For Earth Day, Recycle Smart

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The environmentalist’s mantra is “reduce, reuse, recycle.” On Earth Day–and every day–many Verona residents are finding that the most effective way to recycle is through a private Facebook group called Curb Alert Verona. Founded four years ago by a then new resident of Verona, it has grown into the destination for people who want to find a new home for items in their closets, basements and garages, or snap up new treasures from their fellow residents, all for free.

No money changes hands at Curb Alert Verona. On any day of the week, group members can post photos and descriptions of things that have to go, and they do, from baby clothes and plush toys to pet and painting supplies. Every Monday, there’s an open thread called “In Search Of” where members can put up a call for things they really need, like camping gear and toddler toys. With every post and pickup, something is being kept out of a landfill, and that makes Natalie Pereira very happy.

Natalie Pereira, founder of Curb Alert Verona

She’s the creator of Curb Alert Verona, and its moderator, along with her sister, Amanda.

“As a lifelong environmentalist, the idea of recycling in all of its forms has always been my passion,” says Pereira, who hasn on occasion found herself picking up one of the 20 to 25 new items posted every day. “And to be able to do this in a town where I was relatively new and had been welcomed with open arms felt like the perfect way to say thank you to my new community. It also gave me an opportunity to share my values and build a community within our community of like-minded people.”

And keep items that are no longer needed from being just another layer in a landfill. Americans are making progress with recycling: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landfill fell from 94% of all waste generated in 1960 to 50% in 2018. There are specific programs to blunt the hazards posed by old electronics and toxic materials, and reduce the amount of plastics and paper in the waste stream. The Verona Environmental Commission has details on what’s acceptable for recycling here, and places that will take items for re-ruse.

Coffee table, recycled through Curb Alert Verona

Curb Alert Verona currently has 3,800 members from Verona and neighboring towns, and something that is often hard to find in social media groups: cordiality. “I think that one of the most beautiful things in the world is kindness,” Pereira says, “and, in some way, the giving of items with no expectation of getting something in return speaks to the presence of kindness that exists in all members of our group.”

Many of the posts are for children’s clothing, from the every day to special occasions, like Communion suits and dresses to snow boots and snow suits. But there have also been furniture, household goods, tools, and the occasional wildcard. “Someone in the super early days offered a car,” Pereira says. “It was maybe a Buick LeSabre or something. I messaged the women before approving it just to confirm that it was, in fact, a real offer and it was! Pretty wild.”

Artwork, recycled through Curb Alert Verona

Whether the posts are for a car or a card table, Pereira takes it all in stride. “It gives me great joy to know that I played a small role in helping this happen and watching it blossom into a beautiful community of givers, a community that has grown far beyond my initial expectations.”

Curb Alert Verona is a private Facebook group. You can find it and apply to join here. The Verona Environmental Commission has also made a list of other places where residents can donate or find items that have been gently used for re-use:

Clothing, Shoes

First Presbyterian Church, Verona
Rosemarie’s Rescue Rance Resale Shop, Verona
Toni’s Closet, Montclair
Our Lady of the Lake for St John’s Newark, Verona/Newark
Green Drop
Vietnam Veterans of America
American Clothing Pickup
Angels on the Ground (private group on Facebook)

Furniture, Small Household Items, Appliances

Habitat Store, Fairfield/Newark
The Warehouse NJ
Furniture Assist
Vietnam Veterans of America
KAIYO
GO LOAD UP
Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch, Verona
First Presbyterian Church, Verona

Multiple Unwanted Items

Pickup Please
Willing Hearts (Caldwell)

Local Social Media/Free Giveaway Sites

Curb Alert Verona Facebook
Buy Nothing Cedar Grove/Verona NJ Facebook
Angels on the Ground Private Group on Facebook

Toys/Children’s Items

Second Chance Toys (must be plastic)

Pet Items

Rosemarie’s Rescue Rance Resale Shop, Verona
PAWS, Montclair

Gently Used Books

Verona Public Library
The Collective Bookstore, Verona
College Women’s Club, Montclair

Office Equipment/Technology

Staples Cedar Grove
Apple Reuse and Recycling Program
Hummingbird International

Cars, Motorcycles, Boats

WFUV.org
Vehicles for Veterans, NJ
Wheels for Wishes, NJ

Gently Used Medical Equipment, Eyeglasses

Verona Lions Club
Plukemin Medical Equipment Ministry]

Clothing Bin Drop-Off Locations

10 Commerce Court, Verona
Saint Aloysius Parish, Caldwell
Planet Aid Bins, multiple locations

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1 COMMENT

  1. I love this! Too often I would see perfectly good used furniture put out for trash when it could be given to someone truly in need. Thank you Curb Alert Verona!

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