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Recycling isn’t just something you can do with paper, plastics and certain metals. You can also help others by “recycling” everything from clothing to furniture to medical equipment.

A recent letter to the editor from George Rehker of Bloomington suggested that power chairs purchased through Medicare should, instead, be leased then returned and refurbished for others when they are no longer needed by the first person.

Who knows how long it would take the government to institute such a change or what logistical hurdles it might entail.

The goal of saving the government money might be elusive, but the idea of seeing these chairs put to continued use can be accomplished rather easily.

Rather than letting such a chair gather dust and possibly rust after the original owner goes into a nursing home or dies, consider donating it to a program such as LIFE-Center for Independent Living.

LIFE-CIL, which serves residents of McLean, DeWitt, Ford and Livingston counties, has an equipment loan program that offers short-term loans of such durable medical equipment as wheelchairs, bath benches and hospital beds. The goal is to help people live as independently as possible.

If you are remodeling, redecorating or just buying new “stuff,” there still may be lots of use left in the furniture you are replacing. Consider giving it a second life through Bloomington-based Recycling Furniture for Families.

The organization helps people referred by social service agencies and churches. They may be a needy family with a new baby or children outgrowing small beds, formerly homeless individuals trying to get a new start or someone without renter’s insurance who lost their belongings in a fire.

And, if you are trying to make room in your closet, consider “recycling” clothes through an organization such as Home Sweet Home Ministries, which operates Mission Mart in Bloomington and Lincoln.

Give your good, but no-longer-needed items a second life — and help give someone else a better life.

More information:

LIFE-CIL, 2201 Eastland Drive, Bloomington, 309-663-5433

Recycling Furniture for Families, 515 N. Center St., Bloomington, 309-829-6500

Home Sweet Home Ministries, Mission Mart Donation Drop-Off Center, 301 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington, 309-828-7356, Ext. 224.

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