It IS Easy Being Green: Local Resources for Your Journey to Sustainability

A special thank you to Cohen Recycling & Hamilton County Recycling for helping bring these resources to our CMC community!

I came to a realization about six months into motherhood: Kids are terrible for the environment. Diapers, wasted food, art supplies, broken plastic toys, driving them all over this great planet… the list goes on. But, it’s April, and that means Earth Day on April 22!

Disclaimer: You will not instantly become a green family by reading this article.

easy being green

The phrase is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” not “Eliminate, Reuse, Recycle.” One new habit is a win for the planet. And while there are hundreds of multinational organizations with sustainable products that you can order online, we are the Cincinnati Mom’s Collective. I am going to draw attention to local resources that may be helpful in your journey to reducing waste.

Not every option here is going to help you. The trick is figuring out which small change you can make, and sticking to it. Once it becomes a habit, add another. Then another. For example, my family started composting a few years ago. After two different bins and one nasty fruit fly infestation, it has become a great part of our kitchen and garden routine. Next, we ordered cleaning supplies from a plastic-free and carbon-neutral company. Once we realized we liked that choice, we found recycled toilet paper from a zero-waste company. Now that our bums are acclimated to the less-plushy-but-still-tolerable experience, we’ve incorporated refillable hair and soap products. Who knows what will be next?

To quote the “Zero Waste Chef” Anne-Marie Bonneau:

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

So embrace your imperfections, and begin your journey with one single step. Where will it lead you?

Many storefronts listed below are currently operating by appointment or walk-ins restricted as space permits. Be sure to call ahead or check websites for COVID policies.

Facebook Pages to Follow

Let’s start small. There is so much information out there it can be overwhelming. For example: Did you know that produce clamshells are currently not recyclable curbside? Once I began following a few key Facebook pages, a lot of nuanced information like this became second nature to me. Now, I’m the super hip houseguest who reorganizes your recycling bin.

If completely shaking up your shopping habits seems like too much right now, follow these pages to learn how to maximize your home recycling habits.

Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District
Cincinnati Recycles
Cincinnati Reuse and Recycling Hub
Rumpke Waste and Recycling

Reduce/Reuse Resources

Fill More Waste Less
A zero-waste refillery, this woman-led company started as a pop-up shop and has grown to a brick-and-mortar storefront in Madisonville. Hours are limited, but website inventory includes packaging-free soaps and shampoos, refillable cleaning products, and a wide array of household products made from recycled or biodegradable materials. They also offer a weekly subscription of compost services, intended to help those who want to compost but lack a yard to deposit the scraps.
4305 Whetsel Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45227 | (513) 390-2873

Scrap It Up
A nonprofit resale shop selling gently used arts and crafts supplies in Pleasant Ridge. Scrapbooking, fabric, beads, drawing materials, yarn, paints, you name it. A great resource for getting rid of the mostly-unused bead collection you spontaneously purchased when you thought you would make your own jewelry, or for finding a few odds and ends for a holiday craft at insanely low prices.
5935 Ridge Rd, Cincinnati OH 45213 | (513) 717-0852

Indigo Hippo
A nonprofit creative reuse center that offers pay-what-you-can pricing. (You read that right: Pay what you can). They have inventory ranging from kid craft kits to professional artist supplies, and even wood, tiles, and tools. This is another resource for donating craft supplies you no longer need. The store also currently offers light online shopping with curbside pick-up. Follow their Instagram to see new arrivals.
334 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 | (513) 918-4917

Play Library
It’s like a library, but for toys. I only wish I had thought of it first. No more agonizing over where the new toys will fit, or wondering if you’re buying a game they’ll hate. They don’t even penalize you for losing pieces (unless you’re a repeat offender)! They also offer event rentals like giant Jenga and cornhole. Like a library, it is membership-based, with different fee levels based on interest. Membership fees help make sure inventory is fresh and in good condition.
1306 Main Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 | (513) 407-7045

Cincinnati ReUse Center
An invaluable resource for your next DIY project. The ReUse Center is a nonprofit that takes the overstock of partner suppliers and offers them at a discounted price. You can also call to see if they will accept donations of furniture or appliances you’re removing as part of that DIY project. Store revenue funds a job training program for at-risk youth.
1530 Tremont St, Cincinnati, OH 45214 Center | (513) 921-0111

The ReStore
The retail branch of Habitat for Humanity, this store offers donated new and used household materials. Store revenues support the Habitat mission in the Greater Cincinnati area, which builds or renovates affordable homes for low-income, first-time homebuyers. This is another excellent option for donating unwanted household items or shopping for your next DIY project.
Locations in Bond Hill, Cheviot, Fairfield, Bellevue and Florence.

Building Value
At first glance, Building Value may seem like ReUse or ReStore. What makes it unique, however, is that much of the inventory comes from older homes being deconstructed, or carefully torn down. This doesn’t just keep literally tons of materials out of landfills, but the deconstruction process acts as job training for second-chance workers who want to get into construction. You will never find a better place for strange antiques, clawfoot tubs, stained glass windows, and other odd surprises. Talk about a triple win! Keep an eye out for Bella, the beloved store cat.
4040 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45223 | (513) 475-6783

Recycling Resources

Cohen Recycling
cohen recycling
With two locations in the Cincinnati area as well as a broad range of accepted items, I have been known to make a bi-annual trip to Cohen to recycle odds and ends. Their own declared rule of thumb is that “if it’s made of mostly or all metal, if it takes batteries, or if it plugs in, Cohen can recycle it.” Some items incur a fee for recycling, but that feeling of knowing it won’t sit in a landfill is priceless.
Norwood: 5038 Beech St, Cincinnati, OH 45212
Sharonville: 12175 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45241
Call 513-422-3696 or check out their Facebook.
cohen recycling
Cincinnati Reuse and Recycling Hub
This brand new nonprofit offers a “one-stop drop-off” for things that can be recycled or reused but not through Hamilton County’s single-stream curbside recycling program. The Hub was founded by four women running four distinct recycling programs who realized that (Captain-Planet-style) “by your powers combined” they could be more effective. Materials are sorted and then sent or given to other organizations, teachers, artists, or to responsible recyclers. Though currently entirely volunteer-run, the Hub has long-term plans to add paid staff, satellite locations, and business partners. ALERT! They are hosting their first electronics recycling drop-off day on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. EDT.
911 Evans Street, Cincinnati OH, 45204 | 513-538-3798

Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District
hamilton country recycling and solid waste district
The Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District is a County organization, established by State law, responsible for ensuring that the County achieves State mandated goals for recycling and waste reduction. The District achieves these goals through the implementation of waste reduction programs targeted to residents, communities, businesses, and schools. Last year, they shared with moms in our CMC community about cloth diapering. This year, Hamilton County Recycling is offering area residents discounted Compost Bins & Rain Barrels for a one-day only Spring 2021 Sale!! The online store will be open to place your order through May 3. Learn more about their Compost Bin Sale.
Facebook: @HamiltonCountyRecycling | Instagram: @HamiltonCountyRecyclingYouTube | LinkedIn
hamilton county ohio compost bin

Additional Green Resources

B the Keeper
This Black-owned local startup has gotten a lot of attention for the organization’s founder and his art of beekeeping. At B the Keeper, however, they also work extensively with businesses and landowners to fold bee-friendly plant habitats into landscapes. With bee populations facing a crisis, this initiative couldn’t be more important! If you’re looking to beautify your lawn in a way that reduces carbon emissions and protects pollinators, reach out to owner Brandon and find out what you can do in your own yard to save local pollinator populations.
Instagram: @b_thekeeper | Email: [email protected]

Mowbot of Cincinnati
Not ready to give up the green lawn perfect for running in barefooted? Try Mowbot of Cincinnati for a more environmentally-friendly option of lawn maintenance. Mowbot is a woman-owned and operated robotic mowing service. They provide the professional installation and ongoing maintenance of the robot that lives and works exclusively on your yard, ensuring a premium cut for your grass. This quiet, battery-operated gadget reduces both air and noise pollutants.
Learn more about Mowbot of Cincinnati on our Earth Day post HERE.

Buy Nothing Project
Finally, see if your neighborhood has a Buy Nothing Facebook Group. Buy Nothing Project is a nationwide initiative to reduce waste on a neighborhood-based level. It fosters connections between neighbors by posting items you no longer need and letting neighbors pick them up. I have passed on so many baby items this way, and it feels great knowing they are going to a local family who needs them. Plus, I’ve managed to borrow an air mattress for a camping trip, as well as gained clothes, books, and games that other people were done with but were like-new to me!

We all love Kermit the Frog, but we can all put him to shame this year by discovering the ways that it is easy being green.


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