What’s in a meme?
A meme is when one blogger writes about a particular topic and then “tags” other bloggers to get them to write about the same topic.
What’s this meme?
This meme is about being paper-less. It’s about generating ideas so that we can all use a little less paper and create a tree-friendly world.
Who started this meme?
Motivational speaker Debra Moorhead began this meme. She’s becoming “paperless” in 2008 and wants some ideas as she embarks on this path. She tagged me.
So, here are six (mostly) paper-less things I do in my daily rounds:
1. Paint Rags in the Pantry
I regularly congratulate myself for thinking of this. It’s tree-friendly and unbelievably convenient.
In the paint section at Lowe’s, they stock a package of white terry cloth paint rags. It’s cheap. My husband bought them when I was in the middle of painting something. I never used them.
So I washed and folded them in orderly stacks on a shelf in the pantry. I use them for spills. I use them with Citra-Solv to do a final clean on the counters each night. I use them instead of napkins. I also take some in the car on road trips.
Typically, I use them once and then toss them in the washer. They get washed with the white stuff. (With big spills – like the unfortunate “olive oil incident” – you can just toss the rag because there’s plenty more.)
In five years, we haven’t had to buy any extras – and we’ve saved untold amounts of trees because we almost never use paper towels. (And the pretty rust colored dish-rags only get used only for the most dish-rag-y things – not for all the spills.)
2 – Canvas Bag at the Grocery
I know. I know. This is supposed to be a paper meme. But paper comes from trees. I love trees. And I cringe when I see roadside trees with plastic grocery bags hanging all over them. It’s such a symbol of our consumer culture where we just assume we should get a bag with every single thing we purchase. (Yes, I’m moving my Complaint-Free bracelet over to the other wrist.)
So, I carry my own canvas bags. (I don’t always remember to take them with me. But I do try to keep them in my car for those surprise trips to the grocery.) I use the canvas shwag-bags I get at conferences where I perform. My husband bought some cool bags at the local organic grocery store. (I even carry them with me to Target and Office Depot. I don’t mind looking like a geek when it comes to the environment.)
[One other cool idea: This under the sink cheap trash bag holder. It’s designed so you can re-use your plastic grocery bags as trash bags. (Rather than the “matching” plastic bags they try to sell you.) Our kitchen is small. I didn’t want to have a trashcan taking up more space. So I got one of these, and this is the only way we bag trash now. It puts those extra plastic grocery bags to use.]
3 – Living Tree Paper CD’s
My CD’s were printed on Living Tree paper. It was more expensive, yes. But I wanted to do it. Living Tree Paper is made from a combination of chlorine-free agricultural resources (hemp, flax straw) and post-consumer waste. The quality of their paper is superb.
4 – Starbucks on the Road
When I’m on the road and I go to Starbucks – or any local coffeehouse – I save the cup. I rinse it out and keep it in the cup holder of my rental car. I use that single cup over and over again. I used to travel with my favorite chunky metal cup – but the lid popped off in an airport, never to be seen again. This made me sad.
So, now I just reuse one paper cup, rather than continue to get new cups. Some baristas are so pleased that I’m doing this, that they automatically give me the refill price on the coffee – even though it’s not technically a refill. (We also save the occasional coffeehouse cup in a drawer at my house in case we ever need a paper cup.)
5 – Loose paper recycling
I don’t use the city recycling service that comes through the neighborhood once a week. You know why? They don’t pick up loose paper. They only take aluminum and glass.
Instead, I drive to the recycling bins in our city. They have big dumpsters for “loose paper” – junk mail, catalogs, etc. ANY random paper. So, every two weeks, when I’m on my way to somewhere else, I toss the recycling in the back of my car (aluminum, glass, corrugated and paper) and take it myself.
6 – If you must use paper…
The Dogwood Alliance has successfully lobbied Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max to increase their in-store supply of recycled paper, as well as reduce (and eliminate) the amount of paper that comes from virgin forests. You can now find 100% recycled office paper at all of these stores. This is all I use in the office.
The final part of a meme is that you tag other bloggers and encourage them to join in. So, with the full understanding that bloggers get meme-tagged all the time and may not have time to respond to this meme (I myself have dropped the ball on many a meme!) – I tag the following uber-bloggers…
Patti Digh at 37 Days
Alyson Stanfield at Art Biz Blog
Leo Babauta at Zen Habits