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Showing posts with label recycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recycle. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2009

Photosmart? Yes, indeed.

This Monday at The Green Phone Booth I discuss the purgatory of PH (Printing Hell) and a few surprises from HP (Hewlett-Packard).  Did you know printers now come with instructions on how to be green?  Now if they only told us how to make the damn thing work.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Design on a Dime.

What do you do when challenged to come up with table centerpieces for a sports award banquet attended by 280 guests with a $5.00 budget? Oh, and you have seven days to accomplish your mission?

If you are wondering why things have been so quiet around here the past two weeks, my Monday post at The Green Phone Booth might give a clue.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Score one for the planet.

Seems like just yesterday, okay Friday, I was saying that one voice can make a difference. Well today one of those voices announced some very big news. Beth Terry and the Take Back The Filter campaign have scored a huge eco-victory for all of us.

From the official press release:

The Clorox Company News Release

Brita® and Preserve® Announce Filter Recycling Program

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 18, 2008 – The new year will bring renewed life for used Brita® pitcher filters, which will be collected and recycled into items such as toothbrushes, cups and cutting boards.

Beginning in early January 2009, consumers can recycle Brita water pitcher filters through a program with Preserve®, the leading maker of 100 percent recycled household consumer goods. Preserve offers an environmentally friendly recycling infrastructure for No. 5 polypropylene plastic, a primary material in Brita pitcher filters, through its Gimme 5 recycling and reuse program.

Preserve will collect the filters to use in its line of eco-friendly, 100 percent recyclable personal care, tableware and kitchen products. Preserve products made in part from Brita filters will be available at leading retailers, allowing consumers to purchase new sustainable products they helped create. more...
For more details visit today's post at Take Back The Filter.

Hats off to Beth, everyone who signed the petition, sent in their filters, and worked on the campaign. As a member of the Plastic-free Posse, we salute you!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Clearinghouse - Junk in my trunk.

Purge list:
  • t-shirt drawer
  • cami drawer
  • work out drawer
  • pajama drawer
  • underwear drawer & bra/swim drawer
  • sock drawer
  • junk drawer
Junk drawer.

Last on the list to purge my dresser is the junk drawer. Most people have one of these in their kitchen. Mine just happens to be in my bedroom. Kitchen organized, bedroom not so.

Taking stock:
Contents =
3 small purses
2 wallets
1 travel cosmetic case
1 sunglass case
1 pilates dvd
8 orphan socks
2 pair matching socks
2 pair new in package socks
7 receipts
1 $5.00 silver certificate
1 matchbook from the Sands casino
2 key chains with 2 old keys
1 leather journal
1 corkscrew and cork
1 paper drink umbrella
1 rubber bat
4 fest buttons
1 travel manicure kit
4 bottle lens cleanser for my glasses
5 screws
1 set bra straps
2 lavender sleep masks
1 skeleton key
a pile of love letters and cards
7 rings with boxes1 necklace with box
1 antique brooch
2 baby pictures of yours truly

Some of the items you may recognize from my underwear/bra drawer. The junk drawer seemed like a more logical location for these. There is not much in here I wish to part with. Okay, I no longer need the bra straps since I previously purged all my bras and disposed of them via the free table last week. The two key chains will probably make their way to the next free table as well. Although I have sleep issues, I have never used the sleep masks. They are outta here. Socks. sigh Yes, more socks. A comment was made during the purge of my sock drawer on how amazing it was to have 69 pairs of socks and not one was missing it's matching half. See Jennifer, I lose them, too! I have a whole bag of lost souls that these eight will be joining. The matching four will find a happy home with the remaining 43 pair I own. The receipts from purchases I was evidently hiding from Hubby will be accounted for and filed with the rest of the year's purchases. The purses, wallets and cosmetic case will relocate to my shoe closet which has yet to be purged. Sunglass case and lens cleanser will relocate, too. Maybe I will add the cleanser to the free pile? I use vinegar for that now anyway. I always knew I had a screw loose, but five? Those should be in the basement. The miscellaneous keepsake paraphernalia and letters will stay, I'm sentimental like that. The jewelry will stay put, too. If you ever want to rob me, I guess you know where the goods are. Oh, and the pilates dvd; one of these days I will stop spending so much time on my arse blogging and will use it. I have some extra junk in my trunk that could use a little purging if you know what I mean. Better put it somewhere less hidden, like the basement... where I never go.

Purge list:
  • t-shirt drawer
  • cami drawer
  • work out drawer
  • pajama drawer
  • underwear drawer & bra/swim drawer
  • sock drawer
  • junk drawer
Perhaps this post would be more appropriately named Warehouse. As in, where in the house should I relocate this stuff to?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thrifty Green Thursday

Free yourself!

At least once a year our home goes through a major purge. It is amazing the amount of crap one can collect in a year's time! Even if you do not buy much, there always seems to be unwanted gifts, something your relatives guilted you into taking, toys or clothes your kids have outgrown, and even things you may have outgrown yourself. Like the lamp that was too good of a deal to pass up a few years ago; only now, you have come to the realization it was such a steal due to its sheer hideousness. Yeah, you know have something similar in your house right now.

All of that compounded with items we gave up in pursuit of a "greener" lifestyle
the clutter has reached critical mass in our household and it is time to purge. I have slowly been clearing out my clothing collection, the chitlins have purged their bedrooms, we organized the basement, and cleaned out the garage. A small mountain of castoffs now stood before us. I highly value my time and can think of a million other things I would rather do than load up all this stuff and make multiple trips to the local thrift store. Not to mention the cost of gas! Likewise, spending the entire weekend haggling over fifty cents for a garage sale does not sound like much fun either. Admittingly, we probably could have made a couple hundred bucks having the sale, but spending time baking with the chitlins or taking a family bike ride is much more valuable to me. Free table it is!

We set a FREE table out by the road and over the course of the weekend got rid of everything! You would be amazed at what people will take if it is free. While replenishing the table I met lots of interesting people. Everyone was very polite and overly thankful for the items they took. I heard many stories of how the items were going to help So and So, about troubles people were having in their lives, answered many questions as to why I was giving away so much stuff - No, I am not moving, and learned how my items were filling a gap in theirs. It was wonderful. The many thanks and smiles will always out weigh the potential dollars.

Some of things that went to good homes:
  • cleaning supplies I quit using over a year ago in favor of vinegar and baking soda
  • plastic cooking utensils replaced with bamboo
  • tupperware and ziploc food containers
  • excess serving bowls
  • many coffee mugs
  • reusable lexan water bottles
  • a small fryer
  • dish drainer
  • partially used cans of paint
  • half burnt candles
  • Christmas decorations
  • picture frames
  • shoes
  • all of my purged socks and bras
  • tons of toys
  • doll house
  • Barbie cars
  • remote control cars
  • transformers
  • moon sand
  • coloring books
  • crayons
  • children's books
  • vhs and dvd movies
  • snowpants
  • swim suits
  • clothing
  • aquarium and everything you would need, minus the fish
  • vacuum cleaner
  • bathroom trashcan
  • shower curtain hooks
  • toilet brushes
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste and mouthwash
  • tampons - I'm a Diva
  • cosmetics
  • many lotions
  • shampoo
  • bath salts
  • air fresheners
  • razors
  • hotel toiletries
  • pictures
  • curtains
  • entertainment center
  • bookends
  • books
  • magazines
  • chafing dishes
The list goes on and on. I realize this is not exactly a way to be thrifty yourself, but if you take into account the time and gas it would take to haul everything to the thrift store or the enormous undertaking of a garage sale you might have a different perspective. Plus, keeping all of this out of the trash is a great way to help the environment and others. On man's trash is truly another man's treasure.

Next time you purge consider setting up a FREE table. Free your home of clutter, free your valuable time, free your sanity and free yourself!

For other thrifty green ideas visit Thrifty Green Thursday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to Eww! School

WSMS Supply List - Grade 7
  • 1 large zippered 3-ring binder
  • 1 3-ring 1" binder (for reading class)
  • 1 3-ring 1" soft cover binder (for science)
  • 1 pencil pouch
  • 9 spiral notebooks
  • 1 3 subject notebook with pocket dividers (for English)
  • 1 ruler with centimeters & inches
  • 1 box of colored pencils or markers
  • 1 compass
  • 4 plain blue pocket folders
  • 1 protractor
  • 2 black pens
  • 1 pair scissors
  • 2 blue pens
  • 1 eraser
  • 2 fine point black markers
  • 2 glue sticks
  • 1 box of regular pencils
  • 1 calculator
  • 2 large boxes of Kleenex
  • 2 highlighters - different colors
  • 1 plain green pocket folder - choir
  • 1 plain pocket folder - general music
  • 1 roll 3/4" Scotch tape
  • 1 pad of 100 Post-it notes 3"x3"
  • 1 3 subject notebook for both years of Spanish
In our blended family of two children (five, if you count the Ex-wife's other three) and four parents back to school shopping is split. Ew (Ex-wife) buys the school supplies and Hubby I buy the clothes.

I cringe when the chitlins return home from the summer with their new backpacks stuffed to the gills with all new supplies. The contents of their cheap crappy ass backpacks (that never last past the first week without some major malfunction) never coincide with the list put out by the school. The list is available online, the school mails it out, and every store known to man has it prominently displayed as soon as you walk in the door. She can read, can't she? Come on!! Could you get it right just for one year, please?! After nine years you think one would get the hang of it. Geesh.

As if that is not irking enough, the amount of resources being wasted drives me up the wall! Every time I hear the zipper on that backpack open for the first time it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. *shivering*

There are so many supplies from previous years stashed in totes in the basement that I could start my own Back to School store. I have stocked my craft room completely from purchases made by Ew, created a kids craft/activity area in the basement from other Ew leftovers, and still have totes full of Ew's wasted money. She is always complaining they do not have any money. Why then does she spend needlessly?

The chitlins both have large zippered 3-ring binders from last year and previous years that are well enough to reuse this year. We have amassed a pile of half used notebooks. We even have notebooks that are untouched from previous years! I have used all the folders I can for household organizing and still have enough to supply the chitlins for the school year.

One shelf in my workroom contains nothing but 3-ring binders. There are no less than half a dozen plastic rulers floating around the house. The markers/ colored pencils/ crayons got so out of control I started giving them to the school art room and daycares. Pens and pencils. Oy ve! Do we really need to buy more pens and pencils?! I think I can find two black and two blue in there somewhere. A protractor is a protractor; as a compass is a compass. Do you really need a new one every year? Same with calculators. I have yet to see one go bad in a year. In fact, I have yet to see one quit, period.

Why, why, WHY are we bringing more of this stuff into our house? Why is Ew spending money that she does not have on stuff the chitlins already own? It just does not make sense. Never mind the fact that half this crap is plastic and made from virgin materials. What lesson are we teaching our children?

As adults we do not go out and buy all new office supplies just because it is a new year. So, why then with our children? When will it become acceptable to wear the same clothes as last year? Use all of the paper in a notebook before starting another one? Reuse a backpack/binder/folder? Keep the same protractor/compass/calculator throughout your school career? Use markers/colored pencils/crayons until they are gone? These things should be encouraged not looked down upon.

People are quick to judge and have tendencies to slap on the poor label if someone buys secondhand, mends, repurposes, doesn't have the new latest and greatest. I will revel the day when it is thought shameful to show up for the first day of class wearing the fashions of the moment, sporting a new backpack chock full of pristine bleached white paper, plastic mechanical pencils, a cool new calculator with whatever cartoon/pop star is hot at the moment sprawled across it, glossy folders touting the same, pens, fresh post it notes, and a pvc lunchbox containing a disposable prepackaged lunchable.

My dream school supply list:
For more Back to School musings check out the Green Mom's Carnival being hosted at Surely You Nest on September 8.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thrifty Green Thursday

My printer is full of FREE paper. Yours can be, too.

In an effort to reduce my paper consumption I started printing on both sides of the sheet. It wasn't enough. Then I started keeping digital logs of client's emails rather than printing all of them. It still wasn't enough. Switching to recycled paper made me feel a little bit better, but I still wanted to do more.

One day it struck me. I can kill three birds with one stone.
  1. Reduce my paper consumption.
  2. Reduce my paper waste.
  3. Save money by recycling my own paper.
It's simple. Any 8 1/2 x 11 paper coming into our household that has a blank side goes into the printer paper tray. Whether it be junk mail, donation requests, church newsletter, school information, the children's old assignments, anything. As long as it has a blank side it can be reused. And, it does not matter if it has been folded, hole punched, or stapled. It all goes through just fine, I promise. Just be sure to remove any staples first!

I have managed to buy far less paper by scavenging any half blank sheets I can find. I have reduced the amount of paper that ends up in the trash by reusing it. Sadly, our municipality does not recycle paper, only newsprint. Ridiculous! And, I have saved money by recycling (reusing) all the free paper floating around the house.

People are freely giving it to you. Why not use it? I submitted this as a challenge suggestion to Carbonrally in hopes of inspiring others to make this simple change. Do some good for the planet and your wallet at the same time. Put your mail to work!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Purge list:
  • t-shirt drawer
  • cami drawer
  • work out drawer
  • pajama drawer
  • underwear drawer & bra/swim drawer
  • sock drawer
  • junk drawer
Workout drawer.

Looks like next on the purge list is my workout lounge wear drawer. Okay, let's get real here. Sure this drawer is full of "workout" clothes, but closest I have come to "working out" is working out how sleep a half hour longer and not be late for my morning meetings. I used to go to the gym five days a week, but that only lasted until the first holiday they were closed for rolled around. It only took one missed day for me to completely blow the whole thing off. Now I just pay the fat tax. You know, that gym membership fee I cough up every month but do not use. How pathetic am I?! Talk about waste. Ugh!

But, I digress. Still working in the nine drawer dresser (a little less) full.

Taking stock:
Contents = 13 "workout" items

Twelve pairs of lounge pants and yes, one more camisole. This one is a racer back though, so it's completely different, right? Riiiight. Finally a drawer a little more manageable. Thank god I did not have 30 pair of pants in there!

So I have decided to keep five pair of pants for lounging around on lazy days, i.e. summer. Three will be transferred to my pajama drawer. It gets damn cold in Wisconsin! Especially at our house; I keep the thermostat locked at 64 degrees October through May. Which is the same excuse I will use later to justify my sock drawer. Three will be added to the sell/donate pile accumulating in my workroom. And, two will be turned into cleaning rags. Actually, the green pants on the bottom are what I stole the drawstring out of for the cami tote bag. I may swipe the pockets off for later use as well.

This week's weight loss is only three pounds. Due partly to the fact there were not as many articles in this drawer as there were in the cami and t-shirt drawers; but, also because several pieces relocated to another drawer. I was in need of PJ's as you will soon see.

Running Total = 18 pounds of clothing removed.

To catch Clearinghouse from the beginning and why I started this crazy closet diet in the first place check out:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Clearinghouse Continued

Next up on the purge list: camisole drawer

Continuing on in the nine drawer dresser full, my cami collection is next to succumb to the three R's.
Taking stock:
Current contents = 30 camisoles

Man. This is no better than my t-shirt drawer! Apparently I needed one camisole for every t-shirt I owned. What am I doing with so many camisoles you say? Well, I HATE bras. So instead I wore these. Why I needed 30? I only do laundry once a month. Or, I'm a clothes whore. If you chose the latter, you would be correct.

It has been so long since I have worn some of these that they still smell like my old laundry detergent and dryer sheets. I quit using dryer sheets last October! Makes you wonder what they put in that stuff!?! 24 of these no longer fit. Clothes shrink while sitting in the drawer. Did you know that? It's true, ask any woman.

So I have decided to keep the six that still fit. Pass eight on to my daughter. Turn seven into cleaning cloths. And sell/donate nine. This week's weight loss. Six pounds!
Running total = 15 pounds of clothing removed.

Fifteen pounds in two weeks! This is the easiest weight loss program I have ever been on. There is something so uplifting about living lighter. Everything becomes easier. Less to wash, less to put away, and less time spent in the morning deciding what not to wear.

From packed to the gills, to what's the point of using a whole drawer. I might as well combine these with my newly purged t-shirt drawer. I have never had an empty drawer in my life. I just do not know how to react to that. It seems like such a waste...

Lord, give me strength not run out and buy more just because I have the room for it. Let me see empty space as a positive, rather than a negative void that must be filled. Help me resist temptation from clever marketing ploys designed to drain my pocketbook. Give me courage to live a simpler life in a materialistic world and the fortitude to focus on what really matters. Amen.

Previous clearinghouse posts:
Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Clearinghouse series: clearinghouse

Friday, August 15, 2008


In my previous post, Somewhere over the rainbow, I talked about the three R's; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle as it applies to my vast clothing collection and impending purge.

Let the purge begin!

I have decided to focus on that large nine drawer dresser full. Beginning with my t-shirt drawer.

Taking stock:
Current contents = 36 t-shirts

Geez louise. I could wear one everyday for five weeks without doing laundry! And that's just wearing each for one day. I tend to re-wear my clothes before laundering if they are not soiled and pass the sniff test. So, unless I have been in the garden, playing with the compost, or taken a cross country bike trip, I could easily double that. Two months without laundry!

I decided I could pare down to keeping 12 of the 36 t-shirts in my drawer. One third of what I was currently storing! I would give eight to my daughter to use for the upcoming school year. She's 12 and growing like a weed! Less money we need to spend on next week's back to school shopping. Yay! They are all solid, plain colored t-shirts. No one will know they were once S-mom's. (I'm a Step-mom) So it's cool.

Twelve will be transferred to the sewing room to be used as scrap fabric for re-purposing. More on that later. These were all stained or so faded that no one would possibly want to wear them anymore. And a measly four are destined for the pile of other castaways currently in the garage awaiting a new home. They are still in good condition, but I never wear them and will be better served on someone else's torso.

This is what remains. Previously it was so packed I could barely get it closed and even had to stuff a few in the front. Now I have room to spare! I removed nine pounds of clothing from my drawer. Talk about taking a load off! Averting nine pounds of "waste" from the landfill also feels good.

According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, and clothing and other textiles represent about 4% of the municipal solid waste.

The next time your about to hand over that pesticide laden-overpriced-polluting-sweatshop-child labor produced gotta have t-shirt to the sales clerk, STOP! Take stock of what you already own. Do you really NEED it? If so, why not buy second hand? Sure it is all of the above, but it was already in circulation. The less we buy, the less they will produce.

Waste products from a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, spill into a stagnant pond.
Zed Nelson/Panos Pictures

A worker in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, rests on the floor of a garment factory.
Mikkel Ostergaard/Panos Pictures

The owner of a textile factory in Dhaka threatens a child laborer, who works for 10 hours a day to earn $1.00 US.
G.M.B. Akash/Panos Pictures

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow...

Pretty, isn't it? Like my own personal rainbow in my closet. Well it's making me blue. In my pursuit to live a simpler life I have been slowly ridding our household of unnecessary, unused items. I feel another purge coming on!

Let's face it, I have way more clothes than one human could need. Three closets, in fact. Two for clothes - one for shoes and out of season clothes. Plus, a large nine drawer dresser full.

There was a time when I actually used all of these. Honest! Six years managing a store in the mall, it was a requirement of the job. Tisk, tisk. All that money wrapped up in clothes. Makes me feel foolish now. These days, I would say I wear MAYBE 25% of my current wardrobe. So it has got to go.

But, where?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I am not big on garage sales, but I have quite a stockpile of purged items in the garage waiting for a new home, so it is an option. The Salvation Army and Goodwill have been recipients of my previous purges.

Most of it is good quality in good shape. However, the few pieces that are past their prime I'm thinking of re-purposing into something new. A reusable shopping bag perhaps? Maybe some dinner napkins? Tablecloth? I am up for any suggestions you may have. What have you turned your old clothes or scrap fabric into? Found an alternative use for them? Let's hear it.

I have done some digging and textile recycling is few and far between. I know old denim can be recycled into a green insulation, but how do we get the denim there? Patagonia will take back some of there used apparel for recycling. But what if you didn't buy it there? Then what?

U'SAgain is a textile recycling company with a few locations throughout the US. Since none of these are near me I have a few other ideas to pursue first.

Freecycle is a free local forum where members list items they would like to part with - for FREE! You can post items you want to give away, plus items you are looking for. Need a new TV? Get one for free! There is probably one in your area. Type your location in the search box and start riding that Freecycle.

Rehash is another free website where you can trade clothing, accessories, and books with others online. You post what you have to get rid of, peruse the other listings, find something you like and offer to swap.

I don't have any friends, so a swap party is out. Or, is it? Hell, maybe I will host an online swap on my blog. Up for grabs one like new blouse size 4, will trade for??? Books? Homemade jam? Sewing pattern? I'm open. Any takers?