Friday, January 30, 2009

Plastic Cap Dilemma

Usually I'm fairly shy. I like to pretend that I'm outgoing, but I'm really not much of a small talker. But one day last fall, the planets must have been aligned perfectly. I walked into the Aveda store and began chatting with the friendly sales associate. I noticed a special anniversary bottle and she shared that it was made out of recycled plastic caps. First, Aveda began recycling its employees caps. Then, they tried opening the recycling program up to their customers. Now, the program has gone nation wide!

A store who takes responsibility for what they sell and actually takes it back? Fingers crossed that this is the newest trend of the (near) future.

Plastic caps cannot be left on plastic bottles when they are recycled. Local towns don't stress that point enough. Municipalities need to step-up and educate their residents more fully. (that's a whole different post) Walking around my neighborhood on a Sunday night, you would notice that most of my neighbors add their plastic caps in their recycling bins. Mistakenly believing that these caps can be recycled.

Plastic caps cannot be left on plastic bottles when they are recycled! (that point was important enough to say twice.)

Put on your science thinking caps kids...All plastic has different melting points. So if a plastic recycler was to melt down #1 plastic for recycling and a few caps with a different melting point found their way into the batch, the entire batch may become contaminated.

Plastic caps have also shown to clog up recycling systems and even become dangerous projectiles in the recycling facilities. Pinnggg....

What to do? What to do?

The Aveda Corporation realized that poor defenseless caps were being tossed away to forever live in the landfills. They also realized that the plastic used to make caps can be worth more money that regular old plastic bottle plastic. The friendly people at Aveda have devised a way to recycle rigid, plastic caps into new plastic bottles.

Aveda accepts clean, rigid plastic caps for recycling at most of their store locations. Also, if you have a school or group that collects these caps, they will send you free mailing labels to return the caps. Easy smeeshy.

My kid's school has welcomed the Aveda cap recycling program. Collection boxes can be found in the school hallways, the cafeteria and in the staff room. And boy are these boxes filling-up fast!

The cap recycling was easy to start. I just sent Aveda and email, asked the friendly principal (report cards are coming soon) for permission and tossed some labeled boxes liberated from the lunch room out in the halls. A quick emailed note (not to waste paper) went out to the parents. So easy that even you could do this at your school, office, church, restaurant or dance studio (Thanks Amy!). Hint Hint

It makes me smile on this dark, frigid day to know that there are a few less caps in the landfill today than there were yesterday.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ode To My Slippers

Ode To My Slippers
By Gruppie Girl

For years I denied you.
Returning you back to the store after Christmas.

"I'm too young!"
"I'm not a grandma!"
Slippers weren't for me.

The I got a little greener
and my thermostat got a little lower.

Then I slipped down the stairs
Three times, maybe four.

I finally gave in and went to that store.
That store with elastic wasted pants and suspenders.
That store with the big selection of grandma slippers.

My new slippers keep me warm and snug.
They keep me from bruising my patootie (again).

I wear them all day.
At night they sadly slip off.

I truly love my grandma slippers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Those Phone Books!

Last summer I posted about the never ending parade of phone books that arrive in my driveway and the stress they bring me. When I was 4 the Boston phone book was the perfect boost for my tiny bottom (some things never change) at Grandma Dot's dining room table. Now that I'm older I see these books in terms of tress and toxic inks.

In my town, phonebooks aren't accepted into recycling. The town expects it's residents to drive fifteen minutes (each way from my house) to the other side of town to deposit my used phone books in the parking lot of a nondescript phone company building. Not going to happen in today's busy world. In my informal poll of neighbors and friends, not one person actually drives their phone books to the designated drop spot. No one even knew about this spot.

After numerous phone calls and emails I was convinced that the 8 to 10 phone books I receive per year were never going to go away. Until now.

Yellow Pages Goes Green is a nonprofit group that is helping local governments establish ordinances that will not allow yellow and white page phone directories to be delivered to residents who do not want them. No more hearing that ominous thud on the driveway. We are now gaining the power to say what is and what is not to be left in our driveways and on our doorsteps.

The site includes an area to sign-up to be removed from phone book distribution lists. Because, come on, don't you just Google information anyways?

The YPGG site also shares some startling statistics about phone books. Did you now that 500 million phone books were printed int he US last year? 19 MILLION trees had to be harvested to create those phone books! 268,000 cubic feet of landfill space will be used when those same phonebooks are trashed.!

Why are we paying for this landfill space? Why are we paying to trash our air quality? Why are we paying for something that we didn't ask for?

Please take a minute to opt out of unsolicited phone book deliveries. You will never have to chase down a sketchy van in your jammies again. (true story)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pin Drop

Today I dropped Little Guy off at school precisely at noon like I usually do. Only today the elementary school was amazingly quiet. None of the usually running in the halls, fooling in the bathrooms, laughing in the classrooms type of noises were heard. The school was simply quiet.

The kids were all busy watching Presidents Obama's (that feels nice to type) inauguration. There were TVs in the cafeteria, TVs in the library, TVs in the halls, TVs in the classrooms. All 300 sets of little eyes were glued to the action.

I wonder how many of those 300 little brains understand just how important today really was in the course of history? I wonder if my little brain understands how important today was?

No matter how your political alliances lean, you have to agree that today is a day that will go down in the history books. Today we all were given a front row seat to that history. A major shift in our country is happening. Only time will prove just how historical today was.

Today was so moving and historic that I had to I redo my mascara twice! Thanks a lot President Obama!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Aww Snap!

A few months ago I received an email from a friendly person who own a Zero VOC paint company. She wanted to know if I wanted to try her paint in exchange for a review.

"Yes", I told her. This was my perfect excuse to finally paint my bedroom.

In my adult life (I'm an adult already. Right?) I have never decorated my bedroom in any way. No paint. No art. Not even a headboard. All of my time, effort and money has gone into the kid's rooms and the common areas of the house. Woe is me....I'm always last.

With the prospect of a fresh coat of paint I spent an entire week choosing the perfect big-girl bed for Hubby and myself. (With my track record, it will be with use well-past our 60th wedding anniversary) Tall and simple. Sturdy and rich. Perfect.

The seemingly friendly paint people offered to give me color suggestions for my upcoming project. "Just send us photos." Simple sounding.

After not hearing from the paint people for months, an email appeared in my inbox. Apparently they had blogged about my disastrous decorating. The photos of my bedroom had been posted for all the world to see! In the style of a sorority horror film, these friendly people took out their red pens and circled the particularly heinous areas of the room!

In the immortal words of Hannah Montana, "Aww Snap!" They got me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Give Back Filters and Number 5

I missed the date. I missed the date when Brita began accepting their filters back for recycling. I missed January 12th.

I'm not really surprised. In the past, I have prided myself on my extreme promptness. 2009 is solidly turning into my 10 minutes late year. Bummer.

Now back to the good news!

Forward thinking bloggers, led by Beth from Fake Plastic Fish pushed Brita to take back their plastic water filters for recycling. Brita was running commercials claiming the filters were environmentally friendly. "Not so" said Beth. Brita was recycling their filters in the EU while they claimed the filters couldn't be recycled in the US. "Foul" cried Beth.

With lots of blogger pressure, Brita finally struck a deal with one of my favorite companies, Preserve to recycle their filters into usable products. Whole Foods then stepped in and agreed to collect the filters and #5 plastics. That's right kids, all of that yucky #5 plastic can now be dropped-off at most Whole Foods locations for recycling.

For all of you out there who drink filtered water (there isn't anyone left who drinks bottled there?) You can mail your used filters directly to the "Preserve Gimme" location listed on the Brita site or you can drop them off at your local Whole Foods.

Problem solved. Thank you for stepping-up and finding a solution to another plastic problem Beth!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to the Coal Mine

Vacation is over. The new year has begun. I'm fired-up to get back into my routines.

For once I have the drive to wash the floors (with Dr. Bronner's of course), return my emails, send thank you notes, fold the laundry, take a daily shower. You know, all of those things that tend to loose their luster as the year goes on.

I want to get back into the coal mines. That's a clean coal mine of course. (wink! wink!)

Mother nature is not granting my wish. After nearly two weeks of school vacation, Mother Nature brought a delayed school opening on Monday. Then, today she cancelled school entirely.

Looks like today will bring hours of Wii bowling. Bowls of air popped popcorn. Baking the leftover box of organic ginerbread cookie. Lots of neighbor kids. And certainly no shower or make-up today.

Come on Mother Nature...can't you cut a fellow mummy a break?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goodbye Chirstmas Tree

One of my favorite post-Christmas sights is on the dunes of Cape Cod. Locals line the sand dunes with their Christmas trees in hopes of slowing the winter beach erosion. Beautiful and resourceful.
In my neck of the woods, the only sand I see in the winter is the road sand that gets tracked throughout my house. In my neck of the woods Christmas trees get chipped into mulch for spring gardens. Thumbs up to my town officials for great reusing and recycling.

Just the other day I hauled my old tree out to the curb (I've got the sap on my hands to prove it) in anticipation for the town's pick 'n' chip. Soon after I took the tree outside it magically disappeared. Or so I thought...

Through the neighborhood pipeline I heard about a mystery Christmas tree placed in a neighbor's yard. Surprisingly this tree was festively decorated with bras and panties. Shocking to the friendly residents. (they had to have snickered a little)
Now I can't confirm or deny my involvement in this Christmas Tree caper. All I know is that if the bras are cute and in a size 36C, can someone send them this way? You can keep the panties.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hang Up Your Coat

Recycling is more than tossing your cans and jars in a curbside recycling bin. There are lots of opportunities to recycle and reuse (therefore reducing..wink...wink) in your very own neighborhood.

Take dry cleaning for example.

Dry cleaning your clothes isn't a very environmentally friendly option for cleaning your clothes. Tons of nasty chemicals are used in the process. These chemicals find their way into our water and air casuing birth defects and cancers. Beating your dirty clothes on a rock while using a phosphate-free soap would be a better option. (Does anyone have a spare rock?)

To be realistic, sometimes dry cleaning is a necessary evil in my family. Take the fact that I've got a hubby who occasionally has to wear a suit and pair that with my complete inability to figure out how to clean those suits. Mix them together and that equals a trip to the neighborhood dry cleaner now and then.

My dry cleaner is similar to others who might be in your neighborhood. While not outwardly green, they are making small steps iu the right direction. Most cleaners will happily accept your used wire hangers and plastic bags back for reuse. My local company will even pay it's customers $2 for every package of hangers they return. Oh, how I love saving money!

Next time you must use the dry cleaners, grab your hangers and plastic bags to return to the store. Keep additional trash out of the landfills and help your neighborhood dry cleaning company save money. You've got to love a win-win situation!