December 22, 2013

Wrapping paper is not green

This is the time of year that I remind y'all to forego Christmas wrapping paper and "go fabric."

I made these gift bags from discounted Christmas theme fabric nearly 40 years ago and they are still in use by MANY family members. Kids (and husbands) like them because they make wrapping gifts simple, especially weird shaped items.

So after the holidays, pick up some vastly discounted fabric and get out your sewing machines. If you don't have one, ask someone who does to help you make some gift bags. Some crafty websites offer them for big bucks, but you can make your own quite easily.

Note that the gift tags are recycled Christmas card fronts.

December 11, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

In a few weeks, a lot of you will be wondering what to do with your now drying out Christmas Tree. Some of you will be lucky and can take it to your curb, where it will be recycled into mulch. Some of you will need to haul it somewhere.

Click here to find out how to recycle it in Tidewater Virginia towns.

Then think about an artificial tree.

A thing more lovely than a tree?

Sorry, Joyce Kilmer, but Harry in Charlottesville just transformed a tree.

When a large holly tree in our back yard blew over in a nor'easter last year, we did not want to simply toss it into the woods to slowly decompose. So my husband, a Dr. Seuss Lorax too, chainsawed the trunk into 8 foot logs and looked up woodworkers who might want a piece. Several were interested and the sections gradually disappeared from our driveway.

So what a surprise when a mysterious package arrived yesterday. Our holly tree became the very light wood layer in this gorgeous bowl. Thank you, Santa Harry!

Recycling gets easier

Some local Tidewater Virginia governments are looking both at new recycling contracts that are less costly and, even better, larger rolling recycling bins for curbside pickup. That is super news for those of us with bad backs. Lids will keep newspapers and magazines dry and other recyclables from blowing down the street. The bad news is that it won't begin until July 2014.

Poquoson led the way, making their decision before James City County signed up last night. Williamsburg and York County have it on their agendas too. The change next July will involve a new pickup schedule--to every OTHER week--by a different company, County Waste (formerly SDI) in West Point. That is where the cost savings originate.

You have probably seen these upright rolling bins in many cities already. We will opt for the larger 95 gallon container since we fill up two small 18 gallon bins already each week. 

The difference in size is almost negligible. 65 gallon ones are 27" x 29" and 41" high. 95 gallons are 29" x 34" and 46" high.

But I ponder how a recycling company's bid that is more than half lower than the current company can responsibly recycle our "stuff." Plus they do not have a MRF (materials recycling facility) yet. I suppose that time will tell if this was a cost-cutting decision but not an environmentally sound one.

December 10, 2013

Does Virginia need to say "my bad"?

Oops! It seems that Virginia's northern neighbor states (Maryland, Delaware and the entire Northeast) don't like breathing our air. Prevailing winds blow their way. So they have formally asked the EPA to take a hard look at our coal-burning power plants that do not include "best available control technologies" to capture power plant emissions. Most of theirs do. So that's the issue too.

Stay tuned for the Supreme Court to enter this discussion very soon.