Worms and Flowers

Blog Action Day Climate Change

Posted in Environment by Lzyjo on October 15, 2009

Okay this is old news right, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We all know reduce comes first because it is the most important. Stop the chain of pollution at the beginning. Reuse is great, becuase it means you are not only using something again, but you are are also reducing by not using or buying something else. Recycling is last but not least, it’s almost the same as reusing. Paper and plastic products undergo reincarnation in the processing and subsequent remanufacturing. We don’t have the power to change global policy but we can start change on our own at home.

Just by evaluation my household needs I found a lot of way to use the three Rs.

Reduce

Reduce packaging by buying economical family sized products.

Avoid individually wrapped servings. Even buying a 2L of soda and drinking from tumblers can save a lot of packing from entering the recycling process.

A lot of packaging is plastic (petroleum) Amazon.com offer toys and other products that come packed directed in an amazon box, reducing a lot of packaging and the hassel of removing the molded plastic shells.

Henkel 00-09122 Indoor 5-Window Shrink Film Kit, 62-by-210-Inch

Reduce energy cost by insulating your home. This doesn’t mean spending a fortune having the walls restuffed, but rather take some simple non-permanent measures, like making draft dodgers and using shrink film on the windows. I LOVE the window kits, so easy to install and it makes a night tight barrier from the cold a must for any home with single pane windows.  This particular package claims you can save up to $190 per year. Great stuff, you’ll notice a difference as soon as it’s installed!

Reflective solar curtains are also a great way to keep out the hot sun in the summer, also a very economical product with a noticible effect.

Reuse

Reusing packing is a great way to get more use out of a produt before it becomes “garbage”

Single serving yogurts make great pots for seedlings or cuttings, making it worthwhile to buy small containers instead of a pint.

Reusing grocery bags is a fabulous way to prevent trash from littering the environment. We all know that an outrageous number of plastic shopping bags, 500 BILLION, are used around the world each year. 30 Billion plastic shopping bags are used in the US alone! Of course it takes a ton of oil to make that many bags, about 12 MILLION barrels worth! A lot of the 500 Billion bags end up as litter, where they hand around for a long time. Sometimes the bags are where we can see them, blowing across a parking lot or median. Sometimes they are found flood debris, but more often they in parts of your ocean-backyard that we don’t see. Places like the “Eastern Garbage Patch,” (sounds attractive, huh?) contains an enormous amoust of plastic debris that is harmful (no duh) to marine life (spell check just changed that the martian life) and shore birds like the Albatross. Marine animals also become entangled with debris or they can die from a stomach full of plastic garbage, lighters, bottle caps….The saddest part, only 1% of plastic bags are recycled annually, so take advantage of those plastic bags drop offs at the grocery store.

grocery bag canYou might think, in the middle of the bag controversy, that paper bags are the way to go. Save all that oil. Get a nice brown bag. Most often baggers put the paper bag in a plastic bag so the bottom doesn’t drop out and and so you’ll have handles to grab. The truth is, the pulp and paper industry is a major industrial energy consumer, the largest industrial water consumer, and the third largest polluter behind the steel and chemical industries.

Grocery bags don’t have to be a guilty pleasure because there are so many great (re)uses for them. For plastic bags try  Simple Human’s super garbage can that secures that loops the grocery bag under the can’s handles. This stainless steel wonder makes recycling grocery bags sexy. Even at 24.99, it will pay for it’s quickly, no more buying expensive trash liners, that waste use more petroleum. Beautiful, sturdy, effective. No more fishing the handles out of the garbage.  Of course you always want to use two bag, in case a hole or rip is hiding, you never know. Better safe than sorry, or in this case, better safe than cursing.

Paper bags, use them to wrap packages in a pinch. Also great for cooling cookies, especially at Christmas time. Cute the bag into a flat sheet, unload the cookies,  cool the sheets down outside and bake your next batch!

Don’t forget to recycle! The little things DO make a difference!

Blog Action Day

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6 Responses

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  1. ourfriendben said, on October 15, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    You are so right, Lzyjo, and thanks for the great suggestions! We use paper bags to line our trash cans and wrap our packages, bubble wrap to insulate drafty windows and doors, and candle butts to start our fires. It’s all a matter of thinking about what you’re doing. Can the leftover baked potato peels and bread from a restaurant meal treat your birds, dog, or earthworm composter? (You bet! Don’t be shy about demanding a “doggie bag” for every last scrap.) Can you reuse cinnamon sticks and cloves for a second batch of mulled cider, then heat them in water on the stove or woodstove to scent the house, then dry them and add them to potpourri? Can you save the wrapping paper and bows from presents you’re given and reuse them? There are so many creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, it can become a fun challenge rather than a sense of deprivation. Way to go!!!

    Great tips, yourself! Love the candle butt idea and reusing mulling spices! Fabulous! Can’t beat eco-friendly gift wrap!

  2. tina said, on October 15, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    I live by recycling and was thinking just the other day about how easy it would be to throw the cardboard and plastic containers in the regular trashcan, but then I realized I could never do that as I am so conditioned to sort. It sure reduces my trips to the dump and helps the environment too. Can’t beat that.

    Great thinking, Tina! I’m condition to recycle too! You tips reminded me, of the .05 cent refunds for cans and bottles, recycling and making back money! Not sure what state that is in. Maybe only NY and the NE.

  3. Jen said, on October 17, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    Excellent tips, Lzyjo. Some years ago, our neighbors started an “Eco Team” – it only lasted a few months but it really trained me to think about every purchase and how everything is packaged. The goal was not just to buy more recyclables, but to buy more re-USEables. I should really switch to paper liners. And I know we have a huge window insulation problem, so that kit would be fantastic.

    It’s crazy how all the packaging, within packaging, adds up. Like when each component of an item is wrapped in plastic! It helps to just be mindful. It really makes you look at things differently. Thanks for stopping by, Jen!

  4. fairegarden said, on October 22, 2009 at 7:40 AM

    Great tips, Lzyjo, martian life, how funny! Many years ago I got fed up with the Christmas wrapping paper frenzy and trash and began sewing cloth bags out of various scrap fabric, then Christmas fabric on sale. Make all sizes for all size presents and use tuille netting as the ribbons. Everyone scoffed when I made them fold the wraps and return them, or better yet, reuse them themselves. The name tags are copper twist tie plant tags, also to be given back to me for the next year. There is no paper, from me anyway, to clean up and toss. If you can’t sew, use fabric glue! 🙂
    Frances

    Frances, that’s a great idea. There is a ton of Christmas fabric on sale now, and I already have a ton in my stash. I can’t believe your family scoffed at you! Okay, I believe it, but way to stand up! I love your gift wrapping philosophy. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Dawn said, on October 26, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    Great advise, I purchased the cloth bags for $1.00 each and for awhile the grocery store was giving them away for free if you had a certian amount of money or comparable plastic bags, love the yogart idea!

    WOW, 1$ a bag is a steal! I think it’s so funny that America can’t handle a plastic bag ban, like San Francisco and most of Europe. In the EU everyone had clothing grocery bags, because the stores charge.

  6. Gail said, on October 26, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    hey Lzyjo, How are you? I reuse cardboard boxes! Just this morning i took a mailing package apart and taped it back together….Now whomever received the plants I sent can reuse it or recycle it at their end. Cardboard is great for lining paths and covering with mulch! gail

    Hi Gail, I’m fine thanks for asking. You’re right. There are a ton of great ways to recycle cardboard. We reuse a lot of our shipping boxes, making sure to reinforce the bottom and corners.


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