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What to do with old mini blinds?

MiniBlinds I will never, ever, ever again purchase mini blinds. Ever. Perhaps because I've always gone with cheap-o aluminum, cut 'em while you wait blinds, I've always ended up hating them after awhile. A couple of years ago I took down some metal blinds in our son's room, and they've been sitting in our laundry room (aka the room where unused household items go to die) ever since. They must go! But where?

Most Goodwill-type places won't accept them. In fact, I don't know of any organization that will. I have, however, come up with four tantalizing options:

1) List them for free on Craigslist or Freecycle. Someone, someone is certainly looking for blinds of this exact proportion. Certainly!

2) Dismantle them and put the metal parts in the curbside recycling bin. You can do this in Portland -- I checked with Metro. But any curbside program that accepts scrap metal should accept them. You just need to make sure you're only putting in metal pieces -- that there isn't any plastic attached or embedded somewhere -- and that you cut it down to size if needed. In Portland, scrap metal must be no larger than 30 inches in any direction.

3) Take them to the Blind Recycler. Yes, Portland metro peeps, we have a blind recycler up in Vancouver! (Sorry everyone else.) They will accept any kind of window covering except draperies for recycling. For FREE. So even vinyl mini blinds, or the miserable, broken roller shade from IKEA that I bought to replace the miserable metal mini blinds. If you really want to be an enviro-star, ask your friends if they have any window coverings to recycle, collect them all and make one trip.

4) Keep them and get crafty! I found some interesting reuse ideas for mini blinds. You could take your old mini blinds and turn them into shades, which is pretty impressive. Or you could turn your vinyl mini blinds into plant labels. Finally, you might enjoy cutting up your vinyl blinds into gift tags and ribbons, or weaving them into coasters! Or not.

The thing with vinyl mini blinds -- you have to be careful about lead. Back in 1996 the CPSC discovered lead in vinyl blinds imported from Mexico and Asia. The plastic would break down, causing lead dust to form making it a serious health hazard for tots. If you think your blinds qualify, throw them out.

Any other recycling or reuse ideas for mini blinds to share?

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