Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bread Tags

bread tags generally come in these two designs

Those well engineered little bread tags have a multitude of uses once you've finished the loaf. Here are some ways I've been using them:
  • keeping appliance cords wrapped - standing blender, hair dryer, etc.
  • labeling electrical cords - that mess of cords behind my TV for example
  • quick label for keys - just clip it on like a key ring
  • keeping track of the end of a roll of tape (no more scraping around the edge to find it!)
  • labeling jars, as in the example above
Turns out there are many many other applications and here's a list of 33 uses for bread tags!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

DIY Foaming Soap

foaming soap

My quest to reduce single use items has led me deeeep down a DIY path that has nicely overlapped with my desire to know what exactly I'm using to clean my house and body. One of the first things I figured out how to make on my own was foaming soap - those of you on Pinterest have probably already seen this, but here goes. Lest you think, like I did, that the soap itself is special, the magic turns out to be in the container...yeah, the one usually thrown away or recyled when the foaming soap ran out. Or, you could refill with a tell tale liquidy soap that can be purchased in yet another single use container. Totally seems like cheating when you learn that they are selling you watered down soap in a second container - especially when you read "instructions" that say "refill only with our product..." 

So, here's the deal. Once you use up the original container, you open it, pour in maybe a 1/2 inch of liquid soap (buy the biggest container you can of that so you are buying the least number of consumable plastic bottles) and then fill the rest with tap water. There you have it, handy and identically foaming soap. I use Dawn blue soap for dishes and Dr. Bronner's castile (almond and peppermint are my two favorites) for hand soap in the bathroom. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Living Plastic Free?

Glass Jars - I like to spray paint the tops to give them a unified look.

In my interwebs perusals I came across this TEDx talk by Beth Terry who has committed to living plastic free. That seems like a worthy but insurmountable task - plastics free. I am committed to greatly reducing my single use plastics consumption. In her talk she gives 8 reasons why personal change (to live plastics free) matters. She inspired me to reflect on the most significant and relatively easy changes I have already made towards eliminating my consumption of single use plastic:

  1. Carry my own cloth to use as a drying cloth and napkin
  2. Save glass jars and use them to store food, leftovers and lunchbox food
  3. Keep several travel mugs and reusable cold drink cups in my car so I can easily use them and have enough for a travel companion 
  4. Have more grocery totes than I really need in my car so that if I always have some there if I (inevitably) forget to return them immediately to the trunk. 
Please take a look at Beth's short and entertaining talk - linked above - she makes some really great points. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Shredded Plastic

I cut up plastic bags to make plarn (plastic yarn - fyi see more on this old blog post). There's only so much plarn I can use though. And, there are smaller bags that are not conducive to plarn, such as bags used to hold crackers inside the box, or raisin bags that are too sticky and a different texture than used for plarn. What to do? Well, I've started cutting the bags up and keeping them to use as stuffing for some outdoor pillows I'm making. I'm accumulating the shreds in an empty milk container so it's convenient to cut them up as they empty in the kitchen (I think of it as plastic composting). I know the shredded plastic won't be as soft as polyfil, but it's waterproof and that's what I need. I'm thinking it will take me a year or more to have enough for one pillow (they are big - I'm upcycling two empty 50 lb bag of pinto beans). We'll see!