How to Donate, Recycle, Get Rid of Stuff in Bangkok

Japanese author and ‘organizing consultant’ Marie Kondo in a promotional image for her series ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.’
Japanese author and ‘organizing consultant’ Marie Kondo in a promotional image for her series ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.’

So you’ve applied the KonMari method to your home: tossed stuff the non-joy sparking stuff into bag upon bag. Congrats on the decluttering, but now what do with all that stuff that without dumping it on the sidewalk or in those wonderful trash cages.

Here’s how to donate, recycle, sell and even swap all those unwanted clothes, books, e-waste, household items and cosmetics in Bangkok, with some ideas for helping others at the same time.

E-Waste

Hoping your random cables and 10-year-old DVD player will be properly handled may be wishful thinking. They’ll likely be picked up if put out with the trash – but with no guarantee of proper disposal. Don’t be part of the problem and send your e-waste to the right place.

Drop used batteries, broken light bulbs and other toxic items into a dropbox in front of the ground floor restroom at the Pollution Control Department down Phahon Yothin 7 from BTS Ari. Otherwise, local district offices also accept toxic waste, which they send monthly for proper disposal. For example, the Khlong Toei District Office accepts residential e-waste such as batteries and the like.

Old mobile phones and tablets can be mailed to the government’s year-old Old Mobiles to New Life project. Donated items will be sent to China, where they will be destroyed. The revenue gained will be used to buy books for 1,000 primary schools around Thailand. Send them by post to:

Old Mobiles to New Life Foundation
333 Sukhumvit Road 71, Phra Khanong Nuea, Watthana
Bangkok 10110
Tel. 092-887-2728

Chonburi province:

E-Waste Collection Center for the Old Mobiles to New Life Foundation
Bangkok Recycle and Reuse Co. Ltd.
85/1 Moo 2, Map Phai, Ban Bueng District, Chonburi 20170

Donate old CPUs, monitors, printers and phones to Wat Suan Kaew in Nonthaburi province.


Mail small electronic items, such as mobile phones, chargers, cables, headphones and notebooks to the Chula Loves the Earth program and the university will appropriately dispose of it. Batteries are not accepted. Address:

Chula Loves the Earth
Center of Excellence on Hazardous Substance Management
CU Research Building Floor 8
Phaya Thai Road, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan
Bangkok 10330
Tel. 02-218-3959

That old Vaio, Walkman or any Sony-made item will be properly destroyed if you mail it or drop it off at the Sony Service Center on Petchaburi Road. If mailing, be sure to label the item as intended for destruction.

Chonburi residents, rejoice, for the Chonburi Town Municipality accepts non-toxic e-waste, so drop off of old computers, TVs, phones without batteries and other old or broken devices there.

Clothes

Temples, orphanages and most charities will take clothing donations. The Mirror Foundation accepts most donations of clothing, shoes, bags, and so on. Take it to their main office in Soi Viphavadi Rangsit 62 Yaek 4-7 between 9:30am and 6pm, Monday through Friday, or 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. You can also send items there by mail. They will also pick up items for a fee. A spokesman said they accept all items in good, working condition.

Bras can be donated to women’s prisons such as the Central Women Correctional Institution in Bangkok through the Prairboon Foundation. Contact them at 096-236-3895 for more information.

In the provinces, women’s prisons in Chonburi, Songkhla, Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai accept items such as bras and sanitary items, which can even be sent by mail. Check with the prisons by phone to see what kind of items they accept, as some don’t take second-hand bras.

A Swap ‘Till You Drop event in September. Photo: The Hive Thonglor / Facebook
A Swap ‘Till You Drop event in September. Photo: The Hive Thonglor / Facebook

For a fun-filled goodbye to your clothes – and the possibility of coming home with more – join the monthly Swap ‘Til You Drop! events. Bring 300 baht and bags of clothes you don’t want anymore for a fun night of swapping clothes with other women while drinking free-flow sangria. Any unclaimed will be donated to needy families via Scholars of Sustenance. The next swap is Feb. 28 at The Home BKK in Soi Sukhumvit 23.

Books

Photo: Dasa Book Cafe / Facebook
Photo: Dasa Book Cafe / Facebook

Give it up. You’re never going to read that John Irving novel, and it’s high time to unload those bodice-rippers.

Short of trundling them all to a paper recycling center, here are some options for re-homing them.

First, you can send a list of your books via email or Facebook message – title and author; no textbooks or magazines – to Dasa Book Cafe. The shop only buys specific titles, so they’ll send a reply to save you the pain of rejection. Then just bring the desired books to the shop, which is a five-minute walk from BTS Phrom Phong. What they pay depends on the book’s condition and is paid in cash or store credit at a 20 percent markup. Dasa is open 10am to 8pm daily but has no parking.

Nalynya Jaroonruangrit displays a children’s book translated into Burmese at Miraibrary. Migrant worker families from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos live in the community.

To donate, drop by Miraibrary, a children’s library founded by the Sikkha Asia Foundation in the Khlong Toei district. Books in any language are accepted and will be translated into Thai, Burmese and Khmer by volunteers. Children’s books are most needed, but those at higher levels will be redistributed to local schools. Miraibrary is open 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Pickup services can be arranged by calling them by calling them at 02-249-7567.

Furniture and Housewares

An unused blender that no longer blends to satisfaction or a sun-damaged couch no one on Lazada will buy? Unload these things clogging your home and life at a second-hand store near downtown in the Khlong Toei district. Better yet, proceeds will help with employment and children’s programs in the community.

Second Chance, a shop co-founded a decade back by Australian Jodie MacCartney, accepts clothing, electronic goods, bedding, kitchenware, household items and furniture that it then resells at low prices to Khlong Toei residents.

“We take pretty much anything, as long as it’s not broken and in working order,” the 41-year-old said. “We sort and sell everything and try to keep all the prices very affordable.”

A shirt can run as low as 5 baht or 20 baht. Couches cost 200 to a few thousand, depending on condition and so on. Those dropping off donations might score some thrifty deals.

“We want to offer quality goods at affordable prices and provide sustainable employment which gives dignity,” she said.

Proceeds pay Second Chance’s rent, utilities and staff – all employed from the Khlong Toei area – as well as to support a children’s club and needy community members such as indigent migrant workers.

Local women are also employed to “upcycle” some of the donated clothes into handbags, pouches, and so on for prices ranging from 30 baht to 450 baht. Check Second Chance’s Facebook page for where they will set up their booth next.

Donations can be dropped off 9:30am to 4:30pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at the shop on At Narong Road. Call 02-249-1921 to arrange for a pickup. They do not accept e-waste.

Cosmetics

Photo: Somkuan Villa
Photo: Somkuan Villa

For those with a large stash of expired or unwanted makeup, consider donating to the deceased. That’s right, area hospitals need makeup for funerals.

Somkhuan Villa, founder of Baeng Boon Suay (Sharing Beautiful Merit), has arranged donations for morgues at 12 hospitals nationwide.

“Everyone in the world wants to look good. So in someone’s final moments, they might not know what their physical state will be like, but they might get comfort from knowing that their relatives will see them dead but in a little better state,” Somkhuan, 41, said.

Participating hospitals are accepting any type of makeup, from blush to nail polish. Drop it off in Bangkok at the morgues at the Police Siriraj hospitals.

Other hospitals accepting donations are Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen, Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, Prachuap Khiri Khan Hospital, Hua Hin Hospital, Chumphon Khet Udomsakdi Hospital, Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Center in Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Nayok Hospital, Buddhachinaraj Hospital in Phitsanulok and Surat Thani Hospital.

“I’m a woman with lots of makeup. So I knew in my heart I wanted to make merit with it,” Somkuan said.

Until the end of February, cosmetics can also be sent to Somkuan by mail at:

66/10 Soi Bangla Absolute
Bangla Road, Patong
Kathu, Phuket 83150

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