Out with the old

We’ve talked about getting a new [to us] couch for awhile now, but we weren’t actively looking.  So imagine my surprise on a lazy Saturday morning two weeks ago when Matthew announced he’d found an estate sale couch while browsing Craigslist.

Rather annoyed at the interruption in my morning, I agreed to go check it out with him.  One thing led to another, and we left the estate sale down an eighty dollar cash deposit, with the promise of a new couch as soon as we could get a truck to transport it.  I realized on the way home that we really could not get the new couch until we found a home for our old couch — this proved more difficult than I would have expected.

Craigslist, ReUseIt St. Louis (formerly FreeCycle), Salvation Army . . . nothing was working.  No one wanted to buy it at $85, and no one wanted it for free.  In the meantime, we moved the old couch out of our apartment (no small feat with two people, a second-story apartment, and a relatively tight staircase) and into the backyard, anticipating a quick turnaround with the free listing.

When that did not come to pass, and with rain looming in the forecast, we moved the old couch back inside.  Unfortunately, it would not fit in the basement door, so we faced the unpleasant prospect of moving it all the way back up to our living room.  In the end, we brought it partway up the front staircase, where it stayed for almost a week, sitting on end, with just barely enough space for us to squeeze by and get out the front door.  Fun times!

As much as I hated the idea, I was beginning to see how perfectly decent, usable furniture could  just end up in the dump.

In the end, we lowered the price on Craigslist to $35, and made a sale, provided we could deliver, which we agreed to, since we would have a truck anyway to get the new couch.  All the stars for borrowing a pickup truck and arranging for drop-off of the old and pick-up of the new finally aligned last Wednesday night, the night we got freezing rain . . . .

Travel green

Ready to fly

If you’re flying it all starts in the airport.  You CAN bring your reusable water bottle with you, just make sure it’s 100% empty when you go through security.  To emphasize the emptiness, I usually leave the lid off.  Find a drinking fountain and refill once you get to the other side.  To further cut down on waste, bring your own snacks (we had some delicious pumpkin bread) — most of the food options in airports, especially smaller ones, are crappy anyway.  Security seemed to have no issues with our wooden utensils.Continue reading “Travel green”

Shopping spree

In a complete reversal from my teenage years, I really dislike shopping, and it’s not just that I’m spending my own money now instead of my parents’.   I now prefer getting rid of stuff to acquiring more, but over the last several weeks, we’ve made some contributions to our local economy.

First came our Home Eco trip, which netted a new Kleen Kanteen (stainless steel water bottle), some new-to-us glass jars (from their resale section — love that they have this), a gardening tool, and these on-the-go silverware holders.A local St. Louis woman makes the Sew Good and Trendy Eco-Wrappers from either repurposed fabric scraps or hemp.  The wrapper includes an organic cloth napkin and spots for a knife, fork, and spoon (supply your own, those are not included).  I initially balked at the price, but when you consider that these are made locally with quality materials . . . . Eh, worth it.

Unwrapped

We replaced some of our non-stick cooking pans with these new-to-us pans from The Future Antique and picked up a hand blender there, too.

I just realized that all of these purchases were food-related.  No wonder I like them so much 😉

The coffee bean sack saga

The coffee bean sack saga started innocently enough.  Our friend Dani witnessed first hand our losing battle against the weeds in our commuter garden, and asked, “Have you ever thought about using cardboard or coffee sacks to keep weeds down in the paths?”

Why no, we had not, but it sounded like a wonderful idea.  I emailed a few local coffee roasting companies,  and received three invitations to stop by and pick up some coffee sacks.  Two of the three said to stop by anytime; the third (a much larger operation that shall remain nameless) asked me to let them know when I was coming.

Due to some weekend and evening work hours, I had last Tuesday off.  I started the day by running a bike errand in the vicinity of the coffee roasters.  I had not heard back from the third roaster with a specific time, but since I was right there, I decided to stop by anyway.  BAD IDEA.

Continue reading “The coffee bean sack saga”

The least of the three R’s

Recycling resides at the bottom of the three R hierarchy in terms of environmental benefit.  First comes Reduce, then Reuse, and then, finally Recycle.  Recycling is nice, but it means that some object was produced in the first place, often with the intent to be “disposable.”  When, and if, that item makes its way into a recycling plant (after consuming energy to transport it there), it requires inputs of energy, water, and other products to first break it down and then make it into something new.

So I’m kind of ashamed to show you this:

I’m not sure how we ended up with this many spent non-rechargeable batteries!  We only buy rechargeables, but products that come with batteries have disposables in the package.  It’s not like we use lots of battery powered “stuff,” but we’ve been saving these for awhile.

My church offered a battery recycling collection box — time for these babies to go!  I balked when I read that each battery had to be in its own plastic bag to reduce risk of fire/explosion.  I resisted my temptation to rebel and just throw the whole bag in there.  A bit more research uncovered an alternative to the individual bagging — simply place tape over the positive terminal of each battery — still some waste involved, but much less.  As an added bonus, I avoided having a burnt down church, or some poor postal worker killed by a battery-induced explosion, on my conscience.

In a bit of a recycling blitz, I also pulled out some old tennis shoes for a shoe recycling collection for the Shoeman Water Project.  Reusing or recycling shoes, and using profits to dig wells in developing counties?  Sounds good to me!

I delivered the batteries and shoes by bicycle, of course.  And now back to reducing and reusing 🙂