Thursday, February 27, 2014

Toilet Paper Roll Gift Box

toilet roll tube covered in paper

I like to give handmade gifts, jewelry especially. This wrapping is perfect for any small gift and really easy to put together. First, I wrap the tube in a narrow piece of paper - this is a page from an old children's book. Then, I wrap the gift in tissue so it doesn't fall out as easily. Last, I tie it up with a ribbon, that's it! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Berry tubs make good organizers for kitchen and other supplies
such as closures, egg cups, cookie making supplies, napkin rings

Food containers are one of my largest sources of single use waste. Milk, berries, mushrooms, honey - these are some of my staples that generate containers that I then need to reuse or recycle. I had an 'aha' moment when I realized that on the one hand I was looking to buy plastic storage containers and on the other hand was recycling plastic storage containers. That's when I started putting these "throwaway" containers to better use. Instead of recycling them, I'm upcycling them. It takes a little effort (cleaning them, removing stickers) and they are not as sturdy as plastic organizers you buy, but they work fine. Organized using free upcycled containers, problem solved!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

No Tissue Cold Season

I'm facing this cold and allergy season without tissues! This means I'm using the wonderful collection of hankies I inherited from my beloved Grandma Rose. I don't remember seeing her carry a hanky, but do remember my dad always had one on hand. I have one in my bag, one by my bed, and have enough that I can change out every day as needed. I've seen so many of these at thrift stores and garage sales. A quick online search captured a deal on eBay for a lot of 10 for $3.60! So from here on out - no more tissues, bring on the hankies.

If you do decide to use paper tissues - know that Greenpeace mounted a campaign to pressure Kleenex brand, Kimberly-Clark, to change to sustainable practices in procuring paper fiber. Before their 2004 campaign was closed, Kimberly-Clark was cutting old growth forest for our tissues. The greanpeace "Kleercut" campaign shamed them into changing their practices. So, if you have to use disposable, do it with Kleenex brand. See the Greenpeace success story here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Taking Inventory

So far I've been sharing some things I've already been doing to reduce single use plastic and paper in my life. In order to figure out how to use even less, I have to ask myself What consumable plastics and paper do I use? I looked online and didn't find any kind of self assessment for single use consumption (although here's a good one to assess your overall carbon footprint). 

Here are my conclusions about what I use:
  • At home - ziploc bags, paper towel, toilet paper, wax paper, foil, plastic wrap
  • At work - printer paper, toilet paper, paper hand towels
  • Out and about - paper plates, napkins, toilet paper, paper hand towels, straws, disposable coffee and cold drink cups, and occasionally grocery bags and grocery produce bags
If you're in the mood to do a simple self assessment, try this: write the purchase date on items such as the box of ziploc bags, foil, plastic wrap, paper towel, etc. See how long it takes to go through it and then try to make it last longer, or even better, see how you can eliminate it. I have the same foil, plastic wrap and ziploc bags that I bought when I moved to my apartment in January 2011. As I run out of these items I'm going to try to come up with alternatives or just live without them. 

For the most part I think I have the tools I need and just need to be more organized so I don't get caught without them. For example, I have a lot of travel mugs and water bottles, but sometimes forget them at home - am going to move them to the car. Same goes for reusable grocery bags. The first things I'm going to actively work on to Do Better are paper towels and straws. Stay tuned!