Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go paperless

So many businesses today are offering you the option to go paperless on your bill. That's great. As I was standing in my Mom's kitchen helping her yesterday, it dawned on me how much more paperless we really could be.

Watching my Mom wash her hands then dry them with paper towels that went in the trash, dad came through grabbed a couple of paper towels to use out on the deck while he polished his shoes. Mom told him to be sure and get some more paper plates and towels when he went to the store....
It just struck me at how much is being wasted, for what? Convenience? How much convenience? Seriously how much of that could have been done with washable reusable clothes? how inconvenient was it to use a dish instead of a paper plate? I mean its not as if we have to lug the laundry down to the creek and scrub it on a rock. We don't have to scrub the dishes in the sink by hand. Although when I lived alone, generally I did simply wash a single bowl, plate, fork or glass when I was done.
So how many ways can we cut down on the paper we use?

80/20 rule
Try using reusable clothes 80% of the time. I have my good towels then I have my old towels that as they began to all apart I've cut them into smaller clothes to use for cleaning. The "cleaning rags" get washed seperatley from my "body towels/ clothes". thats just me it makes me feel better :) I have separate rags for the pets too. It goes on down the chain before it gets tossed out completely. Yes there are going to be moments when you still use the paper towels, but consider the waste and the money you will save just taking time to use a towel you can wash and reuse.

Stop the junk mail
Total waste. Totally annoying.
You can stop it. Try these sites.
Green Dimes
They can stop the mail and if you sign up as a premium member they will plant 5 trees in your name.

Stop Junk

Check your pantry.
Yes your pantry. Processed foods aren't that good for you anyway , but have you considered the packaging? Looking in your cabinet you will see plenty of boxes. The cardboard can be recycled but the aseptic and paperboard cartons may not be accepted by some recycle sites. Buying things in less packaging help. Lots of pacakges these days may be recycled material. Check the sides and see!

Coffee Mug
You can use your own coffee mug at many coffee shops. Often they have really cool ones for reuse at their establishment for sale near the register. Imagine how many coffe cups could be saved this way!
At home reuse coffe filters or go filterless with a French press! Oh yeah :D

Did you know how great wet newspaper is for weed prevention in the garden?
Better than most store bought weedmats. A thick stack of wet newspapers laid down in a bed prevents weed growth . The paper is biodegradable and the soy-based inks contain no toxic chemicals that could harm the soil or plants. Be sure your local newspaper uses the so based inks before using this in a vegetable garden. Dont use the glossy pages used for circulars or inserts. You can even make your own seedling pots from newspaper! See how HERE.

Use newspapers or junk mail to wrap gifts. Seriously I remember all my gifts from my Granma being wrapped in comics pages :D I loved it as a kid. With the striking picutes used in many advertisements you can actually make great wrappings from reused papers.

Hope I've given you plenty to work with to help us use less paper and make less waste!

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