute, Ceramics, accessed 4 August 2020.
  2. Recycling Near You, Planet Ark, accessed 4 August 2020
  3. Terracycle, accessed 4 August 2020
  4. Inside a Hoarder’s Brain: Why They Can’t Ditch Their Stuff, Live Science, accessed 29 Mar 2021

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