Posts Tagged ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’

Film Fest Review

December 10, 2008
Reusable shopping bags that fit in your purse

There are prizes such as these reusable shopping bags that fit in your purse

On Saturday night H and I went to the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival. (See my pre-fest blog post.) The event lasted a little over three hours and consisted of 9 films ranging from 2 to 33 minutes each.

I plan to make this an annual event because it seems we are very lucky and win the prizes. This year H and I each won a reusable shopping bag that stuffs into a tiny sack. Last year H won an oversized duffel bag.

But the real reason to attend is that these films are so inspirational and motivational, as well as eye-opening. For a taste, check out the People’s Choice Award, Oil + Water.

Rather than Recycle…

December 8, 2008

While recycling has its merits, it is not a silver bullet. Better yet is to reduce the consumption of things that should be recycled. The New York Times reports Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up:

“The economic downturn has decimated the market for recycled materials like cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals. Across the country, this junk is accumulating by the ton in the yards and warehouses of recycling contractors, which are unable to find buyers or are unwilling to sell at rock-bottom prices.”

Another strike against recycling is that it is an energy-intensive process. So when we talk about Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, REDUCE is really the first choice.

Easy ways to make a difference:

  • Buy items with minimal packaging
  • Bring a reusable bag to the store
  • Use refillable bottles instead of buying bottled water
  • Buy recycled products to create a demand for them

A New Job for Old Shoes

November 21, 2008

If your old shoes are not nice enough to donate to a second-hand clothing store, they can be recycled into a material that soaks up oil spills! Shoes of any type and old clothing can be dropped off at Wipers Recycling in Maplewood, MN. Another option is Nike Grind, which accepts athletic shoes to make sport and playground surfaces.

Plastic Bags Are Evil

November 19, 2008

Get a canvas bag when you support MPR

Ever since I heard of the continent-sized area of plastic trash floating in the ocean (Wikipedia), I have been disgusted by plastic bags. Plastic trash is killing our birds and marine wildlife because these animals mistake the plastic pieces for food.

I started bringing reusable cloth bags to the grocery store. The hard part is remembering to do so, but it is becoming habit. And as I reach for those cloth bags I also grab my stash of plastic for recycling. Did you know that Cub and Rainbow accept plastic film and bags for recycling?

Find out where and what to recycle at It’s in the Bag. A few things the drop-off locations accept are:

  • Plastic retail bags (remove string ties and rigid handles)
  • Plastic newspaper bags
  • Plastic bread and cereal bags (remove food residue)
  • Plastic wrap from paper towels
  • Plastic zipper-type bags (remove rigid closing mechanism)
  • and the list goes on…

I am amazed at the amount of plastic packaging we go through.

Barrels of Fun

November 9, 2008

In the spring I was looking into buying a rain barrel and a compost bin. Then H offered to make them out of faux wine barrels. I found some ideas for him on the internet and he went to work.

A Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel

The wooden barrel is just decoration. There is actually a plastic barrel inside to hold the water. Like most projects, this one required several trips to the store to buy the following parts: faucet, flexible downspout, sump pump hose for the overflow, and a screen to keep out mosquitoes and leaves.

It only takes one good rain to fill it up. I thought I’d be able to use a sprinkler with the rain barrel. Silly me! There isn’t enough water pressure, of course. If the hose is stretched out flat, the water drains out slowly.

A Composter

Tumbling Composter

"Give Me A Spin" Composter

The inspiration for this rotary composter comes from a YouTube video. The barrel lies freely on top of four upside-down wheels which are attached to the top of a wooden frame. It can be easily rolled to mix the contents inside. No pitchfork necessary! Small holes were drilled all over to allow some air circulation. The door has been problematic because the wood expanded and warped.

The contents inside are breaking down into compost, but very slowly. My plan is to fill it up during six months, then stop adding scraps and give it six more months to finish the process. In the spring I’ll empty it out in the garden and start over.