We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper. When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side? When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend? Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list. When you receive a box of a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts. Let’s think creatively about our trees…
There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous. I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, the packaging, when we look at individual salt packets. My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet. And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it. There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.
There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day. In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were. But they were also against paper bags. All of the letters pointed towards using canvas. And many of them even stated that we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries. We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.
Recycling is outdated: its time has passed. I’ve been thinking about this recently. I know that might seem a crazy statement to some.
Yet we really have to encourage ourselves to reuse, and reuse again. Here are some creative and inspiring ways to do so:
1. Save To-Go Containers
I’m often surprised in my office when people get lunches to go, how many containers go in the recycling.
I quickly pull them out. Many of these are solid containers which can be used 100 times. We probably never have to buy Tupperware. These containers can be reused for a leftover, a half-eaten waffle from our breakfast, or a four-portion meal remaining from a dinner party. Many of them are durable, safe and strong enough to go in the dishwasher.
2. Bring Your Reusable Containers
I’d love to see this trend. We see it with coffee, why not other food? What if we trained ourselves to bring reusable containers or tupperware to all of our lunches or dinners?
We could halt the production of plastic containers.
3. Keep your Tinfoil 25x
I see the same thing with tinfoil. Sometimes when there’s a catered lunch at the office, large swathes of tinfoil cover the main entrée, or even a side dish. This aluminum foil can be washed down and dried, and reused multiple times. Depending on how clean you get it, it can be used 25x.
I’ve stopped buying aluminum foil.
4. Stop Throwing Out Water
Stop “throwing out” water.
In our kitchen at home, we have a hot pot which heats up our water. If it’s half full in the morning, I used to dump it out, and refill the whole container. And yet, I’m throwing away precious water. How many countries across the world—how many millions of children—would die for those two cups of clean water?
I’ll answer it for you: Two million people are dying annually due to lack of clean water. Most are children.
Drink it then, or save it for later. Or we can water our plants. Or we can use it to scrub down the basin, clean the bathtub, scour the shower, or dampen a cloth when we’re wiping down the kitchen table. Let’s not waste something that actually sustains other people’s lives.
As the expression says, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think we have to change our mindset completely…don’t throw out the baby…and don’t throw out the bathwater. Both represent life.
5. Rip Up T-shirts, Clothing, Towels
Does your t-shirt get too ratty to donate? Do you have an unbleachable spot on a shirt, pair of pants or towel? Cut them up. Use them as dishrags. We don’t need to buy rags.
Tell me how your life is not just useful — but “reuseful” – and I’ll post your ideas. Be sure to include not only the idea, but also how you use it at home or the office, and as well as your company name if you like.
We all need to learn from each other. Onwards to a more Reusable Lifestyle!
Here are some opportunities from UniversalGiving’s vetted NGOs to give and volunteer towards protecting our environment and resources.
Donate to preserve trees and traditions in Guatemala
Donate to preserve a biological corridor in Honduras
Give $22 to plant a tree in Haiti
Explore and protect the Amazon rainforest
Volunteer to conserve the New Zealand environment
“Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Two grand lessons today: Enjoy and Persevere.
There is so much to enjoy… it’s important that we focus on the good! Watching your nephew play sports, while catching up with family. Taking a calming walk in nature. Cheering on the 49ers with friends!
Sometimes, we are deterred by something that isn’t working. Perhaps it’s a rough spot in business, or a relationship that seemed to get off the rails.
But we can’t get distracted. Find and focus on the enjoyment before us. It need not be a big event, and often is a small but special gratitude.
Then, there are times to patiently persevere. The road might feel a bit rocky under our feet. Yet we must stay the course, step by step. Like a diligent marathon runner we are committed to our course, unrelenting to the finish line. With this experience, we can help others.
In both Enjoyment and Perseverance, we treasure life. Life is made up of the loving times of enjoyment with family and friends. It is also perseverance in our challenges, which allow us to grow, and give.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, and natural philosopher, best known for his two-part poetic drama Faust, which he started around the age of twenty-three and didn’t finish till shortly before his death sixty years later. He is considered one of the greatest contributors of the German Romantic period. At the age of sixteen, in 1765, Goethe went to Leipzig University to study law as his father wished, though he also gained much recognition from the Rococo poems and lyric he wrote during this period. In 1766 he fell in love with Anne Catharina Schoenkopf (1746-1810) and wrote his joyfully exuberant collection of poems Annette.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe now rests in the Fürstengruft or “Royal Tomb” in the “Historic Cemetery” in Wiemar where his dear friend Schiller is also laid to rest. In honour of these two famous German men of letters, a statue of Goethe and Schiller now stands at the German National Theatre in Munich. UNESCO’S “Memory of the World” list includes the handwritten works of Goethe preserved by the Goethe-Schiller-Archive.
Bio Source: The Literature Network
“Shame on You, Aunt Pamela, that’s a TREE. We can’t hurt the trees!”
A few years ago, my niece Lindsey gave me a great talking to. She was 5 or 6, and needed help in the restroom, so off we went. As we finished up, I pulled two paper towels to dry my hands.
“Shame on you, Aunt Pamela. That’s a tree! We can’t hurt the trees!”
I asked her where she learned that important lesson.
“In school. They teach us paper comes from trees, and we need to keep our trees.”
Anyone who doesn’t have hope for our future should rethink. What a wonderful opening our world is facing where we teach elementary kids the connection between paper and our living trees…to be conscious of conserving, so that Lindsey and others grow up with conservation being a natural part of their lives.
There is a new standard of living being created, and not only our youth, but our elementary school children, are leading the way.
During the Edo era in Japan (1603-1868), the only wood they’d use from the forest was if a branch had fallen from a tree. In the same way, we don’t pick fruit before it’s ripe.
We don’t wrench the immature tomato from the vine. When it is the right time, you’ll find it almost drops off naturally in your hand.
Perhaps then, the message for us in present-day is, don’t cut down the wood until the tree is ready to release its branch. Perhaps all the wood we need will fall naturally and offer itself to you. This will be right timing for the tree as well as your needs.
Is there an area you are pushing for, that is perhaps unripe? Perhaps it’s time to gently let it go. We can let right timing lead, delivering the gift to you and everyone, at its specially appointed time.
Let’s enjoy the gifts, events and happenstances which are given naturally to us.
I’m fortunate enough to have grown up with a very small vegetable garden that my parents maintained. We often ate vegetables for dinner from the garden, picked flowers, grew corn, potatoes, zucchini. We also had our “volunteer plants,” meaning seeds that happened to pop up, nurture themselves, and volunteer their wonderful offerings to us. Sometimes it might be a type of berry, a different tomato plant, or a flower.
Let’s encourage all the “volunteers” in our lives. Whether they be unexpected gifts, new people, or effortless events that pop up into our lives to help, inspire, or encourage us. Not everything has to be done through an act of will. Sometimes goodness shows up on its own… and we should embrace and be grateful for its welcome entrance into our lives…