Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I have to admit, I am not the best Earth cohabitator. But, in the wake of the "going green" phenomenon, I am trying to do my part to help improve the condition of the Earth...or at least the handful of acres I enjoy. Here is a list of a few things I have done or plan to do in an effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle. (Some I made up, some are common knowledge, and some I found in magazines. Thanks for the magazines, Deb.) Now, grab a biodegradable cup of coffee and enjoy.

1. Switch to cold water for laundry. I have started doing this and haven't noticed any difference in the cleanliness of our clothes

2. Recycle old toilet paper and paper towel tubes. You can make cute little crafts like this. Use them to plant seeds like this. Or, keep pony tail holders organized and in shape on an empty tube in your bathroom drawer. Whatever you do though, please do NOT do this.

3. Reuse spare contact lens cases. I wear contacts and somehow end up with tons of spare cases here and there. Here's a great idea. Wash a case out well. Use it to take extra pills you might need in your purse. It's the perfect size for an emergency set of daily pills or every mom's best friend: Tylenol. (You thought I was going to say Xanax, didn't you?!)

4. Stuff an empty tissue box with plastic grocery bags for easy dispensing. I am definitely going to try this one. Right now I have tons of plastic Wal-Mart and Target bags stuffed into other Wal-Mart and Target bags in a closet. This idea might just work for me!

5. Save those fake "credit cards" you get in the mail for the kids. I don't know about you, but not a week goes by without receiving a piece of junk mail with a cardboard credit card in it. My kids each recently got wallets. They LOVE getting credit cards in the mail to play with. If you get too many, send them to a baby-sitter or daycare. My son said earlier this week, "Can I have another cookie? I will pay you with kisses. Or maybe with my credit card?" :)

6. Say no to the ATM receipt. So many times we get bombarded with paper or bags that we don't ask for nor do we need, yet we are given them without any say. One little thing you can do is choose "No" when the ATM asks if you want a receipt. You can check your balance on the screen and handle your transactions without getting a receipt. What do you do with it anyway? Look at it and throw it away? If we all chose "No" think of the paper we would save.

7. Reuse diaper wipe containers. I have to admit, I feel a little like my grandma when I do things like this. She was the type of woman who didn't have much and never threw anything out. She washed and reused paper plates, plastic silverware, you name it. I used to toss diaper wipe containers (I usually use refills only, but sometimes get the dispenser.) As a mom, they could be used for an emergency first aid kit in the car or house, crayon box, to store fridge magnets or other small toys, on the road/in the restaurant toy box...the possibilities are endless. As a teacher, I have found many uses for these little containers too. They are the perfect size for holding school supplies, math manipulatives, decorate to use for games, etc. So, if you don't have any use for your diaper wipe containers, chances are your child's teacher would use them.

8. Turn off/unplug electrical devices. Anyone in my family who reads this one is probably laughing their butts off right now. I was the one who turned on EVERY single light in the house and left them on, especially if I was home alone (even through high school and college.) Now that I am actually paying bills, I get it! I now make a point to turn lights off when we leave the room. I walk quickly through the house before we go anywhere and make sure everything is off and in some cases unplugged. I try to turn off the power strip on the TV and other electronic equipment in the room we don't use as often. I have defininitely seen a difference in our electric bills just from doing something simple as turning off the lights!

9. Reuse those funky, bought-on-appearance-alone, wine bottles. I know many of you, like myself, buy wine based purely on the label alone. Sometimes we might even think, "This is too pretty to open and drink." Then we quickly get over that CRAZY idea and before we know it, the bottle is empty. What's a girl to do? Here is a neat article on HGTV about reusing those "too pretty to throw out" wine bottles.

10. Reuse plastic grocery bags. If you are like me and haven't switched to the cloth bags because you can't handle the thought of the already PO'd cashier having to do a little something different all the while complaining to the cashier behind her and avoiding eye contact with you, here are some ways to recycle those plastic bags. (Holy run-on sentence!)
*Bring them to the beach/pool for bringing home wet suits and towels.
*Line small trash cans with them.
*Use them for kitty litter pans.
*Save them and donate to food pantries or small second hand shops.
*Keep a few in the car to do a quick car clean-up. (I would need like 84 bags to clean out my car!)
*Crumple them up for cheap packing material.
*Wrap your wet paintbrush or roller in a plastic bag while you take a break. It will keep the paint from drying out.
*Keep a couple extra bags in your car or purse to wrap up your wet umbrella.
For more great WFMW tips, head over to Rocks in my Dryer. Have a wonderful day!

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Anonymous said...

What great ideas. Yeah, I still use the plastic bags too....I use them when I clean out the kitty litter box. I know its bad, but I'm too cheap to buy bags for that. We use the wipe boxes for toys too when we get them. And lastly, my Grandma never threw anything away either. She reunsed EVERYTHING. She grew up in the depression, so she knew how to scrimp (is that a word?) and save. It wasn't until after she passed away and we had to clean out her house that we realized how MUCH she saved. We could have made a HUGE aluminum foil ball... OH, I like the idea about saying no to the receipt at the atm....good simple idea.

Debbie said...

Good ideas! I do the cloth bags at Target because those cashiers don't get huffy. Marsh is okay too, but Walmart is unlikely.
Don't forget to pop off your tabs!
I've started reusing aluminum foil. We go through a lot of it with Shawn grilling out every night, and it's not even dirty!

RainyPM said...

Great ideas, and I wanted to add another. You can stuff those plastic grocery bags into your paper towel rolls when you're done with them. :)

Kat said...

My hubby is the green guy here. And he does the grocery shopping. My plan for Christmas is to get him a bunch of reusable grocery bags. I am trying to find "fun" ones...and was even thinking about having a bag swap...I need to think about the logistics of that.

KimmyJ said...

Great tips. I try hard to be earth friendly most of the time. Our 7-year-old is obsessed with green living and he is not afraid to call me out.

beth - total mom haircut said...

Oh my goodness I LOVE the contact lens case idea! PERFECT. I was JUST looking at two empty ones sitting in my medicine cabinet and wondering what I should do with them.

And the credit cards - awesome.

Rhea said...

We used to use plastic grocery bags to wrap up dirty diapers before throwing them away, so they would smell less in our trash.

Also, we use plastic bags as liners in the bathroom trashcans.

Great list!!

We can throw all our glass, plastics 1-6, aluminum and paper into big trash bins and put them by the curb on trash day. Our recycling bin is usually more full than our trash bin, and it really cuts back on the trash.

Christine said...


Gallicissa said...

Great post!
My .02: Americans should also add 'refuse' to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Mrs. R said...

These are all such great tips. I use my re-uavle bags at Trader Joe's and they enter you in a weekly contest each time you do it.

That toilet paper roll/rose pic is scary.

"The Queen in Residence" said...

The sad thing about the rose toilet paper picture is that some one was really proud of that. YIKES!!!
Great idea.

teachergirl said...

Take an empty clean wine bottle, buy a small strand of Christmas lights (CVS always has them) (and I mean small) and stuff them down the bottle. Tie a lovely ribbon around the neck and voila, Christmas decoration. You may be thinking tacky, but it is gorgeous. I kid you not.

-Bridget said...

Good tips! I think I'll incorporate a few of those.

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

These are great tips! Especially that one on the HIDEOUS toilet paper thingy! Have you sent some to TipJunkie?