Tips for saving money and reducing waste

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Randy Tuchtenhagen, Solid Waste Officer

Returning to a theme I have written about in the past I was able to find some interesting ideas for saving money, reducing waste and recycling. By being an icon for environmental lifestyles, you may convince others that it’s not so hard to do and encourage them to follow your lead. Be gentle. There are certain words that evoke emotional responses and may discourage others. Talking about the bad side of the world environment is a real turn off. Living and speaking positively may influence others. Especially children.

Randy Tuchtenhagen

Fun tips for a party might include things we already have around the house for decorations. This saves a trip to the store and reduces the costs of cleanup and filling the garbage can after the party. A paper plate decorated with crayons, paint or large letters and numbers can be a sign, mobiles or table name tags. The comic pages from a newspaper or pictures from a magazine can be used for name tags and gift wrap and the children can make the decorations. If you purchase biodegradable eating utensils, you need a compost bin for them. The garbage man takes his loads to a landfill and there is no composting happening there.

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If you replace an old refrigerator, consider saving the shelf racks for draining foods or cooling cookies. Outdoors they can be used on the ground to stabilize a drink cup or keep hot plates away from plastic table surfaces when picnicking or camping. The ice cube trays can be used in a dresser drawer for jewelry or on the desk to hold clips, pushpins or stamps. Be careful when using aluminum foil in the bottom of an oven as the reflected heat can add wear and reduce the life of the heating coils.

How about that old wooden cutting board? They can harbor some nasty germs. They make a great decoration if hung on the wall, and a couple of small nails will provide you with a key board, or maybe as background for your favorite photo. Take them to the garage, basement or workshop to be used as an anvil. Another use would be in the garden as a stepping stone.

Using too many garbage bags that are only half full because they get smelly? Take the baking soda box out of the refrigerator and sprinkle it into the trash bag. When the soda box is empty, don’t recycle it; fill it up with shopping bags (or use the empty paper towel roll) so you have them stored in handy places for quick re-use.

There are items that should not be brought to the eating table, at least a wooden surface table. Solvents like nail polish remover and thinners, alcohol, including colognes, perfume or mouthwash, perspiration or body oils and plants may drop residue and could permanently stain the finish. If you do have these items on the table, use a placemat or cover the table when not being used for company and it will stay beautiful for many years.

Randy Tuchtenhagen is the solid waste officer for Freeborn County.