Clean, store, reuse, repeat: Recycling 4 items for fall


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Thanks to the start of school, cooler weather and seasonal foods, many of us think of fall as a fresh start. And it is. But that doesn’t mean we need to run out and buy brand-new school supplies and clothing. There may be some items in your home that you can recycle.

Not sure what you can reuse? The American Cleaning Institute has initiated its Family Sustainability Challenge to remind people that how we clean and prepare for the new season can make an impact on the environment. Nancy Bock, SVP meetings and education at the ACI, created this list to help you make greener choices this fall.


If your sneakers are still in decent shape after the summer, clean off the grass and dirt stains. Check the label to see if they are machine-washable. Leather shoes can be spot-cleaned with leather cleaner and a rag.

Clean your sandals before you store them. To clean flip-flops, add dish soap to water and scrub with a stiff brush, then air-dry.


Caring for your winter coat varies depending on the fiber content. Read the care label for instructions.

For the most part, ACI recommends the following to keep your coat in good shape during the winter:

• Wear scarves to avoid soiling the collar, especially for leather and suede coats. Oily stains from hair and skin can stain the fabric.
• When storing coats, make sure they are clean, use a padded hanger and store it in a well-ventilated closet.
• Don’t hang coats by their neck or on a coat rack.


Chlorine, salt and sand can really do some damage to your bathing suits and beach towels do a number on these. Always wash these after use. Before you store them, clean them, completely dry them and store in a cool, dry place.


Do not run out and buy all new supplies. Check your stash and reuse pens, pencils, crayons, rulers and binders from last year’s supplies.

And always remember to BYOB (bring your own bag) if you do buy new items.

Check out the ACI’s full list here.