So, Then There’s This…

Ever wanted to see a puppet version of tech journalist  Walt Mossberg drunkenly tell you how to make a tablet stylus from a protein bar wrapper?

If the answer is anything remotely close to “yes” click here.

Taking Trash Art to the Next Level?

To be honest, I don’t know what’s going on here.

Some pictured appear to be inspired uses for previously discarded junk that  bring in to focus humankind’s shallow love affair with consumerism and disposable culture while simultaneously reminding us of humankind’s brilliant spark of ingenuity and never-say-die attitude.

Others are of a guy wearing some kind of trash poncho.

 

Rednecks…

IMG_2829…by which I mean White Trash

The Recycled Materials Compost Bin: A Recycling Two-fer

What’s better than saving one thing from the landfill and turning it in to something useful again? SAVING TWO THINGS!!!

Here are instructions on how to turn old pallets into a compost bin which will, in turn, change old vegetable scraps and such into valuable fertilizer. You can then use this fertilizer to grow more trees for more pallets for more compost bins for more fertilizer for more trees for more…

Sorry, got caught in a recycling infinite loop.

Instructions

Garbage isn’t the only thing we throw away…

crack baggie

I was walking down the street today and saw this just casually thrown on the sidewalk.  There were a few others nearby, and this is not an uncommon sight.  On one level, there is the obvious waste of plastic littering our streets, but on another there is a much greater waste involved.  The waste of human potential.  So many people in this country medicate themselves as a matter of course, that in many circles it’s not cool to not do drugs. Nancy Reagan certainly didn’t gain any ground with her, “just say no”.  All too many people are saying yes, and throwing away not just their crack baggies, but their potential to be more than a drain on societies’ resources.  The war on drugs is obviously going nowhere in a very expensive hurry, and along with it, millions of people who could otherwise be productive, happy members of society…

 

So what do we do?  Militarized borders and stiff prison sentences obviously don’t work. We have the highest percentage of imprisoned people of any nation in the world, and it hasn’t slowed drug abuse one bit.  On top of that, we spend 5 times as much on keeping these people in jail as we spend on educating our kids. Maybe it’s time we turned that around.   Let’s spend $50,000 dollars per public school student every year instead of $10,000 and stop putting our people behind bars.

Who Needs a Receipt?

Really? Is this necessary?

I went to Rite-Aid today and bought a couple minor things, shampoo, deodorant, and some razor blades. When I checked out, I got a receipt about two feet long. This is a ridiculous waste of paper. I get a handful of useless receipts every day, and I have no use for any of them. And I’d be willing to bet you don’t have a use for these trash receipts either. Do you save all your store receipts and reconcile them with your bank statement every month? Be honest. 999 times out of 1000 they go straight in the trash or in a drawer and are never looked at again don’t they?

 
And yes, I know that some people need to get receipts to validate expense accounts, and for some major purchases, you better laminate the thing and put in your safe deposit box, but the vast majority of receipts printed are completely useless once you leave a store. You are never going to go back and return that soda you bought from the 7-11, and you’re probably not going to try to return the peas and carrots you bought at the grocery store last week because of a manufacturing defect. Even if there is something wrong with them, how likely is it you are really going to take the time out of your busy schedule to take them (and the receipt!) back to the store and get a refund? Yeah, right. You are going to chuck them in the trash and maybe say a few choice words.

 
It’s time to move to paperless receipts. Many retailers have dispensed with the traditional cash register in favor of iPads and Square card readers that offer you the option of a digital receipt sent to your phone or email. Let’s get others to follow suit. This method does have a carbon footprint in that the power required to run the electronic infrastructure supporting it burns megatons of coal, however the vast majority of these devices are running anyway, from your phone or desktop to the cash registers and server farms creating and storing all the data. The difference is, it doesn’t destroy thousands of acres of trees to print out two-foot receipts for all the bottles of hair gel and other things we buy. Every tree we don’t cut down is another tree creating oxygen for us to breathe, purifying water for us to drink, and providing a foundation for the ecosystems we live in.
If we cut down all the trees for all the paper we needlessly waste, then what? Think about it. Then do something about it.

Mixed Messages

IMG_2828

Sometimes, girls say ‘no’ but really mean ‘yes’.  Sometimes, boys punch you when they really like you.  Sometimes, trash cans…

Three of my Favorite Things

This article is titled “Beer + Sunshine = Hot Water,” but they could have titled it “A life-cycle analysis of Showerbeer.”

This clever re-use decided his elderly mother deserved better than cold sponge baths so set to work crafting a solar water heating system from whatever material he had on hand. Apparently, he’s also quite the drinker because what was on hand was hundreds of beer bottles.

After more than a couple drunken evenings, he set forth with some tubing, elbow-grease and a ladder and got his mom the hot shower she deserved.

Oh no! It’s Adapting.

IMG_0626

Post-tsunami, the Pacific coastline has gradually become more and more littered with plastic and debris from Japan.  Everything seen here was taken from Crescent Beach, OR.  I picked up each of these pieces here thinking “oh, what a cool piece of driftwood, or twig, or stone.” However, once I felt each object I realized I had been duped.  Aside from one object, everything else is either plastic or rubber.  In my disgust I decided the plastic has conspired to adapt to the environment in order to last even longer!  Can you tell which object isn’t plastic/rubber?

How do you accessorize?

The hot fashion accessory.

We all want to look our best, and spend a great deal of time choosing outfits and making sure we are stylin’ and have the right accessories before we step outside our door. One of the latest accessories almost everyone is sporting as part of their fashionable outfit these days isn’t wallet chains, skinny jeans, or the coolest handmade jewelry. It’s the disposable Starbuck’s coffee cup. Because you’re cool, part of the hip crowd, up-to-the-minute, and on-the-go, and Starbuck’s coordinates with any outfit. For a little while, anyway, until you and a few hundred million of your closest friends throw them away in trashcans already overflowing with other super-cool venti caramel machiato’s. Which then end up here…

Now that’s fashionable!

But getting coffee to go is so easy and convenient, isn’t it? Hardly worth a second thought. Until you realize that oh-so-innocent cup of joe ends up in overflowing landfills by the billions every year.

Get a reusable cup. And use it! It’s definitely worth it. If not to you, then to all the trees that produce the air you breathe that are cut down every year to make those cups, and to the ecosystems that are bulldozed to make room for the millions of pounds of garbage they become, and the groundwater these landfills pollute that eventually ends up in another cup of joe.