Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Donate Your Old Books to Help a Child Get a Shot at Better Learning

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Even though it is one of the richest countries in the world, all across the US (as well as across the globe) schools are struggling to provide their students with the textbooks they need to meet their learning goals, including those laid out by the governments for standardized tests.

Kids end up having to share their textbooks, taking them home on a rotating basis or teachers have to photocopy relevant pages to distribute as flimsy handouts. Or spending their hard earned cash buying books themselves (yes a lot of teachers do that and they really should not have to. Contrary to the opinions of some politicians a teacher does not make a lot)

Swap.com is a site that has been providing a portal for people to swap their unwanted books, CDs and DVDs for several years now. For a fee of between 50 cents and a $1.00 users can safely trade their stuff for something they do want, saving thousands of books, DVDs even video games from ending up in the trash while giving someone else the pleasure of getting something enjoyable for very little.

So popular has the concept become (the site has 1 million regular swappers and counting) that the founders wondered if their concept could be put to good use to help alleviate the book shortages in the nation’s schools. From that notion swap4schools was born.

The concept is still a familiar one to swap.com members. Schools post their “wants” for other users to browse and if you have a matching product you can donate it to them via the site. Donating the books gets you nothing physical in return but you will get a nice warm fuzzy feeling knowing that the book that sat on your shelf for a year gathering dust is now helping a child somewhere master say, the intricacies of the works of Shakespeare.

Great Green Uses for Shampoo that You May Not Know About

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Most people have at least one bottle of shampoo in their bathroom. But did you know that you can do a lot more with the contents of a bottle of shampoo than just cleanse your luscious locks? With that in mind why not head down to your local dollar store, by one of those big bottles of generic shampoo and then keep it on hand to help in some of these common situations:

  • Shampoo makes a great alternative to expensive shaving gels and lotions. It lather wonderfully on the skin as well as on the hair and most shampoo brands are less drying than the soap based body washes that many women use to make shaving their legs easier.
  • Sometimes the pain that you have to go through to remove a band aid can be worse than you experienced when you originally picked up the injury it was put in place to help heal. Ease the process by letting a few drops of shampoo soak through the adhesive part of the bandage for a few minutes before you take it off. This should mean that it peel off without that cringe making pain and sticking.
  • Got kids? Diluted shampoo makes a brilliant substitute for store bought bubble liquid.
  • Shampoo can also be very useful as a laundry stain pre treatment. Rub a drop of shampoo into the stain, let it sit for a while then launder as usual. You will pleasantly surprised by just how effective it is.
  • Got a zipper stuck on your jeans or jacket? Put a dab of shampoo onto a q tip and dab onto the zipper. This should then allow the zip to go up and down with ease.
  • Shampoo is great for giving your car a bath as well. Diluted shampoo (add 1/4 cup shampoo to a pail of warm water) works wonders on even the grimiest body work and if you mix a bit of shampoo with baking soda to form a paste it is great for shining up the chrome bits as well.
  • Shampoo can also help your houseplants look their best. Simply add a few drops of shampoo into a bowl of water, dip a towel in the solution, wring it out, and wipe away all the dulling dust that has collected on your plant’s pretty leaves.
  • Donate a bottle of shampoo to Clean the World. This is an amazing organization that collects unwanted soaps and shampoos and then recycles it to give to those in countries where a simple lack of soap results in thousands of deaths from diarrheal disease and respiratory ailments every year.

Inspiring Re Use in Your Community

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Reduce,reuse, recycle – a mantra we have been hearing for years now. The recycling bit? We are all getting better at that and the reduce part is catching on as well. The reuse? Still needs some work. Here are some great ways you(yes, humble little you) can inspire reuse in your community and really make a difference to feel good about.

Freecycle not RecycleFreecycle is an amazing website that lets users (both individuals and businesses) post items they no longer need. Items are dispersed free of charge on a first come first served basis so as soon as you spot someone’s trash that in fact you would consider a treasure get your request in right way.

Post on Craigslist –  Freecycle can be a little hit-or-miss, since your emails might not get answered right away. For a faster response (and a way to maybe make a buck or two) post your unwanted goods on Craigslist. No you won’t get rich (Craigslist enthusiasts are the ultimate bargain hunters) but you’ll brighten someone else’s day and keep those old cell phones/CDs/dog eared paperbacks out of the local landfill.

Start a Book and Magazine exchange – Personally I  love readingmagazines of all kinds but really how many times can I read about Lindsay Lohan’s adventures (as salacious as they are) And do you really need that stack of Newsweeks that have been sitting next to the toilet for months? Once you have read your magazine pass it on to a neighbor to enjoy as well. The same holds true for those summer beach books.

Many communities have now set up formal book and magazine exchanges at places like the post office or local grocery store. It’s a great way to reuse and to get more people doing a bit of old fashioned reading in the computer age.

Frequent your Local Thrift store – When you have that bi annual clean out of the closets, garage, attic or whatever don’t throw the good stuff away (clothes, toys, the computer monitor you upgraded from last month) If they are in good, useable shape take them down to your local thrift store instead. The charities they usually serve get money when they sell the items, and someone else in the area gets a great bargain.

And fashionistas, don’t be thrift store snobs. I am a frequent (and well-practiced) thrift store shopper and the clothing I have scored on some of those trips is the kind I couldn’t afford in a month of Sundays. All it takes is a keen eye and the patience to go through the racks.

Have more ideas to share to help encourage reuse in the community? Share them at Tip the Planet– the green wiki that is growing and educating people in the art of environmental responsibility every day, thanks to people like you.