Posts tagged ‘reusable bags’

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

bagnanimous

dress a

Target is doing their bitSo is Ikea.  Now the Public Works Department for the County of Los Angeles has stepped up to the plate.  Or in the lingo of spokesman Luke Walton, they’re taking it strong to the hoop.

Public Works will conduct its first countywide “Brag About Your Bag®” reusable bag campaign beginning on “America Recycles Day”, November 15 and runs through “A Day without A Bag”, December 17, 2009. We will team up with Albertsons, HOWS, Ralphs, Top Valu, and Valu Plus supermarkets to host countywide reusable bag giveaway events and distribute over 50,000 reusable bags.

The “Brag About Your Bag®” campaign goal is to unify the County of Los Angeles, the 88 cities, non-profits, and other entities to help educate by:

* increasing public awareness of the litter impact on the environment;
* promote the use of reusable bag;
* increase at-store recycling of plastic bags; and
* reduce plastic carryout usage

Plastic bags certainly have a lot of uses once they make it home.  But if you don’t have a dog and aren’t considering making that lovely 1950’s era knit dress maybe this will be the tip-off for change.

image via Craftzine

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

the fixer

I was so encouraged by the spirit of this post about reusable bags, in part because it touched on my love of all things inherited.  Lucky for me, Tara[ “tar” (the road stuff) – “uh”], aka The Organic Sister, is way cool and allowed me to share her words with you.  Check out her story, I’m incredibly envious of her family’s up and coming adventure.

. . .

These canvas shopping bags are about 20 years old. They belonged to my mom; proof we’ve been living green before I even knew what it meant.

The average reusable bag has the lifespan of over seven hundred disposable plastic bags.

I love the fact they have lasted so long! Canvas shopping bags are the best; their durability is obvious. I’ve seen some reusable bags that were poorly made and had holes or broken handles within a year.

Repairing Vintage Grocery BagsThe red is even still bright!

Using canvas bags can save an average of 425 plastic bags per person, annually!

Our “vintage” bags (as the store clerk calls them) only recently broke a couple straps. We load them up pretty heavily and the stress started to show in two of the 8 bags’ handles.

Their canvas material makes them easy to repair: I just overlapped the two halfs of the broken handle by a few inches, and machine-sewed vertically and horizontally until it felt good and secure. Nothing fancy and it shortened the handles a bit but it extended their use at least another decade!

An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks.

Other than some day owning family heirloom bags, want some more interesting reasons to switch to reusable bags? Click here:

Go Reusable Bags!

. . .

Yeah, hey, hey
When somethings dark, let me shed a little light on it
When somethings cold, let me put a little fire on it
If somethings old, I wanna put a bit of shine on it
When somethings gone, I wanna fight to get it back again

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

When somethings broke, I wanna put a bit of fixin on it
When somethings bored, I wanna put a little exciting on it
If somethings low, I wanna put a little high on it
When somethings lost, I wanna fight to get it back again

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

When signals cross, I wanna put a little straight on it
If there’s no love, I wanna try to love again

I’ll say your prayers, I’ll take your side
I’ll find us a way to make light
I’ll dig your grave, we’ll dance and sing
What’s saved could be one last lifetime

Hey, hey, hey
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, fight to get it back again
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Fight to get it back again, yeah, yeah, yeah
Fight to get it back again, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

A new favorite song of mine, fitting no?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

it’s in the bag

target tree

If you’re not already saving money at Target plan to start soon.  Along with smaller stores such as Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmer’s Market, Target will be giving a 5¢ credit for each reusable bag shoppers bring with them.

USAToday had the full story

The Target program, which will roll out on Nov. 1 at all 1,700 Target stores nationwide, could save billions of plastic bags. The chain posts upwards of 1.5 billion transactions annually — most ending up in more than one bag.

A pilot test in 100 Target stores earlier this year resulted in a hefty 58% reduction in plastic bags used, says Shawn Gensch, vice president of marketing. “The best-case scenario is that we’ll have 100% success and every consumer will use a reusable bag.”

I’ve been using my own bags at Target for a while, now I just get paid for doing it.  What’s not to like.

 

Monday, April 6, 2009

monday – menus and more

from-the-kitchen

I’m starting lots of new practices around the house, all in the spirit of living with less.  Less spending, less, stuff, less waste, lots of less.

The changes included creating a grocery list, clipping coupons, having a weekly food budget and menu planning.  That’s a lot of stuff just to have less.  And I have much to learn about how to do it all well.  But I’m working on it.

Since I’m not the best at creating tasks and sticking to them I thought I’d make it more of a challenge.  Each week I’ll create a menu and post it here.  It’s not a new idea, I know.  In fact, it’s all over the web, I’m just one of a herd of menu planners.  But it’s all about the process.  Read the circulars, find out what’s on sale, create the grocery list, create the menu, adjust the grocery list, go shopping, everything’s in the house to make the meals, no wandering the store aisles buying willy-nilly.  Follow the logic?  I used to do a lot of willy-nilly.  Now I willy-nilly no more.

If it makes no sense to you, don’t worry.  You may not be of the menu planning herd.  That’s okay.  If I could I’d be of the eating someone else’s food all the time herd, but that’s just not an option.  Unless you’re a chef and want to work for me.  For free.  Or your the perfect grandparent and you’d like to adopt me.  I have a very nice family.

So, what’s on the menu?  Let’s see…

Sunday:  boneless pork chops and broccoli (I really wanted mashed cauliflower but the store that had it on sale didn’t have any and I’d already been to 4 stores and spent my budget)

Monday:  chicken and corn on the cob

Tuesday:  hamburgers , homemade buns, mac ‘n cheese, salad

Wednesday:  pasta, salad (maybe spaghetti, maybe garlic and oil, kinda depends on my mood that day)

Thursday:  leftovers, if there are none – eggs in spicy tomato sauce

Friday/Saturday:  I get a pass as we are going out of town for the weekend.  No cooking!!

And yes, it’s only one meal a day.  We eat more, I just figure you don’t need to know about every calorie.  These are the major ones – dinner.  I know, the descriptives are a little vague.  I’m not a fan of recipes so I don’t always have the complete dish in mind but I know the main ingredient.  Don’t worry, if I’m ever planning anything specific (like Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti) I’ll be sure to link to it.

This is week 2 of menu planning and week 1 of telling you about it.  So prepare for changes.  I don’t know what they might be so I’m preparing too.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’ll also tell you what I spent.  Again, in a vague way.  But enough so that I feel some compulsion to stick to the budget lest I have to tell you I failed so soon after starting.

Here goes, week 1 of $80 budget…

Sprouts Farmers Market – $25.73 (not only are their prices good, I get 5¢ back for every bag I bring in)

Trader Joe’s – $12.64 (I think this is the least I have ever spent at TJ’s for a weekly shop, blame it on Sprouts)

99¢ Store – $2.80 (Never thought it would happen, but I went and got three food items.  Less than 3 bucks!)

Vons – $43.18 (I will say, with coupons and card savings this was a $34.16 savings.  Plus I bought 2 5lb bags of flour and dry milk which are beyond a weekly food item.)

So, I’m $4.35 over budget.  I’ll just have to try better next week.  Although, I’m actually thrilled with where we’re at.  I have a stocked freezer of chicken, beef and pork and my pantry is not looking to shabby.  Consider that my freezer is a small above fridge compartment and my pantry is 4 shelves of an over-the-counter cupboard before you judge me.  I just like to make sure you have all the facts.  Feel free to judge away.

Where did the $80 limit come from, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  The Frugal Girl uses $80 (sometimes $100) to feed her family of 2 adults and 4 kids.  That’s beyond impressive to me.  I took into consideration where we live, stores available to us and some items we feel are musts.  I balance our need for organic milk (at a much higher price, of course) and my desire to shop at the weekly farmer’s market versus the better prices available on sale produce at the stores.

It’s a work in progress.  Consider these my thoughts on the matter.  I’m just sharing them out loud.  Lucky you.

Feel free to share back.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

a look back

me-mirror

It’s almost the end of the month and it is the end of the week.  It sounds like a good time to take a look at where we’ve been.  Or how far we’ve come.  Or what we’ve done.  Or haven’t done for that matter.  But you get the idea.  We are a month into this here Compact year.  How’s it going so far?

Well, ever since I wrote that post about forgetting my bags I haven’t forgotten my bags.  I guess I just needed to verbalize my issue.  I should keep that in mind.  Maybe I’ll just start writing about all my problems.  Hmm, I might lose a few of you.  I think I’ll stick to the topic at hand.  What was that again?

I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking at home.  And I mean a lot.  More than I ever thought I would want to do.  And guess what?  I’ve been enjoying it!  Shhh, don’t tell my husband.  I cook, he does laundry.  If he thought I enjoyed the cooking we might have to change our deal.  And it works so well for me.  But in addition to actually enjoying my cooking I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can go to the farmer’s market, buy a bunch of different produce and actually make real meals out of it.  It’s kind of a learning curve you know?  I started with fruit and have worked my way up to cabbage, bok choy, various lettuces and so much more!  What’s next?  No, not that.  It won’t happen.  If there is any baking going on it won’t be me.  I’m quite happy with my Organic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Trader Joe’s.  A handful of those a day and I am golden!

We’ve had to buy four birthday presents this month and I was able to find great gifts (at least I think they were great, I hope the getters did too!) all at our local thrift and consignment stores.  I think we’ve been to Target twice and it was for soap, toothpaste, kleenex (I know, I know, I use hankies but husband just can’t get on that bandwagon, what’s a girl to do?) and Nature Babycare wipes.  All in all, I think we’re doing great on that front.  I was also able to score 11 linen napkins at the flea market last Sunday for only three bucks!  And I really like them to boot!  Got a new (circa 1979) bookshelf to be used as a TV stand in a friend’s apartment too.  A coat of paint and that will be one sweet find.

That friend’s apartment…it’s a design job I’m doing.  More like a favor really.  A favor she’s doing for me.  I’ve wanted to spruce up this place for years.  Now’s my chance.  And my first order of business (after finding the bookshelf) was to select all low VOC (actually Dunn Edwards NO VOC!) paints.  It’s truly the best.  Playing with furniture, fabric and paint in an eco-conscious way with someone else’s money (on a budget – I like a challenge).  This rocks!  Okay, I know that was a major digression.  Back to my Compact accomplishments.  (Wow, does that sound like a pat on my own back!)

We’ve been back to Walser’s with all of our pre-sorted recycling.  Did you know they even take the metal hangers that (annoyingly) come from the dry-cleaners?  They are so great.  Really.  And yes, we dry-clean.  My husband’s work shirts.  I don’t iron.  Not like that anyway.  I know it’s not environmental (although we do try to use the green cleaners) but that’s why I try to do so much else.  I am working to find the balance.  I take small steps.

And to keep things honest and real – I’m ashamed to say I threw away some celery today.  Granted the whole thing only cost me a dollar at the farmer’s market.  But still, I’m not happy about it.  I was making soup and had taken as much as I could use for that already.  The rest was so limp it bent like a willow branch in a strong wind.  I couldn’t think of a use or how to save it until I could think of a use.  I’m sorry.  I feel terrible.  I just thought you should know.

To end on a positive note though, I will say that I am really looking forward to the next month of this adventure.  And the one after that.  And I promise to have more pictures tomorrow.  Pictures make everything so much more fun don’t they?  Well, to hold you over until then I will leave you with this…

what's the message?  no message.  just a pretty picture.

what's the message? no message. just a pretty picture.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

recycling 101

recycling

Recycling should be second nature by now.  Unfortunately not every city, town or landlord agrees with that yet.  We are lucky enough to have a nice big trash bin right down stairs for all of our refuse.  I even went so far as to ask about recycling before we signed the lease.  “Don’t worry, they separate it” I was told.  Perhaps it was my desire to get settled, move forward, make a decision, whatever, but I bought that line.  It wasn’t until after we had moved in that it started to niggle at me as slightly unbelievable.  But being the trusting soul I am I kept playing along.  I was even so nice as to separate out the recycling items from our regular trash so those hardworking garbage plant workers wouldn’t have to open the bags and dig through our dirty tissues and food scraps for the empty cans.  After my year of trying to be good about reusable bags I decided enough’s enough.  I wasn’t buying the line anymore and something had to be done.  I was ready to do more and it started at home.  Unfortunately, the other tenants in my building aren’t so environmentally guilt-ridden as I so a mass protest to the management was out.  That left me to figure out my own solution.

A quick internet search and I was able to find my local recycling collection center.  Walser’s to the rescue.  I wasn’t looking for my 5 cents per bottle, I just wanted to know my stuff was actually getting recycled.

off to recycle

off to recycle

So I loaded up the car.  This was actually two weeks worth as I didn’t make it over last week.

bye bye recyclables

bye bye recyclables

All I had to do was unload my bags and I was on my way.  Except I waited to see the staff check to make sure I had properly sorted my items.  And I got a tour!  I was so excited to be dropping off my recycling and here I was going to get an inside look into where it all goes?  Hot diggity.  I wanted in!

mixed paper

mixed paper

I wanted to see where all my paper cereal boxes and tissue cartons were going to go.

plastics

plastics

And how about piling all my plastic bottles and containers into this big puppy.

e-waste

e-waste

Take a look at all the computers they had stacked up ready to ship out.  They go through tons of these.  Literally.  In fact, just last week, in one day they got 44 televisions.  And they’re considered a small operation!  I’m just glad they’re big enough to take my junk.  All gone.  Gone to become someone else’s headache.

metals (yep that's a full refrigerator getting the proper heave-ho)

metals/appliances (yep that's a full refrigerator getting the proper heave-ho)

Did you know that so much of what we recycle here in the U.S. actually gets shipped to CHINA for recycling.  That’s right.  They put it in big containers and ship it to factories in China to do whatever it is recycling plants do.  But the factories in China don’t have the same labour laws, works standards or emissions controls that we do.  So in the end, how much is it costing the environment for us to recycle?  But not Walser’s!  They make sure all of their e-waste, metal, paper and plastic is all regurgitated right here at home.  Well someone else’s home.  I just got it out of my home.  But you know what I mean.

I’ll see you next week Walser’s!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

bag lady

a good bag

a good bag

I need help. Seriously. I am trying to be good about helping our environment. Doing my share of recycling, buying organic, living simply. I mean I decided to live an entire year on used goods. How much more serious could I be. And this isn’t exactly new. I have been doing a lot of these things for a while.

Last year my big kick was reusable shopping bags. I got mine. I was so pleased with myself. I put some in each car. Then I’d walk into the store and have to go back to the car to get them. Then they come inside with the groceries in them. Somehow they don’t always make it back to the car. I hang them by the door so I will remember. I don’t remember.

What’s the trick? What the heck can I do to remember these dang bags. I want to remember them. But I never can. I can only blame so much on lack of sleep and baby brain. Help! What do you do to remember your bags?