PaperBackSwap Blog


Go Green Earth Day Contest

Go Green Earth Day Contest

What we all know and love about PBS is that it allows us to recycle and reuse our favorite things…books! We’re here to keep well-loved books out of landfills and in the hands of avid readers. Increasing our positive impact on the environment is an important goal of the club, so we look forward to Earth Day each year as a special time to celebrate and to further our commitment to protecting the planet.

This year, we want you to celebrate with us! In the spirit of Earth Day on April 22, 2011, we’d love to hear your great ideas for Going Green.

Share with us a practical, creative, helpful, and fun idea on how to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE household items.  Remember, when it comes to going green, even a little goes a long way. Submit just one, excellent idea that each of our members can implement into their lives to live a more verdant lifestyle.

Submit your greening idea by April 14th in a comment to this post. We will choose 5 ideas and members can vote on their absolute favorite Going Green Idea starting April 18th.  The winner will be announced in the PBS Blog on April 22nd. The grand prize winner will win 10 credits & $5.00 PBS Money, and the second, third, fourth, and fifth place ideas selected will win 3 credits each.

We look forward to hearing all your ideas and pooling everyone’s suggestions to make PBS members the greenest readers in the country!

Go green and good luck!

“The earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry


For Your Greading (Green Reading) Pleasure

Click the cover images to view the details page for each book on the site. These books are ready to be reused; they’re available to order from your fellow PBS members!

The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers, Thomas Kostigen

It's Easy Being Green by Crissy Trask

Wake Up and Smell the Planet by Grist Magazine

Squeaky Green by Eric Ryan, Adam Lowry

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244 Responses to “Go Green Earth Day Contest”

  1. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    My favorite green tip is, reusable shopping bags. I have 4 heavy canvas bags for groceries. I have two light weight nylon bags that fold up to the size of a coin purse, that I keep in my purse that I use for runs to Target or clothes shopping.

  2. Diane G. (icesk8tr) , says:

    I think reusable shopping bags is the way to go!! I always keep some in my car, and use them every time I go grocery shopping!! (Some of the larger ones are also great for book sales!)

    I also reuse anything I can to send books to other PBS members. The plastic that you get stuff in works great to protect books, reuse mailers, I reuse any paper that was used for packing things to me. Every little bit helps!

  3. Bowden P. (Trey) , says:

    At my house, my wife is the chief recycler and she does it creatively, so I think this may hit the fun buttons even if it isn’t as high a volume. Egg cartons become part of children’s crafts becoming containers, catterpillars and butterflies. Milk cartons become the skeleton of a periscope or boats. Cardboard tubes become swords & telescopes. Egg shells are being saved as part of a Mexican Easter tradition and so forth.

    The best way we’ve found to recycle is – have a recycle bin in the kitchen. This way it is easy to recycle items when its time. Its not inconvenient to take things outside one at a time. Instead, we fill it up, take it outside to the larger bin and empty it there.

  4. Leslie (karobee88) says:

    I like to take empty glass bottles (from syrup, bbq sauce, etc.), clean them out and remove all the labels, fill them with water colored with a little food coloring, seal them tight with corks (which can be bought at most craft stores), and place them along my windowsills. When the light shines through them it makes beautiful rainbows on the walls and floor. Colors can also be switched out to go with the seasons, like red and green for the Christmas season or pastels for Easter.

  5. I like to reuse food containers. I especially like cake icing containers, along with juice containers (a lot of frozen juice containers are plastic), and any container that looks like I can reuse them. I use them for pen holders, craft pieces containers, and little nick-nack holders. I have several icing containers hot glued together holding my colored pencils for my scrapbooking stickers, pencils, and other trinkets. I like to attach these to the wall to make for easy access to these items in my craft room. Most all the containers are white and all match which makes it look nice! The containers that have writing on them I cover with decorative papers! Sometimes when I am shopping, the way the containers look will get me to buy the product just so I can have the container!!!
    lauriehere

  6. Allie B. (a11iecat) says:

    Well, it may not seem very unusual, but since my family always ends up with a ton of paper grocery bags despite trying to use the reusable ones as often as we can, I like to use the paper ones to hold recyclables. Since our bin is outside, I like to have something in my room upstairs to get rid of paper, plastic, etc quickly. And since the bag is going to be recycled anyway, I can just bring the bag down when it’s full and toss it in the bin. Easy enough to put the bags throughout the house as a reminder and an easy way to recycle!

  7. Yvonne (WingsPawsNMagick) says:

    yes i recycle.
    * i actually dump out the coffee grounds into an empty plastic frosting container and use the coffee grounds on some of my plants in the garden.
    * i also lightly rinse off the coffee filter and let it dry… i use them twice.
    *i save the plastic and glass baby food containers from my grandchildren and use the containers in my arts n craft supplies. i have even sent some plastic baby food containers to a fellow PBSer who uses them in her classroom.
    * if i can peel off the label or cover over it i will reuse the bookmailers also. i use the heavy duty paperbags to wrap books in that i am going to mail out.
    * i recycled the metal ends of the biscuit containers into a cute windchime for outside.
    * my empty washed out hot sauce jar sits on my table as my toothpick dispenser.
    * i save the small pieces of bathsoap in a plastic soap dish…whenever i am going to work in my garden i run my nails over those small pieces of soap so that dirt won’t stick as easily under my nails.
    * i save the empty coffee cans and when i have to throw away cooking grease i dump it in one of those instead of clogging up my sink.
    * i am a registered organ donor so when i die i am even going to recycle myself….

  8. Annie C. (annie18thc) says:

    My family has used cloth napkins for ages, rags for some uses that you would normally use paper towels, and linen handkerchiefs. At one point we were only buying toilet paper. Just think of two decades of cloth napkins instead of the landfill amount of this time period. When the napkins get old, used them as rags. Everyone should see the DAILY amount of trash that goes into a landfill. It would make you sick.
    Annie

  9. Crystal M. says:

    I totally second the idea of reusable grocery bags!

    In addition, I’ve also made a point of learning to grow certain things myself. Unfortunately, I live in the city and I only have a fire escape. However, I use that small space to grow herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil) and some vegetables (small tomatoes and beans). I also take certain refuse (i.e., used vegetable matter) to the local composting station that was recently set up in our local park.

  10. Erin G. (45rpm) says:

    CLOTH DIAPERS!

    Aside from being devastatingly cute and comfortable – they are one of the best green choices you can make.

    An avergae baby will create approx. 2 TONS of non biodegradable garbage in his/her diapered years. Which means that baby’s disposable diapers will still be sitting in a landfill when their great great grandchildren are having babies. What a yucky legacy to leave.

  11. Judy M. says:

    Having a dog or two helps me keep environmentally responsible. I have two labradors who are literally living composters. They think carrot tops, apple cores (without the seeds), broccoli ends and even lettuce are treats. Its like having pigs and chickens (which are also awesome food waste eaters if you have the space and proper zoning). I’m careful not to give my dogs onions or garlic since they are toxic to dogs, but often supplement their organic dog food with healthy food scraps. What they don’t eat either goes in my under the sink vermiculture or my outdoor compost bin – which provides soil for my organically grown herbs, lettuce, spinach and other gardening activities.

    My dogs also get me out walking which is great exercise and a very environmentally means of transportation. I pick up their waste with biodegradable poopy bags too.

  12. Jillian R. (jilliandr) says:

    Green tip: Use your brown paper backs as gift wrap! Simply turn the bag inside out and use the bag as wrapping paper. It is fun for kids to get to color the brown paper bag before you use it and make the wrapping unique.
    You are shopping anyways so, ask for brown paper bags. They are free for you! Save the bags, have your kids color/decorate the inside and use it as gift wrap. It is a fun activity and gets kids involved in gift giving year round!

    Jillian Rothschild-Scholar

  13. Wyshona L. (spiffyshona) says:

    My family was interested in trying to reduce the amount of trash we took to our Dumpster daily, so last spring we started a compost pile. We already recycled but now, between the recycling and composting, we’ve been able to get the trash truck to come biweekly instead of weekly, and we’re thinking of pushing it back to monthly. We were astounded of the amount of trash we had been throwing away that could totally have helped us with our garden for years! The compost pile takes time (between putting stuff in it and making sure it stays revolved so that is actually deposing) but we feel it’s totally worth it for the environment.

  14. Dawn P. says:

    Most of our schools in the area have paper dumpsters, so I keep a giant box in the garage and toss all my read magazines, any mail we have read and shredded paper. And when its full we drive over to the school usually takes 2 of us because we let it get really heavy and put in the paper dumpster, and the best part is once the dumpster is full the company comes and weighs them and the schools get money!!!

  15. Nicole M. (n1c0le) says:

    Sometimes on the train or bus, I admit I’m a little embarrassed by some of the risque pictures on the cover of the romance novels I enjoy so much! (Come on, you know the ones! Fabio, anyone?) So here’s an easy way to fix that–take one of the many paper grocery bags you have laying around and cut it to fit as a book cover! It’s easy to do, you can decorate it if you want, it re-uses the bag, and also it keeps the book nice and clean so you can swap it for another corset-busting read (or whatever it is you might prefer) on Paperback Swap! 🙂

  16. Mary C. (MMC80) says:

    We reuse & recycle everything that we possibly can. Of course I use re-useable grocery bags and I use recycled paper to wrap my PBS books.
    My favorite green tip is to compost. We compost fruit & vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper, leaves, grass clippings and anything else that is biodegradable. We have a compost bin,and a compost tumbler outside and a small under the sink bucket with an odor filter to use when the weather is bad. It is amazing when you see how little trash you actually have when you compost your garbage & recycle paper, glass & plastic.
    Don’t forget to pre-cycle, that is buy in bulk, and purchase items that do not have extra packaging.

  17. Trish A. (BlueEyedTrish) says:

    We always bring our reuseable shopping bags to the store with us. We use energy saving light bulbs. We recycle everything we can and have a bin in the kitchen to make it easier for everyone to remember. We use a low flow shower head, although I will admit I wish we had a regular one.

    We use lots of recycled stuff for crafts. I like to use old greeting cards, egg cartons and toilet paper rolls for all kinds of great crafts the kids love.

    And the best way to help is to swap you books on here because it is a great website!!!!

  18. CA says:

    Inspired by the book “29 Gifts How a month of giving can change your life” by Cami Walker, try 29 Gifts for the environment starting on earth day. Gifts can be simple and inexpensive such as recycling an aluminum can that is littering the sidewalk, posting an item on freecycle.com versus adding it to the landfill, swapping books, using dishes and silverware versus disposable plates and utensils (plastic or paper), unplugging electronic devices that are not be used, etc. I try to do something different every day and I am amazed how many small lifestyle changes I’ve made that are helping the environment.

  19. Emily H. (fsuem) says:

    Every night before bed, all three members of our family get a glass or sippy cup of water. Very rarely do any of us actually finish the water before falling asleep. Tired of wasting this water and sometimes too lazy to go outside and water plants with it, I had to figure out what to do with it. I got a squirty Rubbermaid bottle to keep upstairs and now I pour all the excess water into that. Then, when it comes time to iron, I use this water for the iron’s water reservoir and the water bottle sprayer. I rarely ever have to resort to the tap when ironing, and I feel like I am helping the Earth a tiny little bit!

  20. Pattie S. (pattiecakes) says:

    We all end up with lots of plastic shopping bags – I reuse them as trashcan liners in my house, and as trash bags in my cars, too. They get used at least twice that way, sometimes more: when traveling, I use them for shoes, and to put dirty clothes in before washing.

    Also, I’ve recently begun making reusable shopping bags out of old pillowcases. The hems are cut off for handles, and the rest of the pillowcase is doubled (folded inside itself) to give the bag strength. They work really well, and are decorative, too.

    I always try to keep empty plastic frosting containers to reuse for gifting. I give lots of small gifts at work for birthday, holidays, etc., and use those (decorated for the occasion) as cute gift holders.

    My husband uses any clear plastic containers (with or without lids) for smaller items in his shop. Nuts & bolts, screws, nails, etc. – they are safe, contained, and easy to see what’s where.

    I also make my own bookmarks out of leftover scrapbook papers, stickers, etc., then laminate them and give as gifts. I also enclose one with each book I send out!

    We also have started using old newspapers (shredded) as mulch in the garden. We have really heavy clay soil, and the paper gives some lightness where needed. And it’s biodegradable, too.

    I loved the comment about being an organ donor – I am one, too – I guess that’s the ultimate in recycling!

  21. Stephanie W. (stephyw) says:

    I use my extra brown paper grocery bags to wrap the books I send through paperback swap. They are durable and thick enough to keep out the elements while acting as perfect packing material.

  22. Tiffany L. (tiff2mocs) , says:

    Crochet recycling/reusing! Cut up old t-shirts, sheets, etc. etc. that you don’t want and crochet them into lovely rugs and bags (there are endless possibilities)! You could also do the same with plastic bags you tend to collect over time by creating plarn…see the following website for how to create fun bags and start plarn: http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/02/17/instructions-for-cutting-plastic-bags-creating-recycled-plastic-yarn/.
    These recycle crafts (recrafties as I call ’em) is a fun, relaxing and an eco-friendly way to recycle and reuse your items, not to mention, a get way to get your creative juices running! (I recently finished a crochet rug out of t-shirts…my first every crochet project and it turned out great! I will be happy to send pics upon request.)

  23. Jennifer L. says:

    One of the newer things I’ve started doing at home is using the 2nd side of paper to print on before putting it in the recycle bin. I have 3 kids, 2 of which are in school, so have a paper coming in daily, plus I have a bunch from work. I still have some “fresh” paper on hand, when needed, but I always leave my “side two” paper in the printer for printing things like permission forms, pbs labels, etc.

    Another great thing I set up at work recently was some recycling bins. I work for a school district where we were already recycling paper, but weren’t recycling anything else. I picked up a couple of bins from the local recycling center and now, once a week, I’ll pick them up and drop them off at the center – the 2 bins are about 60 gallons each and are always full. If your workplace isn’t recycling already, set it up. It’s so easy to do, doesn’t take too much time out of your schedule and you’ll feel great about it!

  24. Holly P. (redrapunzel) says:

    The hands down BEST green recycling tip I have is reuse your boiling water from the kitchen. When I make pasta, potatoes, etc. I remove the food and take a ladle and the pot of hot water out to my driveway or where ever the weeds are lurking. I pour the hot water over the weeds, thus reusing the thermal energy and the water. The water that cooked my food, now cooks the weeds. No chemicals in the envirnoment, no toxins in my yard, and no additonal cost for me. The water returns to the ground and does not have to go to a treatment plant. When I see weeds, I just make my kids pasta:)

  25. Trisha T. says:

    Reducing, reusing, and recycling is just a part of life for me…so it was hard to pick which idea to share. I like to take #6 plastics and reuse them for shrinky dinks. You can find this plastic sometimes on disposable drink lids, clear disposable salad containers, strawberry containers, etc. Just cut out your shape (they will shrink quite a bit!), punch a hole in the top (optional) and bake on a foil covered cookie sheet in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 350 degrees. They will curl up and flatten back out, just like store bought shrinky dinks.

  26. Mary M. (surfingwolf) says:

    Coffee comes in plastic containers nowadays,so I wash mine out real good,let them dry and use them for birdhouses and feeders. For the feeders: I poke two small holes in one side, one about an 1/2 inch-1 inch from top,same from bottom and use strong twine or picture wire to run through one hole and out the other making it long enough for the purpose of hanging your feeder from pole or tree limb,then take your coffee can lid and cut ( do not cut through the rim of the lid,cut inside it ) a half a circle out of the inside of the rim,do not cut too close to the rim,when done put lid on can making sure the cut out part is up towards the string ,for the uncut part is at bottom when you hang it up cause it will hold the birdseed inside,fill up your feeder with birdseed and hang it up in your favorite place. I have found that not putting a perch on my cans keep bigger birds from getting to it and allows smaller birds to feed,they go inside and eat,but if you want you can use a popcycle stick,wood dowel or small twig to poke hole in lid to form perch. Use same info above to make birdhouse,only, cut just a small round hole in lid and poke small hole in lid below the round hole and insert a twig,wood dowel,ect. to form a perch and hang up,these cans last long,remove lids for esay cleaning, also put out your dryer lint for the birds to use for nesting material and Happy Birdwatching !!

  27. Brittany B. (pinkpenguin) E Rochester, OH says:

    If you get a newspaper, keep the ones from important dates, such as your wedding or a birthday, and frame them. Or, you could use the paper for firewood instead of actual wood.

  28. Sarah H. (galphin) says:

    I reuse a lot of the shipping materials I get from PBS. If a book comes in a bubble mailer, I save the bubble mailer and peel off the postage and address label. Then I affix my own shipping label and postage when it comes time to mail a book to another member, tape up the opened end of the mailer, and ship my book out. I’ve also been able to reuse brown paper wrappings and various sized boxes that I’ve received to send books out. I also try to print out my shipping labels on recycled paper, although I’m not always able to.

    I also use the water from the dehumidifier we have running in our basement to water my houseplants instead of pouring it down the drain.

    We also compost (coffee grounds, tea leaves, fruit and veggie scraps, yard waste) and plan to add the compost to our garden beds.

    Oh, and I steal my fiancée’s old button down shirts to wear around the house if I need a light jacket or cover-up for gardening or painting.

  29. Chris R. (tolenmar) says:

    I’m a packrat and a dumpster diver. Most garbage days, I cruise around my neighborhood. Anything that looks like I can repair gets picked up, fixed and given to people who can re-use them. My office is furnished with things people threw out.

  30. Kristina S. says:

    I make my own firestarters from the bottoms of paper egg cartons. Remove top from carton and fill each cavity fully with a bunch of saved dryer lint. Melt wax from leftover candles or broken crayons (melt wax in old coffee can, double-boiler style in pan of hot water on stove). Pour melted wax over the top of each cavity until top crust forms. Allow to cool. Break off as needed when you’re ready to build a fire. Place @ bottom under kindling and voila! You’ve just made something functional, avoided purchasing something and reduced the amount of stuff going to landfill or even recycle. And when fireplace ashes are cool, sprinkle them on your lawn to boost PH — cheaper than lime and no waste in garbage!

  31. Gretchen G. (trunkshow) says:

    *Favorite – old storm door repurposed to become lid on hot bed to start garden vegetables. When it’s still chilly, the glass keeps it warm. When it warms up use the screen to keep critters from the ‘buffet.’
    *2nd fav – outdated bathroom vanity was remodeled to become kitchen island w/ curved Qn Anne feet and a marble top (from demolition of local building). Just right size for slow cooker & other large appliance. Faux drawer became useful spice drawer so they lay flat & I can read the labels.
    *Plastic milk or fruit jugs with bottoms removed (and lids off) set over top of new tomato or pepper plants help them stay warm until chlly weather has gone.
    *Cans, papertowel and tp rolls are saved & delivered to YWCA for craft projects.
    *Egg cartons are saved and returned to friend with laying hens.
    *Like other PBS fans, I reuse the envelopes/packing material to ship out my books.
    *I use clean backside of papers to print PBS shipping labels.
    *I reuse books 🙂 obviously thru PBS, even sharing your books with local schools.
    *We’ve reused gift bags, wrap, and bows for years. When they get tacky/worn, the wrap is shredded for filler, the bags find new storage uses (hold dustrags, organize car trunk, etc).
    *I reuse kids notebook/binders. May not be fashionable at school but as chair of service project committee, it keeps organization’s notes handy and organized.
    *I shop craigslist, ebay, garage sales to reuse someone else’s items.
    *Old newspapers are reused to clean windows.
    *Old washclothes work on my Swifter, old socks dust, hose/trouser socks hold soap scraps to hang on fruit trees to keep deer away.
    *Pruning from apple tree is dried & used when we grill or given to other grillers.
    * and I too have signed the ultimate recycling agreement – the organ donor card.

  32. Tara P. says:

    I like to put plastic bags from the grocery folded neatly inside old empty and dry baby wipes plastic tubs. I overlap the edges of the last fold into the bag before, then thread the top bag through the dispenser slot on the tub lid. I put the tub under the counter in each bathroom, where I can easily pull one bag out at a time to line my vanity garbage can, a simplehuman model which holds grocery store bags as the can liner. The bags get re-used, the wipes container gets re-used, and there’s no more gross, used tissues in the vanity can because there wasn’t a can liner handy when my hubby collected the garbage!

  33. Jessie S. (klaere) says:

    I use reusable bags when shopping- but when I forget, I save the paper bags to wrap my PBS books! Brown paper makes a great wrapper. I’m saving any plastic bags I use in an attempt to make yarn out of them and crochet something.

  34. Krista H. (spikeybaby101) says:

    It may have already been said but, I like to use reusable shopping bags as often as I can. But if I forget them I ask for paper bags instead and then use the paper bags to wrap most of the books that I ship out.

  35. Jennifer A. says:

    Rechargeable Batteries come in all sizes. You save money in the long run because you are reusing something over and over. They even make solar battery chargers so you can use the sun and not electricity to recharge batteries.

  36. Tammi B. says:

    in my home there are six people to help recycle my uncle and i take glass bottles and make cool decreative bottles what we do is save a few then crush the rest and fill the other bottles with the shards and put a lid on it and place them in the window they look really cool and when the sunshines through them they make colored rainbows. we also donate old clothes and have a compost heap which really helps our fruit trees. i even give blood regularly and when i get my id i want to sign up to be a organ doner.

  37. In my opinion, one of the best ways to go green is to support local organizations who promote and practice sustainability.

    The opportunities in many communities are numerous, including local food cooperatives, community garden projects, green living and sustainability organizations, etc.

    I volunteer for the Nebraska Food Cooperative, an organization that supports local, organic farmers by providing easy access of their products to consumers.

    As a volunteer, you’ll have an opportunity enrich your community, and meet others who are passionate about sustainability. Ideas and improvements shared with your fellow volunteers may serve as a great motivator to do more in your organization and in your personal life.

  38. Mary C. (amlsurvivor) says:

    I save the plastic bags our newspapers come in and use them to wrap my PBS books for shipment. If you have subscriptions to several papers, you know how quickly those bags can accumulate. They are the perfect size for most paperback books, the plastic protects the book from inclement weather and keeps another plastic bag out of the landfill! 🙂

  39. Robine S. (robine4206) says:

    We go green in many ways at our home. We recycle everything that we can. We use large Rubbermaid totes and put the recycles out every week for trash day. When we print something out on the computer and there is only one or two lines of type on the paper we will turn the paper over and use it again. We also have a garden and the waste from the yard and food scrapes are put into a compost pile. We also return all the soda bottles and cans and we return our neighbors for him. We have a water cooler in the living room so that we don’t have to buy bottled watered. We eat left overs and never throw good food out. We also have scooters and bikes that we ride to work or we walk on nice days. My husband fixes everything when it breaks. When the car breaks we go to the junk yard for the part it needs. We use energy saver light bulbs and the only time we turn something on in the house is when we are using it at that moment. Of course we go to the library and we also order books from Paperback Swap. When we go fishing we always practice a catch and release policy. We never discard the fish or worms wastefully.

  40. Phoebe (1mom42) says:

    sound strange but I like to reuse the empty TP cardboard roller. If you glue a pretty cloth around it it can be a vase for pencils, pens tooth brushes , makeup brushes. You can also glue fabric on it and bring it over the top adding a draw string and you have a great snack box for children. It is the perfect size for goldfish or cherrios. Best part is you don’t care when they loss it.

  41. Nancy R. (NancyL) says:

    Finally recycling came to our houses in Hawaii so I don’t have to go to a large bin at the school. So we curbside recycle newspapers, cans, bottles. Return aluminum and glass that have 5 cents deposit. NNever buy bottled water.Still visit the large bin at the school for other papers. Need to make a note or memo – use a used envelope. Pay bills and receive bills all online eliminating envelopes and mail. Use cloth bags for shopping or just go to Costco where bags are non-existent. Recycle any plastic bags, florescent bulbs, reusable batteries that finally die at Target or Home Depot. Just the 2 of us plus 2 small dogs and a cat so only have 1 tall kitchen bag of garbage a week. I think it is funny people talk about recycling canned frosting containers – don’t buy it in the first place, frosting is easy to make with powered sugar. Teaching cat to use the toilet with LitterQuitter so we won’t have recyclable litter anymore (and saving the Litterquitter for others to train their cats when we are done). Use biodegradable poop bags for the dogs. Use so little water that we are never charged over the lowest rate.
    Put up solar panels on the roof so often have a $0 electric bill. Always print on 2 sides of the paper. Use laptop usually instead of desk computer – uses less electricity. Have all computer stuff, tv stuff, microwave on power strips – off all night and most of the day. You don’t need the quick turn on of a tv – think 3 minutes ahead and save all of that power. When using computer and have to leave for a bit, at least turn off the monitor – and screen savers use power – turn the monitor off. Have 3 or more stores to visit – do it logically in order to save the gas. Throw your car in Neutral when going down a hill or when waiting at lights that you know are long or waiting in line to pay over $4 for it. A tip for those of you in cold country – do all trips at one time, a cold engine uses more gas so do all at once before the engine cools down.

  42. Kerry D. (owlandtwig) says:

    What is striking me about most of the posts so far is how people are talking about re-using shopping bags & plastic & glass containers. Let me ask…why are these people still getting plastic/paper bags to begin with? That isn’t green. There is also no need to buy products that come in plastic or glass containers. Chances are there is some sort of natural food store or Co-op in your area that sells bulk items from pastas to cereals to sugar, flour, nuts, etc that you can simply fill up a container you already have. My green solution is to CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE from mindless consumers to mindful do-it-yourselfers. Anything that comes in a container in the store can be made at home with bulk ingredients, fruits, and veggies. Make your own baby food & juice. Bake your own bread. Make your own yogurt. Cut meat out of your diet or buy meat directly from the (humane) supplier. In my state (Vermont), reusable glass milk bottles have made a comeback. You pay a small deposit on the bottle and than return the empty milk jug to the store that will be refilled with milk and re-used. Grow your own veggies if you can or buy local whenever possible. Compost all the food scraps. It is that simple. You will not only have zero to minimal trash to throw away, you will also have zero to minimal recycling to haul to the curb. Do your research and get more involved in your food. That is the greenest thing you can do.

  43. Stephanie J. (daiseyinthefield) says:

    My family has incorporated the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra into everything we do. Before anything goes into the trash, we ask “Can it be reused or recycled?” Most of the time the answer is “yes” which has resulted in a family of 3 who tosses out 1 small bag of trash on average every 2 weeks! Another way we are green is by not buying products that have excessive packaging and/or that don’t come in recycleable containers. We also don’t buy what we don’t need, and we try to buy used products (from Craig’s List, ebay, garage sales, or consignment shops) when they are available instead of buying everything new. Applying the “reduce, reuse, recycle” rule to everything we do has been a lot easier than you would think. It is now second nature so it takes very little effort, but we have experienced a HUGE reduction in the trash that our family produces.

  44. dibrittain , says:

    I love reusing stuff. I found at work some cups come in small bags so I keep the bags to bring home and use them to wrap my books in when swapping. I have also used newspaper plastic bags when it is delivered everyday. I even use all the mailers over again that come with books and other items to me.

    Large plastic bags can be recycled or what I do is take them to the local thrift stores. They are needed badly by most and love a bag donation. They make great trash can liners so you can save the inside of the can and dump all the trash into one large bag and keep reusing the liner.

    I use reusable bags and ride a bike to work everyday rain snow or shine.

    My cub scout troop reuses items for crafts. Pick up the books at the local library on reusing items for crafts. It gives some great ideas. I even when to a party where we made musical instruments out of boxes, plastic tubs, tubes. Check on the web your bound to find a use for everything.

    One thing not to reuse is a water bottle for water. It will be harmful for you.

  45. Susan S. (MoonLily) , says:

    I will avoid repeating others and just add one I did not see yet:

    We eat a lot of Activa yogurts. Those little cups are just the right height for the top dresser drawer. I got tired of trying to find a matched set of knee highs, footies or trouser socks in the morning and put one pair per cup. To aid my morning sleepy-eyed picking, I put the navy socks on the opposite end of the drawer from the black ones. They are too small for adult sport socks, but they might work for small children’s socks too. (I don’t have kids. Just guessing.)

    The yogurt box (24 yogurts from the wholesale club), re-filled with empty, rinsed cups also makes a great pull out tray for organizing small items on a shelf too.

  46. Carrie J. (akalawolf) , says:

    We line boxes with old sheets, old pillows or old towels for our cats. No need to buy pet beds, the cats love the boxes.

    We re-use the plastic coffee containers for scooping out the cat food from the bag, for putting screws or nails in in the garage or for putting smaller stuff in.

    I re-use the plastic wrap from PBS members. I just simply re-wrap it around a book and tape it.

    We re-use the second side of the paper for scratch paper, or printing daily puzzles.

    We ship a lot of stuff that we sell on e-bay, so we use the plastic bags for packing around the stuff. They don’t add much weight, so it’s great.

    We have a computer business, so we recycle the computer parts. We live in a rural area and there is a local person who we donate the e-waste to for the fair grounds.

    When we go walking around in different areas it amazing the garbage that is along the roads. So we pick up what we can and recycle what we can like cans, plastic bottles etc.

  47. Becky I. (southchick-ga) says:

    My husband, father, and I have started a compost heap. All compostable materials go into our compost pile, to which we then add worms. Once we have compost we add it to our garden. We grow our own vegetables (and some fruits), so that cuts down on a lot of processed, pre-packaged foods that come into our home.

  48. Kimberly H. (hopelesslyharen) says:

    We have a drawer of “scratch paper”. So many things get printed, used, and the other side is perfectly blank. I use this paper to print everything that doesn’t need to look “new”, which here at home isn’t much. I actually print my PBS wrappers and such on them too. And, interestingly enough, have been known to add one sided junk mail into the scratch paper pile. It means the paper gets really used before trash, and we buy less paper. I love green ideas that also save me money.

  49. ABBY D. (Abby) says:

    I bought 4 large packs of ordinary white bar towels and keep in a drawer in the kitchen. I use them instead of papertowels for drying hands and wiping up messes and spills. I launder them all together and if they get really ratty they become the bathroom cleaning rags, stored and washed separately. The key is to get a lot of these at once so you always have one handy, and you never have to use paper towels.

  50. Joanne C. (belvaderereader) says:

    I invariable have left over water from the evening, meals, etc. We put a pitcher beside the sink and collect the water each day. Then we use it to water the house plants or fill up the dog bowls. You would be surprised at how much you collect!

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