Monday, April 9, 2007

Sprocket's Roundup

Oscar the Grouch had nothing on ARFE HQ
Not so much because we are just as grouchy as he is--although we are, today. [This climate change garbage has Chicago in the 30s today, and we are not happy about that.] No, we're a match for Oscar because if you look around in various corners of our house, it looks like we're garbage collectors extraordinaire! [We try to keep it out of sight, but, hey, out of sight, out of mind--and we don't want that. Plus, we're not the best housekeepers, anyway.]
We've gathered together a little compendium of the things we do to reduce, re-use, and recycle here, and we thought we'd share it with you.
First, the most obvious: plastic containers from takeout. We're somewhat relieved that local restaurants have shifted from using those waxed card-board containers with wire handles. They were pain to dismantle and recycle, although we did. Now most of them are using the sealed-plastic tub, which make terrific re-usble food containers. We use them when we take Sprocket on short trips, for food, treats, and sometimes water.

Just a sampling of some of the things we recycle at ARFE HQ: glass jars and bottles, zip-top bags, takeout containers, pudding containers, giftwrap.

Then, after a good re-soaking in soapy [biodegradable soap!] water, we use them again, for our leftovers. We've also used these containers as handy options for when we take cookies to the office for sharing. Of course, you have to wash thoroughly. Sometimes it takes forever to get the scent of that pupu platter you had off that plastic.
We also like to recycle jars and bottles here. They make handy instruments for infusing our own liquors (yes! we really do this!), storing change or buttons, or even as gifts for friends when re-filled with the raw ingredients for Grandma's oatmeal cookie. We have one friend who filled mason jars with a special hot-chocolate mix for the holidays. Boy, was that a delicious idea. These jars also make good impromptu vases, for those organically grown, fair-trade flowers you worked so hard to find.
We wash our zip-top bags for use as gear caddies for our races, or for use again as food storage. (We buy tremendous chunks of cheese from our local food club, things that we can' possibly eat in one sitting. The bags are good for this kind of thing.)
We have gift wrap from 2000 around. This is partially due to our penchant for giving small gifts; partially due to the fact that we have incredibly tasteful friends who give us gifts in nice wrappings. We never ever throw out a piece of packaging here before we re-use it. Unless, of course, you're Jim, in which case you have no idea how to unwrap a gift nicely and it all ends up in shreds. In which case, well, we just try to salvage what we can, and save it for the really, really small gifts we have to give out.
We also recycle our old maps this way.

Here's a manuscript that we're working on. When we're done with it, we'll use it twice before it goes into the recycling bin.

We use our paper in another manner. We print on both sides of it, or cut it up into halves and use it as letter-writing paper. After that, we use it to pad our packages for fragile things that we have to send out.
We almost never take grocery bags from the store anymore. We use terrific canvas bags that we can use again and again. We do have a tremendous number of plastic bags from the newspaper, and we use that for tasks like, ur, picking up Sprocket-poo from our walks and runs.

Canvas bags. Great for race swag, groceries, and other fun things.

Oh, don't get us wrong. We're definitely not perfect. And our house is practically bursting at the seams with things to be reused, reduced, and recycled. The truth is, it's a little ominous to think of all the stuff that's in our house. We have, if you will, our own little landfill. And we're running out of space.
If one household can geenrate this much reusuable material, think of what whole cities can do!


JD said...

Do these count as earth friendly?Zip-loc bags and washed out jars are good for storing your weed, too. Tampax wrappers make good rolling papers. I can teach you how to make a bong out of an empty soda can.


Miss Midwesterly said...

Bra-vo, Janey! A little creativity never hurt anyone.