So you have finally decided to get rid of the chemicals in your home and live a green, eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. Great. But what are you going to do with those half-used bottles of chemicals in your home? You can’t throw them out—that would be bad for the environment, and your wallet—and you can’t take them back to the store when they are half full. So, what are you going to do? I admit, sometimes it’s difficult to get rid of products; believe me I’ve tried. But there are ways to safely swap out your old bottles of chemicals before you buy commercial green cleaning products or make your own.
Offer The Bottles to Your Friends: Simply ask your friends if they would like “to have any of your cleaning products for free.” If they ask why you are giving them a half-empty bottle of bleach simply tell them that you haven’t used it in a long time and don’t see the need to have it anymore. You don’t have to mention that you are switching to a green lifestyle; unless you want to. If you mention why bleach is so bad for people, animals, and the environment, you may not be able to get rid of it, so leave this part out of the conversation.
Put the Bottles in A Community Exchange Area: The apartment complex I live in has a community laundry room, and there is a place dedicated to a clothes and food exchange. People have also been known to leave cleaning products in there, so I took a bottle of bleach, a can of carpet cleaner, and a box of fertilizer into the laundry room, and they were promptly snatched up. This worked better than leaving bottles outside with a “free” sign. Somehow that didn’t go over too well.
Take Unopened Containers to A Thrift Store: My husband took a full, unopened can of bathroom cleaner into a small community thrift store and offered it to a woman in charge. Lucky for us, she accepted. Heck, they could either sell it or use it to clean their bathroom and break room. My husband’s boldness and sweet disposition worked great for this, but it may work in your community as well.
Offer to Clean a Friend’s House Using the Remainder of Products you Have: Heck, if you have chemicals to get rid of, why not give one of the busy moms that you know the afternoon off? If she’s been running ragged lately she might appreciate your help to clean her house using your products, or hers. Her house will look great, she will be happy, and you will most likely use up one of the chemicals in doing this project, so it’s a win-win.
Gather Your Family Together For a Little Green Cleaning 101: Tell your family members that you want these chemicals out of the house permanently, and you are going to do a contest to see who can use one of the bottles up faster (this should only be done if your kids are responsible enough to handle chemicals). Give them a little education about why these products are bad for the environment and why you are getting rid of them. Give them each a bottle and tell them to use it responsibly, but see if they can empty it within a certain time frame. The person who uses up their bottle first gets to go out for ice cream.
If All Else Fails, Just Clean: Since you spent good money on these chemicals and you can’t throw them out, you might as well use them if no one else will take them off your hands. If that’s the case, then it’s probably a good thing. More and more families are aspiring to live a sustainable, eco-friendly life like we are, and it’s hard to give away something that is toxic. So, you could simply use the bleach in your toilet tank, spray your home with the fabric refresher, and dust your home with the chemical-free dusting spray. Once the bottles are empty, rinse them out and use them to house your new, eco-friendly recipes for cleaning products, fertilizer, and more. You’ll be doing a world of good for Mother Earth, one green decision at a time.
I am a housewife and freelance writer in WA that recently made it my mission to live a sustainable life. I’m blogging about my journey on Green Envy, with hiking stories and recipes thrown in for good measure. My husband and I live in a Seattle suburb.