Friday, February 25, 2011

A follower's follow up...Do I have to rinse?

One of my followers (that sounds weird to say) read an article about rinsing out recyclables and thought it was worth sharing.  Here it is...

The article points out that it could be more wasteful to clean/rinse recyclables than the benefit of recycling it.  I use a couple guidelines in my house when it comes to rinsing. One is the smell factor. I don’t want to leave food in a container that will cause my recycling cart to stink. Most of the time I give soup cans, etc. a quick rinse. The other factor is the economic factor. I will use a spatula to get the last bit of pasta sauce out of a jar…it turns out to be enough sauce for a kids portion of pasta. There is a reason that restaurants use spatulas to get every ounce of product out of cans. It effects their bottom line.

Take a somewhat hypothetical pasta jar example. If a jar of sauce costs $2.50 and has 10 servings in the jar, if you don’t use a spatula you may only get 9 servings and you are wasting 10% of the product or $0.25 per jar. My family goes through about 4 jars a month. If I wasted 10% of every jar it adds up to $12 per year and that is just pasta sauce, it doesn’t count peanut butter, mayo, etc.

With all that said, I agree with the article on clean recyclables and I agree that it is a waste to scrub containers clean with water and paper towels. What are your thoughts on this?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reduce waste on Valentines Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day has a long history of romance and love, which has, in recent years, become centered on cards and gifts. Approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the United States (making Valentine’s Day the second most popular holiday for sending cards), and over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year. It is also the top holiday for fresh flower purchases.

This year, consider putting a little more thought into your valentine’s gift. It will show your loved one that you care about him or her and that you care for our environment. Instead of the standard cards, flowers, and chocolates try:

• Buy a card that is made from recycled materials, or make one from materials you already have
• Consider sending an e-card to friends and family rather than a paper card
• Buy local, fair trade, organic chocolates—it will support the producers and cut down on waste used to transport or chemicals used in production
• Choose locally grown, organic flowers
• Make a donation to an organization close to your valentine’s heart
• Look for antique jewelry rather than buying new
• Plan a trip, concert or other experience that you could do together
• Walk to dinner at a local restaurant, or make dinner yourself using locally grown ingredients.
• Buy candles made with soy or beeswax, or make your own

However you decide to celebrate this Valentine’s Day, a little extra thought and personalization can keep your valentine and your environment happy. Thanks to my friends at for the tips.  If you have any other tips, please share them! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let your voice be heard

Want to help shape the future of recycling? Join your neighbors at one of Hennepin County's recycling forums.  There will be discussion on improving recycling and hopefully some snacks.  I'll have to check on the snacks before I RSVP to go. The closest one to us is March 8, from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Crystal Community Center, 4800 Douglas Dr. N. Visit for more information.  They are asking you to RSVP at 612.348.4168, but I'm sure they will not turn you away if you just show up.