Check out these bright new recycling bins at my local Home Depot. Disposal options are available for compact indoor or outdoor non-tube fluorescent light bulbs, non-leaking rechargeable batteries (batteries used in tools, cellphones, and laptop computers), and plastic shopping bags. As not all Home Depots offer the same recycling opportunities, please phone ahead to verify what they are collecting. And yes, I am bummed that they are providing those rolls of plastic bags. Baby steps I guess.
If you have other items for which you are not certain where or how to dispose, check out earth911.com. This site provides scads of valuable information on how to prepare materials for recycling, ways to reduce waste accumulation, and locations near you for disposal if available. Plug your zipcode into the recycling locator and it will search the database. If exact matches are not found, it will suggest alternatives for related materials. That is helpful in the event you did not word your search precisely.
And if you really want to geek out on this stuff, earth911 offers quizzes to test your knowledge about recycling and waste disposal. Yikes, I have to admit I was stymied by some of the questions.
#HomeDepot, #Earth911, #CFL, #plasticbags, #batteries
When Beauty Comes with a Price
Wow, the weather this spring and early summer in Portland has been spectacular. I can't complain about the dry, mild winter either. Not to burst any bubbles, but the beauty and lack of rain come with a price. We experienced the second warmest January and May on record. As for "Junuary", we had some chilly, gray days last month, yet the lack of precipitation is concerning as we approach the height of fire season and witness the current wildfires in the state. According to PortlandWeather.com meteorologist Rod Hill, "Portland may go into summer with the least amount of April-June rainfall in more than 30 years!" And we are on track for the driest April-June on record.
A Powerful Visual
Have you ever considered how much water runs when you are awaiting the shower or bath water to heat to a comfortable temperature? This powerful visual was an eye opener for my husband and I. Recently I began filling 1.5-2 watering cans before the water is tepid. My watering cans are over 2 gallons which renders enough to water all my flower pots. Emptying the dehumidifier soaks some of the smaller garden beds daily as well.
Save Money, Save Water, and Save Your Plants
Using this wasted bathwater and if you own a dehumidifier, using that water for your gardens is a great way to save on your excess water usage, reduce your water bill, and keep your plants and flowers alive. One caveat, be ever so careful of the weight of the cans. Support your back and knees as you lift it out of your shower or bath stall to avoid injury. In fact, one trick is to only fill it halfway, turn off the water, hydrate your plants, then start again if you have time. This may sound crazy, but when the first can gets about half full, I open the bathroom window and pour the water down onto the hydrangea bed below. Then I turn the water back on and finish filling the bucket until the water heats. After my shower I bring the can(s) downstairs for use when the plants start begging for TLC.
Do you bring reusable sacks with you to the grocery store? If so, that is awesome. You are doing your part to save trees or prevent plastics from ending up in the waste stream and clogging our oceans and other water bodies. Furthermore, you are likely saving money since many stores award cash-back for bringing along your own bags.
But when it comes to produce are you still grabbing plastic or paper bags from the dispensers? Until recently I was doing the same although I reused them until they were at the point of shredding. Then a friend gifted me some Norwex produce bags which I love. You can also use mesh laundry bags. These bags help to keep my homologous fruits and vegetables together so I can easily toss them in the refrigerator bin when I get home.
Or another idea, I had old throw pillows which I no longer need and inside were zippered cloth bags which held the stuffing. I have repurposed those for produce and laundry. These bags are perfect for items like fresh beans and peas.
Finally, I have gotten to the point where I rarely bag my leafy produce anymore. I used to be concerned about what it came in contact with in my cart. However, as I reasoned it through, as long as I keep it in the top section of the cart, segregated from my meats it is likely no dirtier there than it was on the farm, handled by a multitude of shippers and store clerks and nestled among the other heads of lettuce, spinach, beets or whatnot.
After each use, I toss them in the next load of laundry so they are fresh for the next trip to the store. I keep all my grocery sacks nested inside the largest bag on the headrest of my car seat so that they are always with me if I stop on the fly.
A very special thanks to April K., a recent Simplify Your Green Lifestyle workshop attendee, for this super tip and these local resources for donating or purchasing sewing and quilting machines and supplies.
Two local sewing centers support the Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility where incarcerated women are given the opportunity to learn a new life skill through the Coffee Creek Quilter's Program (CCQ). The students' first two quilts are donated to charity. The student may choose to keep the third quilt or gift it to a loved one. Graduates are given a quilting release kit in which to use to apply their skills when the return to life after incarceration.
Montavilla Sewing Centers
Montavilla Sewing Centers will service donated machines prior to sending to Coffee Creek Women's Correctional Facility's Quilting Program either for student use or for CCQ to sell to fund their programs.
Montavilla Sewing Centers will also accept full yardage fabrics, thread, batting, and sewing tools for donation in support of Quilts of Valor. "The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to cover U.S. service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. "
In the market for a machine? Purchase a used sewing machine or get an estimate on a trade-in.
8326 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97216
Mon. - Sat. 9:30am - 6pm
Sun. 11am - 5pm
4955 SW Western Ave
Beaverton, OR 97005
Mon. - Sat. 10am - 6pm
Sun. 11am - 5pm
971 NE Kelly Ave
Gresham, OR 97030
Mon. - Sat. 10am - 6pm
12580 SW Broadway Street
Beaverton, OR 97005
Tuesday– Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm
The Quilter's Corner accepts donations of sewing tools (rotary cutters, seam rippers), sewing machines, cotton yardage (no scrap), quilting and sewing books.
These items support the quilting program at Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility either for use by the program or to raise funds for ongoing support.
For many more donation, recycling, thrift, consignment, and green building resources, visit The Practical Sort's Resources page by clicking here.
Did you receive holiday gifts embedded in polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) packaging? Your trash can is likely overflowing after the celebrations, and you might be loathed to toss the foam into the landfill. Polystyrene generally does not biodegrade which makes it a useful packaging material and insulator for our hot beverages.
Labeled as PS #6 for the recycling symbol, it is rarely accepted in curbside or other recycling programs. But we need to be mindful that polystyrene is hazardous to animals and marine life who could mistake it as food and it is highly flammable. As of 2006, Portland was one of roughly 100 localities* to ban polystyrene foam use in restaurants, yet there are a multitude of other uses. Chances are you received at least one gift package that contained the foam.
So what do you do with it? Far West Fibers is no longer collecting it, but Agilyx in Tigard has a no-fee 24/7 collection receptacle at their facilities (business or large quantities require special arrangements).
Their patented process can transform the foam into crude oil. They also produce a liquid used in food packaging, pharmaceuticals, construction, durable goods. etc.
According to their website "Agilyx is committed to demonstrating not only the economic viability of our technology, but also the environmental value. We have completed an extensive Life Cycle Analysis on our process to measure carbon impact against traditional forms of crude oil extraction, with the results indicating a significantly favorable environmental impact."
Drop off your polystyrene at:
7904 SW Hunziker Street
Tigard, OR 97223
If you need more information contact them at: 503-271-3160 or visit their website for additional facts.
Some may say I am cheap. I prefer to think of myself as eco-minded, thrifty, and resourceful.
Before tossing a used up bottle of shampoo into the recycling bin, I opted to turn it upside down to ensure that it was fully depleted. I could tell there was about 1/4" of shampoo left inside, but the container's design made squeezing out every last drop difficult.
Ten days later I was still using that same bottle of shampoo. I often use this technique with jars of ketchup, mustard, honey or any other liquid that is too viscous to pour out easily as it nears the end.
You might wish to place the bottle inside a sturdy, water-proof container in the event the product leaks out. To keep the bottle propped, I situated it between the wall and a larger bottle out of the reach of the sprayer so that the lid does not fill with excess water.
By year's end, I will save nearly $40 and recycle 5 less bottles!
Recycling School Supplies
The end of the school year is approaching. You will be clearing out backpacks, old papers will be recycled, and used crayons added to craft boxes, but what do you do with those old binders that may have seen better days?
Office Depot/Office Max has teamed up with Terracycle to offer a binder recycling program. Empty binders in any condition/any brand are accepted.
How it Works...
Participating is completely free and very easy. Simply bring your old empty binders to any Office Depot® OfficeMax® store and a store representative will provide you with a $2 Instant Savings off a same day binder purchase (see rules and restrictions).
Binder Recycling: Get $2 off the purchase of any new binder when you recycle any binder in the same transaction. Discount applies only to binders purchased and will not be applied to any free binders with a purchase. Multipacks count as 1. Discount excludes tax. Binder to be recycled must be empty. No cash/credit back. Not valid on prior purchases or purchases made with Store Purchasing, Procurement or Retail Connect Cards. Limit 6 discounts per household/business.
For more information and to locate participating Office Depot/Office Max stores, click on the link to visit the Terracycle/Office Depot/Office Max Binder Recycling Program website.
Need a hand getting things in order before school lets out for summer break and your schedules goes topsy turvy? Contact ThePracticalSort.com and we will get you sorted.