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Old 12-18-2008, 10:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Christ View Post
What can we re-use the wrapping paper for?
Wrapping next year's gifts, of course. Take it off neatly, instead of madly tearing into things, then fold it up & stick it in the box or wherever you store decorations & stuff.

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Old 12-18-2008, 10:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Wrapping next year's gifts, of course. Take it off neatly, instead of madly tearing into things, then fold it up & stick it in the box or wherever you store decorations & stuff.
LOL My grandma used to take the wrapping paper off her gifts by cutting the tape with a letter opener, then un-folding it.

I got her one year, by wrapping her gift box in duct tape.

What do you do with the gift wrap that your young children open? Obviously, they're not as neat about it as we might be.
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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As in Ryland's case, I also use the backside of random pieces of paper for shopping lists, notes, diagrams when doing a small renovation. Here in Warsaw, for the last few years wrapping gifts has become less and less popular. People prefer to use paper bags. Of course, not the kind you find in US supermarkets, but nice decorative thick walled bags with string handles. A lot of people use them because it's easier to put something in a bag than to wrap it in paper, we use them because after taking the present out they're like new. We use them for any occasion: X-mas, birthday, nameday, party gifts, etc., and always put the namecard on the handle, so it can be torn off and the bag reused. I hate it when someone writes on the bag with a marker!

Looking around the house yesterday I saw that we use an old plastic container instead of a scoop for the dogfood. We use a 5yo 1.5 liter bottle for watering plants. We have a 15cm cube of styrofoam under the washer to keep it lifted when we need access. I'm using disposable chop-sticks for three years now. We have a whole bowl of rubberbands and twist ties from packaging. We have at least three chipped mugs which are now pen holders. We buy a lot of food at the farmer's market, where there is less packaging, plus we bring our own bags and egg boxes, further reducing trash. Tin boxes from cookies and candies are now the homes of sewing needles and thread, safety pins, screws, nails, etc. After remodelling the kitchen we had a lot of cabinets to dispose of, the sides of which are now shelves in the basement.
Since I often have to eat lunch in town, and I don't always have time to sit down at a restaurant with real utensiles, so I carry a fork in my backpack. A few months ago I didn't have that fork with me and had to use a plastic one. It hurt. Real bad. But then I noticed that I can lick it just as clean as the steel one, so now the plastic fork lives in my other backpack. Thanks to both of them I've saved about 30-40 plastic forks from the landfill. Similar situation when I go to donate blood: they used to give water in 0.33 liter bottles, but thankfully recently switched to reusable 20 liter jugs. Unfortunately, you drink from it with disposable cups, some people using 2 cups at a time (one before, one after donating). I bring my own cup (with a vampire on it - the nurses just love it ).

But there is only a certain amount of trash you can reuse - you only need 2-3 penholders for years at a time, but you produce trash continuosly. And today there is more and more packaging, so reducing is becoming harder (unless you start organicly growing your own food and stop buying your children presents). Reusing is better than recycling, and there is a company which collects packaging and reuses it without going through the whole recycling process. The company is TerraCycle.
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Piwoslaw's Peugeot 307sw modding thread

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Old 12-19-2008, 06:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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You're wholly correct in that you only need sooo many pen holders for your life, but at the same time, that's 2-3 less items that end up being "misplaced" in the trash, and 2-3 items that don't require the special "processing" that most recycling firms offer!

The more we can "recycle" without corporate interference, the better it is for us, in that if everyone saved that 2-3 coffee mugs, (which might be the only 2-3 coffee mugs they throw away in their life, if they're like my dad... ) and found another use for them, that would be between 800 million and 1.2 billion Coffee mugs (per generation, in America, with 400 million people tossing out 2-3 mugs) that didn't end up having to be "processed" before they could be reused as a filler for some aggregate company.

Sadly, most people just figure that recycling through the local firm is enough to appease some higher eco-force, so that they won't be bothered in daily life to actually think of ways to help the environment on their own. It's become another autonomic response to something that could otherwise be considered a "hassle" to daily life.

Some of us, like (seemingly) everyone that has or will post in this thread, already DO reuse a lot of things in our lives, maybe without even realizing it! There are times when something becomes so commonplace to us, that we just "let it go" as though it's not a big deal, even though it really is!

By the way, thanks for that link, I've bookmarked it, and will research it later.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I slice used bicycle inner tubes and use them for handlebar wrap. A worn out tire tread can be cut up to use as insulators around bolts to cut vibration. All of my bike lights use rechargeable batteries.

Larger scraps of wood, drywall, etc. are kept around for small-- and usually unexpected projects. Drill bits are resharpened instead of tossed. Two 50 gal drums collect rain water for my wife's garden.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:52 AM   #16 (permalink)
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At my house we try to keep food out of plastic, some things like yogert comes in quart plastic containers and we do reuse those for left overs, scoops for salt and sand for the sidewalk and for other small storage needs.
Milk and cream come in returnable glass that goes back to the store for a $1.50 deposit, eggs come in cartons that go back to my parents in exchange for more eggs, dry goods like beans, rice, coffee, cereal all are in bulk at the store so we just refill the glass jar, in remodeling the plaster is used as fill, nails are kept to to sell with other scrap steel, wood is either reused or burnt in bon fires or to heat my parents house, I pass the waste transfer drop off on my way to work and with and with 3 of us filling a bag of trash every few weeks i just drop it off as I drive to work.
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My mom has been washing out ziploc bags for as long as I can remember. Also, food leftovers go in old yogurt containers, or butter tubs, or whatnot.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
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See? We all re-use stuff somewhere in our lives...

Granted, the best way to reduce trash as a whole is to not introduce it to begin with, but it's not always possible. Re-using as much as we can in our daily lives is the next best way to save a little bit of money and help out the eco-system at the same time.

Does anyone take their plastic grocery bags back to the store?

I often shop at Aldi, where I dont use plastic at all. I end up helping the store get rid of cardboard boxes, which I then use for mock-ups and such, or donate to people moving, occasionally, during warmer months, I'll use some to start a fire out doors to sit by.

In the event that I come across something that is un-fixable (at least by me), I dont just toss it. I usually take whatever I can use for something else from it, then separate the basic components, like metals, plastics, etc. So they can be recycled rather than tossed out.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I feel as you do.

For years I have looked to my house's discard pile for project components before heading out the door to buy something.
We keep a large bag in the spare bedroom and put useable discards in it for donation to one of the Salvation Army style organizations when it gets full.
If I need something I will look there before heading out.
All of my shop rags have come from my closet. A shirt or soft (sweat) pants cut into right sized peices (i like mine a little bigger than 12" x 12") makes a great grease rag. Old towels make great cleaning cloths, or used for stain on a wood project.
We have Corell dishes, we also have a ceramic tile floor, when Corell meets ceramic, ceramic wins.
Now we have several candle holders of different sizes that used to be part of the Corell set. The in-laws gave us a new ,incomplete, set for Christamas last year to replace the stuff that broke.
We used the remainders for candle holders, and one glass serving dish has become a candle holder as well.
Empty oil cases are also the perfect size to store paperwork.
My grandsons school paperwork from Kindergarten on is all in old oil cases and stored in the attic. My paperwork from owning a small business is there too. I have to keep it till 2011, then it becomes fireplace food.
When we go to the grocery store we get paper bags.
They fold back up and store easily,
can be re-used a brazillion times,
when we have too many they get fed to the fireplace,
they don't "accidentally" fly out the window af a car and float all over the highway.

As to the wrapping paper cocndrum,
we re-use as much as possible and were burning the rest.
But now,
I think I will have the boy feed it to the shredder so it can be homemade confetti. Colorful and fun too. You can have your kiddies, with adult supervision, feed the torn wrapping paper to your shredder and make your own confetti.

That's my .02,

What is a brazillion you ask?
O.K. here goes,
A blond is on the subway headed to work reading a newspaper,
The headline reads;
"Two Brazillion Soldiers Wounded in Bomb Attack in Iraq"
She looks to the man on her right and asks,
"How many zeros are in a brazillion anyway?"


When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:57 AM   #20 (permalink)
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In an effort to cut back on paper towel usage, we use an absorber.

Funny story, one day I was walking into the house and the wife dropped a cup of water right off the counter. I had just finished washing the car and had the absorber in my hand, of course I quickly cleaned up the mess and Viola .... the absorber became the quicker picker upper .. lol

I have noticed that we use 1/3 less towels now because of it. Hell it dries, is washable, then dries again, quickly. We've used it to dry the dog, our selves ... on seperate ocassions of course.

So while its not exactly recycling its using one product in place of another that gets thrown out ..

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