I know, I’ve been gone a loooong time. BUT, if you have to come back with a post, then it may as well be with one about how to extend the life of all those beautiful Christmas cards we’re receiving this time of year. When the season is over you can ship the ones that are regular holiday cards, i.e. no photo cards, to St. Jude’s and they have a huge program in place to repurpose and sell the cards for the following year. The program has been such a success that they receive nearly 1 million cards per year now, and it’s the kids at St. Jude’s who tackle the project.
And not as in the pages are made from recycled paper. Forget that, I just want them to stop coming!! Does anyone use these anymore? Every time I see a bag on our front porch with the two of them that come to us it just bugs me. Great resource from a different time. And maybe they got sick of publishing this behemoth also because now they have made it possible for us to opt out of receiving them. Hallelujah!! Visit yellowpagesgoesgreen where you have to enter minimal info to register, they send you an email confirmation with a temporary password you use to log back and then click one button at the bottom to opt out of all future mailings. At least they managed to make that process short and sweet. Thanks Yellow Pages!
I was driving in the car this morning, listening to NPR and the Diane Rehm show. The upcoming segment was going to be about habitable planets beyond our own, yadda yadda, and I turned the channel pretty quickly. Thankfully theStones’ “Beast of Burden” was on which always puts me in a good mood. I changed it because I just don’t have the bandwidth for astronomy, especially the ones where they’re talking about finding habitable planets in other solar systems. And just as I was changing the channel – honestly, it was kind of a corny moment – a flock of birds was coming down into a tree in front of me. It just occurred to me that while I 100% support and admire the research people do to understand our universe, it baffles me how relatively few people look at this planet and consider it beautiful enough to be worth making conscious decisions in order to save.
Point in case, trees. There were those birds. They need trees. So do lots of animals. So do we. And it’s holiday season, and typically I run up to Tuesday Morning and buy the best looking cheap wrapping paper I can find. Because, why not, right? It’s just going to be torn open and forgotten in about 2.1 seconds on Dec. 25. Except that I just recently read that most commercial wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Turns out that the heavy inks used on them, foil and glitter render it unusable again. And they actually recommend you just trash it if you aren’t sure because otherwise it could contaminate recyclable materials. Are you kidding me? What an utter waste of tree pulp. Forget that it isn’t appreciated for very long, that’s just the nature of the thing. But it can’t even be repurposed into something else? That kind of makes me sad…
So I started researching for wrapping paper that is made from 100% (or heck, even just a large amount) of recycled content. Not as easy to find as you might think in this day and age. And then add one with good design to boot. Harder. But I did find a few. They cost a bit more, but it’s not crazy. I just ordered mine from Ecosaurus, who happens to be having a special right now where most all their papers are 50% off. I chose the one in the bottom left of the above photo, and imagine it with gold and white ribbon and some dangly, gold or green bells. Other companies making paper from 100% recycled content include Smock, which has some great upscale designs, and Fish Lips. In addition to being conservationist, the papers are in turn recyclable because they are printed with non-toxic inks. Check it out.
So part of what I had to while I was gone was to empty the contents of my brother’s apartment and organize/dispose/store his belongings. Of course there were some electronics that no one needed and which no one wanted to deal with selling or anything of the like. So I had to figure out what needed to be done with two televisions, two stereos, two VHS players, two DVD players. Even though it was a huge emotional undertaking, I was still trying to dispose of everything in as wise a manner as possible, i.e canned foods to a shelter, clothing to a guy who said he’d send it to Haiti. But the electronics were a problem.
The most obvious answer was to send them to the dump. Easy. But that’s not a safe way to dispose of electronics, as I think we all know by now. Of course today there are these pseudo “eco-friendly” electronic recycling places that will take the pieces off your hands only to remove the valuable metals and then ship the bulk of the piece overseas. I remember watching the above video a couple of years ago and it’s always stuck with me. If this is what was going to happen to these things, it almost made me more mad than just throwing them away. Why should some poor kids in China suffer for my need to make myself feel good without really knowing what I’m doing??
Long story short, we ended up just throwing them out. I couldn’t find a reputable place in South Florida to give them to. But I did get a good piece of information while I was searching. If you want to know how to responsibly recycle your electronics, this is the place to go to. E-Stewards has been endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, and the Center for Environmental Health, as well as a laundry list of reputable worldwide organizations, in addition to having Fortune 500 companies like Bank of America and Samsung on board. They have an easy-to-search database of locations that they’ve certified to responsibly dispose of e-waste, with more to come. There may not be one near you, but it’s worth looking when you need it.