I've always hated waste, so it's not unusual to do the spring/fall cleaning and have SalvationArmy or DAV come pick up those items. But I've also happened upon "recycling networks" - one is through www.freecycle.org and the other is through www.reuseitnetwork.org. There's also a website where you can buy recycled items [www.reuseit.com].
I have for years used the Des Moines Freecycle site and then started up using the local Reuseit site [a Yahoo group]. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DesMoinesIAMetroReuseit/ The whole purpose of these sites is that you list items you are offering or that you want - free of charge - and there are others in the community who may want or need them and they come get them and will use them and you don't have to deal with trashing or giving them away.
I am constantly amazed by what other people will find useful in their lives. For instance, some people like to tinker with things or have talents with electrical appliances, so that old computers, tvs, radios, and kitchen appliances are just fine with them, for parts, for fixing up or whatever. And it's one less thing in the landfill.
This was brought home to me today: I am cleaning out old papers and found some genealogical charts I made when I was studying British history = charts of the kings of England and the like. Some from books and some I'd put together from readings. Of no use to me now = but I posted about it and have 4-5 people already who have indicated they'd like to be given the charts. So, I've cut down on my trash/recycling and someone else has benefited from taking it off my hands. A win win solution.