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Category Archives: Recycling
Clutter can be an ongoing problem for many modern households. A problem that can seem overwhelming, it can sometimes can be difficult to fight the urge to simply shovel the whole mess into the garbage can and start anew. While this may remove the clutter from your kitchen counters for the short term, it is not usually the most effective way to deal with the clutter problem on a long term basis. Fortunately, there are ways to get control of the clutter that has invaded your home without taking such drastic steps as trashing it all.
1. Sort: The first step to removing clutter is to determine if an item is trash or if it can be placed in another, more appropriate category. Can the item be recycled? Or is it something that can be donated? Or does the item simply need to find a new permanent place to reside within your home to keep it out of your way?
2. Recycle: Many communities offer at least some type of recycling program. When trying to declutter, it is likely that some of the clutter can be recycled. You can either send the paper and appropriate plastics off to the recycling center or you can find new ways to extend the life of unused items. One example of recycling would be reusing a tired and frayed bath towel by cutting it up into smaller pieces to use for those hands on cleaning jobs such as dusting, cleaning the bathroom, or washing the car.
3. Donate: There are some items that are just collecting dust on your kitchen counter due to not being used, for example, but they work perfectly well. The bread machine that your husband bought you for your birthday could be an item that someone else will get lots of use out of. Instead of simply throwing the bread machine away, you could donate it. You will be helping to keep working items out of the landfills while also supporting your favorite charity.
4. Relocate: You can find new places for those items that seem to constantly clutter up your counter. Install a few hooks in the wall next to the front door and hang your keys and umbrella there for easy, yet out of the way, access. Designate a bin or other container as the home for backpacks and briefcases so that you can keep your counters free of clutter but still allow unfettered access to these important items that are needed on a daily basis.
In today’s environmentally friendly world, it is now possible to have a sustainable home office. In fact, due to a wealth of creative ways to use, and reuse, items, it is not only possible, but quite easy to do so. You can make your home office more sustainable through your every day choices as well as when you stock it with the necessities. Indeed, here is one area where that old adage, reduce, reuse, recycle, rings loud and true. Read on below for some tips to get your creative juices flowing as you work to make your home office sustainable.
1. Start with the basics. It is the ideal time to think about sustainability when you are first setting up your home office . With careful planning, you can choose to repurpose your desk and office chair. Thrift stores, and other secondhand stores, often have well made options for desks. You might also find an office chair in good condition as well. You could recover the seat with some extra fabric that you have lying around your house. Instead of covering the floor with new carpet, consider bamboo flooring. This flooring is highly sustainable due, in part, to its quick growing nature.
2. Buy quality. If you are not able to find any furniture to repurpose, make sure that you buy high quality furniture made from eco-friendly materials and using eco-friendly practices. When you purchase high quality items, you will likely not have to replace them as much due to breakage. Pay particular attention to where the materials are sourced from and the processes that are used to make the furniture. You also need to be aware of how the furniture manufacturer treats their employees by ensuring that they are being paid a sustainable wage, for example.
3. Conserve resources. Once you have your home office set up, it is time to turn your attention to how you can carry your sustainability choices into your every day life. Opt to back up your important files to your hard drive rather than printing them out on paper and filing them away. If you also work out of your home office, consider printing out the necessary paperwork for clients only on an as needed basis. When it is time to print out documents, print out only one page at first. This helps to ensure that everything looks the way you want it to. Once you are pleased with the printed results, then you can safely print out the rest of the documents without the possibility of wasting paper.
When people think of composting, they often think of it occurring on a large farm or in a rural area, but you can compost whether you live in a small home or an apartment. Here are your top 5 composting tips for success.
1. Be mindful of what you put in: When considering what times of food items to put in your compost, think natural. If the food is pretty close to its natural state, it is likely that it is a good choice. Think about things such as fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grinds. You can also put in such unlikely food items like rice and bread. Any type of paper is an ideal ingredient for your compost, such as newspaper that has been shredded or even your old bills that have been shredded.
2. Avoid these items, if possible: It is important to stay away from most types of animal products. This includes any type of meat or bones from animals, as well as butter. These types of food items can draw animals and bugs to the composting site. They can also increase the smell.
3. Maintain a good balance: Ideally, you want a good balance of ingredients to go in your compost. In addition to the food items, you can also add grass clippings, pet hair, and almost any type of paper products from brown paper bags to tissues. This mixture of different items will help to balance each other out and you will have better success with your composting efforts.
4. Add water: You could wait for the rain to add needed moisture to your compost. However, if you want quicker results, consider watering your compost pile on a regular basis. You do not need to soak the pile but you do need to ensure that it is damp.
5. Make sure you turn it: In order for the pile to compost in a timely manner, you need to turn it regularly as well. It is a good idea to get into the habit of turning your compost pile before you water it. If you compost indoors, you can purchase a special composting bin that turns itself or you can simply use a dedicated utensil to turn the compost over.
Most of us want to recycle. However, understanding what’s recyclable and what isn’t can be overwhelming. Some communities offer support including bins to sort your items in and clear definitions about what is acceptable. Yet other communities leave their residents alone to figure it out for themselves. Regardless, here’s the low down on how to understand recycling and what to do with those extras like cell phones, paint cans and computers.
What is Recyclable?
Essentially just about everything is recyclable however, most recycling programs divide items into four main categories:
Paper items include newspapers, magazines, paper bags, books, cardboard and cardstock. Just about any type of paper can be recycled and most programs do not limit types of paper however, some do not take cardboard or glossy magazines.
Plastic is typically where it gets confusing. Here’s a basic rundown of plastic types and how they’re labeled for recycling.
1. PET (polyethylene terephthalate): Soda and water bottles are made from this type of plastic.
2. HDPE (high-density polyethylene): Milk, juice and detergent bottles are made from this type of plastic.
3. PVC (polyvinyl chloride): Plumbing pipe, shower curtains, and some plastic toys and infant materials.
4. LDPE (low-density polyethylene): Grocery bags and food wrap are made from this plastic
5. PP (polypropylene): Many food storage containers are made from this type of plastic.
6. PS (polystyrene): Also called Styrofoam, this plastic is used to make take out containers, cups and packing materials.
7. Other: Anything labeled 7 cannot be recycled. This includes many squeezable bottles, older reusable water bottles and dishes. This type of plastic leaches Bisphenol A, which is toxic and best not to be used.
Metal items include cans, which commonly hold tomatoes, beans, and other vegetables, as well as soda cans and coffee cans.
Glass items include any glass bottles or jars
For those extra items like cell phones and computers or items like paint cans or car batteries, check with your local recycling center to find out if they offer special drop off days. If they do not, often you can find recycling businesses in your community. They may charge a small fee but it’s better than tossing them into a landfill. Online you’ll also find many companies that will pay you for your used cell phones and computers.
Preparing Items For Recycling
The steps to recycle and to prepare your items are easy. You need to simply wash them. Don’t worry, you don’t have to scrub them clean, a simple rinsing will get the job done.
Remove caps from plastic and glass items. They’re not recyclable.
Recycling is a relatively easy way to be environmentally conscious. If your community doesn’t offer curbside service then a sorting bin and a monthly trip to the recycling center while you’re running other errands will get the job done. Don’t let recycling intimidate you, it’s easy and well worth the effort.