Recently on a bike ride through a New Providence neighborhood scheduled for bulk pickup, I was disheartened at the amount of perfectly useable items people had put out for pick up. I am all for spring cleaning and hate clutter, but surely many of the items deemed trash could have been donated to a worthy cause.
This is particularly irresponsible when considering the state of the economy and the environmental impact of so much waste. Many charitable organizations have thrift stores or hold rummage sales, and will even pick up your "junk." (e.g. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, the Market Street Mission)
Another option is freecycle.org - a virtual community whose mission according to their site is: "...to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."
If you want to make a few bucks or barter goods and services there is craigslist and ebay.
With very little effort your old furniture, toys, clothes etc. can benefit someone who is in need or simply has a need for what you don't want.
Recycling, while a critical alternative in reducing waste, has an environmental impact; "upcycling" -- that is reusing a product -- has virtually none.
The other thing you can do is simply buy less stuff. In any case, why wouldn't you want to be a better steward of sustainability on both the social and environmental fronts?
Every little bit counts. Each individual action, collectively makes a difference.