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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Starlight Saturday

Saving the Earth Saturday

Okay, I haven't felt very spiritual or silly the past couple of weeks, but I'm getting back in the groove. Thought I'd start back up with some green tips that will save you money!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Sure, it's easy to say, but can be harder to do. Or is it?

I recycle, so what else is there to do?

Well, there's plenty of ways to help you not only save money, but Reduce, Reuse and Recycle everything you use, or almost everything.

How so?

Well, here are some tips you might be aware of, and maybe some tips you haven't thought of.

1. How much money do you waste on bottled water each week/month? Well, invest in a water purifier if you're really worried. Because my sister and her husband live in an area with well water, they have a reverse osmosis water filtration system. Or you can buy those filtration systems that you hook up to your faucet. Either way, you'll find yourself saving money because you'll always have safe, drinkable water in your home (as long as you replace the filters when necessary) and you can take it with you anywhere you go.

2. Besides bottled water, did you know that Gatorade sells its mix in powdered form? You may not be able to find all flavors, but you can control the strength of it, so it's not nearly as strongly flavored, but just flavored enough to make you forget you're drinking water. You can also do what I do, save the Gatorade bottles - they're strong and durable - sterilize/wash and reuse them. That way, if you're more concerned with outward appearances (afraid to let those around you know you recycle), the plastic bottles can help "mask" the fact that you're making your own and reduce the amount of plastic entering our landfills.

3. Buy your dish soap in bulk. If the bottle's too big to use regularly, then save one of your dish soap bottles and refill it. Not only does it save money because you're not buying it nearly as often, but it but, if you're buying Dawn, you can help save the earth and the animals at the same time since Dawn sponsors oil-spill efforts that save our wild, furry and feathery friends.

4. If you're going to buy pre-sliced foods, at least buy the ones with a reusable container and be sure to reuse it.

5. Buy your food (cottage cheese, peanut butter, etc.) in larger containers and use smaller ones to take them with you.

I have more than enough containers already!

If you're anything like me, you save every container you can, but the biggest problem you have is what to do with them and, by this time, you're frustrated because you haven't found any hints as to what to really do with them.

Well, here are some ideas:

1. Large peanut butter or other jars can be reused to store other food items - as long as the oily peanut butter has been completely washed out of the jar. I myself am currently using one of the large peanut butter jars to keep my Chinese noodles (those crunchy ones) - this will save on plastic bags because you won't have to keep replacing the bag, even if you do reuse it for as long as you can.

2. Large juice bottles can be reused to store juice made from concentrate. Making your juice from concentrate will save you money because you're using your own water. And, if you sterilize/wash and reuse those smaller juice containers you'll be able to continue to take your juice with you. Plus, did you know that those heavier juice bottles are great for ice! Fill them with water, freeze them solid and you'll have ice that lasts and won't have to buy it, so you save money there too and it will save on the clean up because there won't be loose ice to get everything soaked! The great thing is that it can easily be re-frozen too (as long as it fits in the freezer).

3. Those pill bottles from the pharmacy that no one really knows what to do with because they, by law, can't reuse them - what to do with them? I wasn't sure what I'd do with them but now I think I might just use them for planting - the lids might help the seedlings grow faster. Hand wash only though, because they'll melt if you put them in the dishwasher.

4. My husband likes to eat cottage cheese for lunch and a salad for lunch. At first, we started with all these different containers, but then they started to break or weren't fitting in his lunch cooler. Well, instead of buying "new" stuff, I just got creative and, since he buys his cottage cheese in bulk, and at the time we bought our butter in those 8oz tubs, the solution was already in our cupboards. Once my husband realized how much money he saved by reusing an 8oz container for his cottage cheese and reusing the big cottage cheese container to hold his salads in, he got over the vanity point.

5. Plastic containers (like cool whip) can be reused to eat popcorn or to make costume accessories such as hats or purses. You just need to be creative with your ideas.

6. If you're like me and you want to grow your own plants from seeds rather than "buy" seedlings, plastic containers can work great once the seedlings are big enough and need more room before they are transplanted outside.

How will it look to other people?

Yes, there's always a vanity point when it comes to saving the earth. You're always asking, "how will it look to other people?"

Well, if you're asking that question, it's one of vanity and nothing else. Who cares what your food is in? It's just your lunch. Besides, others might see you and think, "that's a good idea!"

If everyone reuses what they can, each person will reduce the carbon footprint and help to keep more plastics from being made.

Okay, what good will just one person doing this do? Well, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is kind of like a rolling stone - when one person starts, others will follow.

Yes, I know that there are a lot of plastics being made on a regular basis, but the more people that begin to buy less of those plastics off the shelves (those not already containing food), the sooner the manufacturers will get the idea that we want less of it around.

Besides, the more you reuse some of those plastics and see how long they last, it makes you realize just how much the plastic industry is really hurting our world. Sure, plastic is considered a great invention, and it is, but we don't need quite as much that's in existence right now.

I have plenty of plastic containers that I reuse and I wash what I can in the dishwasher so I don't get overwhelmed with the amount of plastics that need to get washed. It's really eye-opening when you stop and consider how long the plastics our society considers "use once" really lasts. If drug companies would re-use (sterilize/wash) pill containers, they'd save a lot of money.

It's time to bring the plastic revolution to a close and start working on ways to stop global warming - yes, it's real and is really happening, despite what some people want you to believe.

What about you, what ideas do you use when reusing plastics?

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