Dec 8 2010

swept under the rug… and sofa, and table, and bed, and… [day 195]

There’s no possible way any household vacuum cleaner could possibly suck up all the crap on our floors.  It begs the question, “Why do we have so much little stuff and where did it come from?”

First of all, Spongebob seems to be everywhere in our house.  This pile is only the upstairs sweep, as I didn’t even make it downstairs yet.  Yes, I know, it’s a little weird to share my dirt pile, but it does make you think, right?  It’s like trash I Spy or trash art.  Where’s Waldo maybe?  He’s about the only thing that’s not in here.  This motivates me to get rid of more stuff.

Oh, and a quick tip:  When you clean the house, it’s good to put away the vacuum cleaner instead of leaving it next to your bed.  In the morning, it looks like someone standing over you.  :0

Jul 15 2010

batteries needed [day 49]

My son, Cole, needed 2 AAA batteries for the remote control at the church.  With all of the equipment we have up there that require batteries, nothing requires that size.  After we had lunch, I told him I would stop at the store if he wanted to go in by himself and purchase batteries with his allowance.  At first he said, “No!  I’m not Joe, I can’t go in there alone.”  Once he realized that was his only way to get the batteries, he decided to go in.

He had $6.00 cash and went inside.  Joe, his little brother, says, “Mom, I better go in and check on him.  He’s probably crying or something.”  I told him no, and that his brother could handle this.  He came out without the batteries to ask for more money.  I gave him a few extra dollars and he went back in.  He came out this time with the pack of batteries.

He laid them on the seat in the car and I noticed they were AA batteries.  When I told him that, he said, “No mom, there’s AA and AAA in the package.  I chose this pack because it had what I needed and it was the cheapest one.  The other packs were all over $8.00 and this pack was only $6.79.”  I might have actually had a tear in my eye at that moment.  And I might mention here that he had no plastic bag.  :)

Jun 16 2010

recycling the recycling conversation [day 19 & 20]

On day 14 of the challenge, I blogged about a recycling program I set up at our church building.  I have received some emails about my “free recycling program”, challenging me with the question, “Is it ethical?”

Let me start by saying these people have some very points, and I do take this very seriously.  If I in anyway thought this would be a problem, not only would I have not done it, but I also wouldn’t be encouraging everyone else to join in on it.  There’s something else you should know, these comments (as far as I know) are from people that don’t personally know me.  They were sent to me anonymously through someone I do know.  With that being said, I’m glad to see some opposing views, as it opens the door to some awesome conversations.  I encourage your feedback!  Please feel free to post your comments on my blog, good or bad.  I think debate about critical issues is a good and healthy process.

Issue #1: Confidentiality

Someone was worried that we were recycling confidential papers that might have information about people in our church.  We have a shredder and all of that type of paper is shredded.  No worries there.  :)

Issue #2: Residential vs. Commercial

Instead of trying to paraphrase this, I’m going to quote this person.

“The question of ethics still remains. The recycling program set up for a business is set up for a business. The recycling program for a home is set up for a home because they assume the volume will be less and there are typically more homes in a city than there are businesses so the cost evens out to a lower amount per home based on volume.  So by taking the business recycling to your home, you are circumventing the city regulations/rules/costs, etc. by using your home instead. If everyone starts to do this, then the cost of the home recycling item on residential bills would need to increase to help pay for it. Long shot that it would be a volume buster but you never know. I’m pretty certain the city wouldn’t really want for this to happen. Just not sure it’s an ethical thing for the church to be doing.”

I believe this person has a great point.  My thought is that we are simply filling up the leftover space in our bins.  Extra pick-ups cost more and nobody is bringing that much home.

Issue #3: Why bring it home?

Again, I’ll just share what I received.

“I don’t get why you have to take the recycling home when you can just take it to a recycling pick up place.  They have several in (our city).  Don’t they have those in other towns?  We almost always fill up our recycle bin, so I wouldn’t just take some home from church to throw in mine.  I personally think it’s in poor taste  for a church to suggest this, even though it does save them money.”

Again, I take these comments seriously and my intention was to be a good steward of God’s resources.  So after all of the feedback, I decided to take a little field trip.  My kids and I visited the recycling center here in Frisco.

The Scoop on Recycling

I looked around at the recycling center.  It’s been a while since I’ve been over there, and they still have the fun painted recycling containers.  We went inside and I found someone that could answer my recycling questions.  I told her where I work, explained in detail the program I set up and my reasons for doing it.  Then I asked the big questions, “Is this unethical?  Is it okay to utilize the extra space in our bins?”  She suggested that we bring it to the center and gave me the hours of operation.  The home bins are not a problem, however, due to the nature of our business type recycling, they have specific bins for paper and cardboard.  It’s not a problem to bring some of it home, but it does make their jobs easier if we bring it to the center.

The Solution

I will modify the program to bring everything to the center and only use home bins for small loads or overflow if needed.  Once this is in place, we will be able to expand our recycling to plastic, cardboard and other materials.  My son also decided to get a bin for recycling batteries.  We can bring those to the center as well.

Also, someone suggested I contact a few local schools.  Some of the schools have programs for recycling where they get credit or financial benefits for the amount the collect.  If any of those apply in our local schools, we will work with them.

One last thing.  I’m teaching this stuff to my kids, not only the recycling part, but the process of finding creative solutions to making our planet a better place.  I very much appreciate the people that gave their time to voice concerns.  Their input prompted me to do more research, and in the long run, will make this program successful in many ways.  If there are other concerns or questions out there, please post them.  This is my intended purpose for  I want to start people thinking creatively…   How we can significantly cut down our waste?   Why is that even important?  If you’re reading this, then you must be somewhat interested, or really bored.  😉

Here’s some  more pics from the recycling center…

May 29 2010

the challenge: day 2

I had to work this morning and this afternoon, and tonight, we are driving to Mexico.  I’m typing my update in the car.  And no, I don’t have one of those fancy wireless internet things, I’m just typing on the computer.  I can upload later.  I can’t wait to get to Casa Hogar Elim in the morning!  I bought a jump rope and some sidewalk chalk before I started the challenge.  Next time I will have to be more creative on what to bring.  I did buy a bunch of flashlights to do the light painting with the kids.  I even taped color gels on them and color-coded them with duct tape.  I can’t buy batteries though, can I?  Hmmm, didn’t think about that.  They came with a set, but they won’t last a year.  Batteries do not qualify for food or toiletries.  When I can make purchases, I suppose looking into the rechargeable batteries makes the most sense.  The initial cost would be more, but less waste and I would probably save money in the long run.

I had an interesting exchange with my boss today.  He bought a gift for this little boy he’s been mentoring and asked if I would help him wrap it.  I know what you’re thinking and yes, I did.  I jumped right up on my soap box!  Wrapping paper?  Gift bags?  He obviously does not read my blog or my Facebook page.  Have we met?

Status update: Giving a gift?  Instead of wrapping paper, why not use a green bag?  It’s $1 and can be reused over and over again.  The average gift wrap/bag cost about $3.  If you give 20 gifts a year, you will save $40 and save more of the planet.

There are many creative ways to give gifts without all of the paper waste associated with the process.  Feel free to post some comments with your “green gift giving” ideas.  I would be happy to pass them on to my blog readers and my boss.  :)