With spring around the corner, it won’t be long until we find ourselves cleaning out drawers, cupboards and closets.

The annual urge to purge seems to arrive with warmer weather and longer days.

As you do your spring cleaning, I challenge you to put as little as possible in the garbage – and ultimately in the landfill – and instead recycle, repurpose and reuse as much as possible.

In recent weeks, we’ve received a number of questions about what to do with unwanted pots, pans and other metal cookware.

Daily use takes a toll on these items, causing scratches, stains, dents and scorch marks. So it’s not surprising that many people purchase new ones. But there are better options for disposing of cookware than throwing them in the garbage.

For one, cookware in good condition, even if it has a small dent or a minor scratch, can be donated to nonprofit organizations. Many of these establishments directly support people in need. Others sell their donations, providing jobs to people with disabilities and generating income to fund much-needed programs and services.

You also can sell cookware through online communities or make it available to others on www.freecycle.org, a website where people can give away – and receive – all types of items at no cost. It’s an excellent way to get rid of items and still keep them out of the landfill.

If you’re crafty, there are ways to give old cookware new life. For example, a cookie sheet can be painted and become a magnet board, custom kitchen art, a chore chart or a holiday decoration. Pinterest provides several clever and practical ideas for repurposing pots, pans and baking sheets.

If the cookware is too marred to donate or sell, it can be recycled – just not in your curbside recycling container. Franklin County’s curbside recycling program cannot accept pots, pans and other metal cookware because local material-recovery facilities don’t have the machinery to process them.

But several scrap-metal recyclers in central Ohio accept those items free of charge. They’ll take pots and pans made of cast iron, aluminum, copper and stainless steel and those coated with Teflon and other nonstick treatments.

If treated well, cookware should last for years. But if you decide to get rid of it while in good condition, please donate, trade or sell it. If it has reached the end of its useful life, please repurpose or recycle it.

Just don’t put it in your garbage.

Reducing waste has many positive impacts. The less we throw in the trash, the less that goes into the landfill. The less we put into the landfill, the longer it will last. And the more we can recycle, the more we can protect our environment.

To find donation locations and recyclers, use the reuse and recycling search tool on our website, www.recycleright.org.

Ty Marsh is executive director of SWACO. Questions about its operations can be directed to him at questions@swaco.org. His office provides this column to ThisWeek Community News.