Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kicking more of the paper habit

We've been a recycling family for a long time, and I've been a recycling crusader since about first grade. I come from a family of scientists, teachers, Boy Scouts, and conservationists, so I "come by it honest".

But it's always bugged me that there are some things you can't recycle, such as some types of plastics (we only recycle # 1 & 2 here) and some paper products, such as waxed freezer cartons and the ubiquitous tissues. I've figured out how to use those other plastic containers for packaging leftovers/food for gifting and for starting seedlings. I've also begun using the waxed paper cartons for starting seedlings, just cut them off to fit the size you need (a butter carton will give you two containers if you cut it in half and retape the open end, a milk carton or cream container will work perfectly if you cut off the spout end, etc.). Then it's easy to give away these seedlings and you don't have to worry about getting your containers back.

But what about the tissues? I know there's a sanitation issue with recycling them; totally get that. So, I've begun using handkerchiefs as most of my grandparents generation did, and many still do. Certainly there are times when a tissue is best (when you're sick), but for the occasional nose blow or wiping sweat from your face when you've finished yardwork, a handkerchief works wonders. By folding it over a few times, you can get a few uses out of it (sorry if that's too graphic for some of you more sensitive readers out there). I keep one in the bathroom where the tissue box used to live and one in my pocket when gardening. When it's dirty, I throw it in the wash with the sheets and towels, since these get washed in warmer water to sanitize them.

All in all, I figure this has saved us a small amount of money in our monthly grocery/toiletry budget (since we used coupons anyway, we could generally get tissues for about 50 cents a box), but it's definitely saved the amount of paper that's thrown out in our house. It means the bathroom trash fills less frequently, which means we're saving on plastic bags there. (Not that we purchase these bags, we simply reuse plastic grocery sacks that seem to find their way into our house, even though we use reusable totes at the store.)

So, I'd love to know... was this post too extreme for you? Would you ever consider using handkerchiefs as tissue substitutes, or is it just too Depression-era or hippie for your taste?

No comments:

Post a Comment