If you’re trying to live a zero waste lifestyle, you may be thinking of all the ways you can reuse or recycle parts of your home that you no longer need or are replacing, like your old window treatments. The materials many custom window treatments can easily be reused, recycled, or upcycled. You can typically donate your old custom window treatments at donation centers like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But before you take them, remember to check with the donation center to make sure they accept your specific window treatment.
Roman & Honeycomb Shades
Roman and honeycomb shades are made from cloth that can be broken down and reused for many different things. For example, it can be
- Shredded and reused as stuffing for quilts
- Used as dust rags
- Used in sewing projects
Cut the fabric away from any metal parts and cords before you recycle it. Doing so will help make the sorting process easier for the facility’s employees and prevent damage to the processing machines. If the material is wet or moldy, throw it away.
Wooden Blinds & Shutters
If your blinds or shutters are made from real wood, they are considered zero waste since they can be reused or upcycled. The same goes for aluminum since the metal can usually be recycled at your local scrap shop. There are many great DIY projects that let you take your old wooden blinds and shutters and make them into something else like art.
Just remember the following before you decide on how to dispose of these window treatments:
- Real wood can warp and if the wood is painted or treated, you cannot recycle it
- Faux wood blinds or shutters, while good for preventing warping in humid climates, cannot be recycled due to their material
- Woven wood shades also cannot recycled since the threads can harm the shredding machinery
Your best bet for these window treatments is to recycle or upcycle them. In the case of woven wood blinds, if you cannot upcycle them put them in the bin since the material is biodegradable.
Aluminum blinds are easily recyclable at your local scrap or recycling facility and are generally widely accepted by them. Remember to break them down by removing the headrail and cords before you do recycle or scrap them so they’ll be accepted by your chosen facility.
Downsides of Zero Waste
While zero waste custom window treatments can benefit the environment, it does have its downsides. When recycling or upcycling your old custom window treatments, you must know what they are made out of before you recycle or scrap them. The reason being, there can be some contaminants or pollutants you may not know about in the material that can harm the environment.
Another downside is that you must clean the window treatments and dismantle them before you scrap or recycle them, and recycling facilities may not be readily available in your area. If that is the case, consider talking to your local government about setting up a recycling program.
Old custom window treatments aren’t usually the first thing people think about when they think of recycling and their zero waste lifestyle. But with the right know-how and a little bit of time, you can do your part to help the environment and be less wasteful.