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Newlyweds: Packaging and Reuse

Image used from Celsias

I admit it--when I can, I take my trash with me. It's the only way I know it will be processed the way I want to. After a recent hotel stay in LA, I took the little Paul Mitchell shampoo container with me. It was recyclable (#5 plastic) and I didn't have faith that the hotel would recycle it.

I live in Oakland where we have programs such as recycling of most paper, glass, aluminum, #4 and #5 plastics- all the things that are terribly abundant in American lifestyle (that's a polite way of avoiding the idea that we need to begin living without the whole plastics industry). I am especially proud of our city's green waste (composting) program which is a rarer program to find. When I have dinner with my in-laws, I make a compost bag and bring back the food waste so it doesn't have to go into the garbage landfill.

In the spirit of my trash focus, I wanted to share some innovations that caught my eye. How do you strike the balance between public health, protection during the transport of your product and reduced use of resources? Most exciting to me was the Seventh Generation bottle- made by an Oakland company called Ecologic. I found it months ago and it is totally compostable. Way to go 7th Generation!
Mail back packaging on the Preserve toothbrush

Also while down in LA, I found this cool concept from Preserve whose toothbrushes I try to buy. They've built in a mail back program- which is what I do with companies I'm trying to show how important it is to me that they give me a channel to recycle their packaging.

Recently, I've happened upon two other products I found very exciting in our waste-prone world:

Re-usable paper towels made of cloth and presented in a format that still wraps around your paper towel holder. Etsy has several sellers offering these Mamamade and the Tailored Home.

Etsy is great because you can get beautiful things for the home without getting yourself on unceasing direct mail lists results in dead trees in your mailbox each year.

Photo from Mamamade,

I haven't tried it yet, but my hopes are high for an alternative to plastic wrap made from cotton, hemp, beeswax and natural oils.  Abeego. Check out the photos and ways to use it on their site.

If you're looking for ways to get in on more recycling and reuse, here are more resources online as well as those odd things I make an effort to recycle:

- The National Crayon Recycling program.
- A directory of some programs nationally- electronics, clothing, etc.
- Brita filters (send them to the toothbrush folks)
- Wine cork recycling- all Whole Foods Stores.
- Hooray for Baby Earth, they will take your expired child car seats. I never could solve this one- even here in the Bay Area. They are in Austin. Any bets on how much it will cost me to ship that 10 or so lb. old car seat (now expired) that we bought by mistake?

Costly, yes. But to take things to the dump around here, you also have to pay. So what is it worth?

I had to amend this post with a great article Seventh Generation came out with recently called:  Watching our Wastelines. Even more great advice on how to frame the problem and create better lifestyle habits.

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