Spring has hit: warmer weather, longer days of sunshine, and the urge to purge/organize all your stuff – aka: Spring Cleaning. When you realize: wow, I have So. Much. Stuff.

Do you ever wonder how you accumulate so much stuff and why it feels so essential (at least for a short time)? I know I do – it is expressed in my internal battle between being the minimalist I strive to be and my ever-present materialistic mindset.

Take, for example, that old phone from years ago that for some reason you never sold, donated, or recycled. You know the one I am talking about – that Blackberry, Nokia, or iPhone sitting in that one random drawer or box with other trinkets you are not sure you need but haven’t been quite able to give up.

And suddenly the warm weather has you ready to dispose of it, as well as those un-worn clothes taking up space in your closet, that old fan or TV collecting dust, and just so much stuff.

Some advice when you start your purge: be responsible. Do not just take things to the landfill because it’s the “easiest” thing to do and it’s so simple a caveman could do it. Especially when it comes to things like e-waste.

Did you know that it is illegal to throw away electronic waste, batteries, and fluorescent lights in California?

When you throw your electronic waste, reusable clothes or other items into the landfill/trash, you are literally throwing away precious natural resources – from gold, to copper, to cotton. Essentially, you are throwing away money. According to the director of marketing for EPEAT, Jonas Allen, if “recycling rates for gold (15 percent), silver (15 percent), and platinum (5 percent ) all increased to 100 percent, the electronics sector could realize $12 billion in financial and natural capital benefits.”

Yes, you read that right — $12 billion are being thrown away into landfills, just in three natural resources in e-waste. Crazy. Additionally, according to the EPA, only 12.5 percent of e-waste was recycled in 2014.

We also continue to learn of the negative environmental impacts – from hazardous chemicals leaching into our water systems, to air quality and soil pollution – the consequences seem almost endless. Please note, we are talking only about domestic disposal of e-waste and not highlighting “recycling” taking place in developing countries; that is another article in itself. That is why we have vetted and ensured that our e-waste recycler is third-party certified and all materials are properly recycled and handled.

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So what resources do you have available to you as City of Napa and County of Napa residents? Excellent question!

On Saturday, June 10, the City of Napa and Napa Recycling & Waste Services (NRWS) will be hosting its 17th annual “Anything with a Cord Event” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Napa Valley College at the Soccer Field Parking Lot. Bring in that e-waste, bagged clothing, shoes and used batteries – free of charge.

Not available to make it to the event? Don’t worry, the City of Napa and NRWS has you covered year-round with two options:

1) Our Recycle More Program is a free curbside pickup of e-waste, metal appliances, large scrap metal, bagged used clothing and shoes, used cooking oil, and batteries (when combined with other items) for City customers. It is by appointment only, so please call 707-255-5200 to schedule your pickup.

2) Additionally, you can take your e-waste, appliances, and bagged used clothing year-round to the Napa Recycling & Composting facility at 820 Levitin Way daily from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. – free of charge.

Check www.NapaRecycling.com or our Recycling Guide (online or both phone books) for more information about year round donation and recycling.

Your choices make an impact.

And if you are like me and are a struggling minimalist, continue to fight the good fight when you see something you want to have. Do you need it? Is it absolutely necessary?

Finally, consider the end of life – from electronics, to shoes, to clothes. It all has to end up somewhere, and it is up to you to ensure that it ends up in the right place.

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This monthly column is written by Kendra Bruno, aka Compost Girl, who is the waste prevention specialist for the city of Napa. To submit questions, email kbruno@cityofnapa.org.