Plastic bags

Hello there! From time to time we at the business desk are pleased to bring
you an article of interest and for this week we have a great one for you!
We now invite you to read on!
The Sterling Creations team

A Dan Thompson contribution
*Plastic Bags
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older
lady that she should bring her
own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.
The woman apologized to theyoung girl and explained, “We didn’t have this
‘green thing’ back in my
earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did
not care enough to save our
environment for future generations.”
The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the
“green thing” in its day. The older
lady went on to explain:
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the
store. The store sent them
back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use
the same bottles over and over.
So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in
our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for
numerous things. Most
memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as
book covers for our
school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided
for our use by the school) was
not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books
on the brown paper bags.
But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and
office building. We walked
to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every
time we had to go two
But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.
Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away
kind. We dried clothes
on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and
solar power really did dry
our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their
brothers or sisters, not
always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room.
And the TV had a small screen
the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the
state of Montana. In the
kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric
machines to do everything for
us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up
old newspapers to cushion
it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an
engine and burn gasoline just to
cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by
working so we didn’t
need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on
But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a
plastic bottle every time we
had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a
new pen, and we replaced the
razor blade in a r azor instead of throwing away the whole razor just
because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to
school or walked instead of
turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV
or van, which cost what a
whole house did before the”green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a
room, not an entire bank of
sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized
gadget to receive a signal
beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the
nearest burger joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks
were just because we didn’t
have the “green thing” back then?
*30 Ways to Green Your Home (and keep some greenbacks in your pocket)
1. Switch to Energy Star-rated CFL bulbs, like GHRI fave Satco’s Mini Spiral
S6202; they use 75 percent less energy and last 10
times longer than standard bulbs. You’ll knock $30 off your electric bill
for each bulb over its lifetime.
2. Plant trees around the house strategically (on the south and west sides;
shading the air-conditioning unit, if possible) to save up
to about $250 a year on cooling and heating.
3. Install dimmer switches in the living and dining rooms and three bedrooms
to dial down electricity fees about $37 a year.
4. Since 1992 legislation, all new showerheads must have a flow rate of 2.5
gallons per minute or lower. Replace your old
showerhead and save up to $45 a month for a family of four.
5. Wrap an insulation blanket around your water heater and lower its running
cost as much as 9 percent.
6. Run a full dishwasher whenever possible – it uses half or less of the
water and energy of washing the same dishes by hand.
And don’t waste water by rinsing before loading (today’s machines are
designed to power off the mess).
7. Invest in a faucet-mounted water filter for a low $30, and use refillable
bottles like our top-rated GHRI pick, the Nalgene OTG
Everyday 24-ounce bottle. By giving up bottled water, a family of four can
save about $1,250 a year.
Double-Duty Ideas
The goal is “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
8. Magazines. Roll up a couple of these and stick one into each of your
calf- or knee-high boots so the footwear will keep its
9. Empty paper-towel roll. Flatten,and use it to sheathe a knife kept in a
10. Small glass food jars. These make perfect see-through storage vessels
for nails, screws, nuts, and bolts.
11. Old shower curtain. Stash one in your car’s trunk to line it when
carting potentially messy paints or picnic and beach gear.
12. Used coffee grounds. Spread them over flower beds of acid-craving plants
such as azaleas or rhododendrons.
13. Plastic tub. Get the largest-size container of yogurt, sour cream, or
margarine. When done with the tub, rinse and reuse it as a
travel dish for pets or for craft-supply storage.
14. Plastic gallon milk jug. Cut off top with a utility knife just above the
handle and use as a scoop for kitty litter, birdseed, etc.
15. Foam packing peanuts. Put some in the bases of potted plants to help
16. Plastic mesh produce bag. Turn it into a no-scratch scrubber for a gunky
pot or pan. Ball up the bag, scour, then throw the
whole mess away.
Good (Enough) Ways to Go Green
Switch to a front-loading washer from a top loader. In a
recent GHRI test of front loaders, they used less than half
the water traditionally used by a top loader for a full load.
Pocket up to 25 cents for every laundry load you wash in
cold water (versus hot). Cold-wash three loads a week, and
save up to $40 a year.
Install a programmable thermostat, which can save an
estimated $150 yearly if preset to cool your home’s air or
pump up the heat (such as before you get home from
Lower your heater’s temp by 2 degrees to potentially lower
your bill about $40 a year. In warm months, set the AC at
78 degrees (at 73 degrees, you’ll pay 40 percent more!).
Upgrade two toilets made before 1992 to low-flow ones,
and turn down water costs nearly $200 a year in a two-
bathroom, four-person home.
Not in the budget to replace your toilets? Try Brondell
Perfect Flush ($79), which will convert your toilet into a
dual-flush – saving about half the water and $100 per year
per toilet.
Always look for the ‘organic’ label on veggies and fruit,
which means that they were produced without the use of
synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
If buying only organic is a strain on your finances, opt for
organic versions of the items known to have the highest
pesticide levels: peaches, apples, and bell peppers.
Open windows and doors or operate window or attic fans
when the weather permits. Most heating and cooling
systems do not bring fresh air into the house.
Bring home superhero plants. Certain easy-care greens
(English ivy, mums, and peace lilies) naturally help remove
indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene.
22. Do: Recycle paper with staples, clips, or spirals intact – the metal
will be filtered out by machines later. Don’t: Include any
paper with food stains (think pizza boxes), as they can contaminate a load.
23. Don’t: Forget to remove bottle caps. They’re made of a different type of
plastic and can mess up a whole batch. Do: Return
plastic bags to stores. Find a local spot at
24. Do: Rinse out bottles, jars, and cans; throw away (or recycle) caps.
Don’t: Worry about labels – they’ll burn off at the plant.
Do: Include washed pie tins and foil, metal bottle caps, wire coat hangers,
scrap metal.
25. Permanently place a recycling box an arm’s length from your mail bin so
you can toss any remaining junk mail pronto.
27. Pay bills online, or set up automatic check paying from your bank
account. No envelopes, no
28. Buy refillable containers Spray bottles, for example, can be refilled
from larger jugs or concentrate. Over time, you’ll buy –
and dispose of – fewer containers.
29. Choose concentrated or “ultra” cleaning products, which use 50 to 60
percent less packaging than traditional formulas while
cleaning just as thoroughly.
30. Don’t use more product than the directions indicate Pouring in extra
laundry detergent or fabric softener won’t get your clothes
any cleaner or cuddlier. Instead, follow the markings as directed on the
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