Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Paper trails

I am passionate about finding little ways to reduce waste and consumption. Lately, I've been making some steps in decreasing the amount of paper we use and/or receive.
  • I purchased 2 dry-erase magnets (3x3 in.) from the infamous Target dollar bins, and have been using these instead of scratch paper for quick phone messages, brief lists, and even game scores. (Good thing the marker can be erased as I lost the last card game pretty badly!) I love the idea of using a dry erase board as a replacement for paper in all kinds of ways.

  • Catalogs--yikes! We've definitely been getting more than usual with the holidays fast-approaching. When we receive a catalog, which 9 times out of 10 we do not want, I promptly call the company and asked to be removed from their mailing list. If we wish to peruse their products, we can always shop on-line. My husband even brings catalogs home from the office, and I cancel those as well. Less paper, less junk mail, and it even saves the company some postage!

  • I decided to cancel my one magazine subscription and am now sharing with my mom. It's a brilliant plan. I rarely read it during the intended month, anyway, so now my mom just passes along each issue after she's read it. I have a small group of friends and family with whom I exchange magazines, which I love! I have access to several wonderful subscriptions without having to pay the price in money or in storage space.

I'm not trying to say paper is bad; I actually have quite the stash of stationery and crafty paper. But I do want to be a good steward of the environment, and for me, this means cutting back on paper where I can. What are some ways you decrease paper usage?

16 comments:

Judy said...

I share magazines with my sister. When I am done reading mine, I will give them to her, and she'll give me hers when she is done. It's fun because I will get one from her that I may not ever buy.

Overwhelmed! said...

I share magazines as well and I try to buy recycled paper whenever possible. :)

Hey, I wanted to let you know that I've got some free books up for grabs as part of my November Pay It Forward Book Exchange. Stop by if you're interested in a chance to win. :)

Megan Crow said...

Great idea on the magazine sharing. I decided to not renew the one I get - Real Simple - cause I never have time to read it and can check out the issue at the library when I have time. The only one i kept is Radiant (if you haven't seen it, you should check it out!). Also - some magazines, such as Mothering (which you also should check out!) now offer online options to view online for cheaper rates.


i haven't had a chance yet, but I'd love to sign up for 41pounds.org or GreenDimes.com and they will take care of your junk mail.

Also - be aware of your xmas wrapping this season...this year I am trying new ways to wrap such as items from thrift stores: fun baskets, vintage wrapping paper, old sewing patterns, xmas tins, cloth bags, etc.

I did a post on it last year you might be interested in:
http://megancrow.wordpress.com/2006/12/05/have-a-green-christmas-recycled-gift-wrap/

Katie said...

Great ideas Carrie - thanks!

I also like cutting down on paper by getting some financial stuff by email and stopping the paper mail service, and then I save a stamp too by paying bills over the phone or online where I can.

Have a blessed Tuesday! :-)

Molly said...

We homeschool and seem to end up with lots of papers by the end of the week. Some of the things we do to use it up include:
*Line the bird cage (we have LOTS of parakeets)
*Cut out any cute pictures or patterns to be used for crafts, such as cards, giftwrap, etc.
*Use any blank sections as drawing paper for the kiddos
Other ideas:
*We pay all bills online to avoid receiving them by mail...just get an online reminder
*Read the news and magazines online, instead of buying them
Thanks for encouraging everyone to share ideas...I now have some new ones! :)

Leanne said...

I was so excited this morning because our local grocery store is FINALLY carrying reusable grocery bags for 99 cents a piece! They are the perfect size...I plan on taking them to all the stores I shop in (I purchased 5 of them, so that should be enough)!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

Love the idea of using a dry erase board for game scores! I also share magazines with my mom. Good for the environment and my pocketbook!

Amy said...

My mom's group also shares magazines and it is so great and much cheaper than subscribing to them all myself. We just bring them to our monthly meetings and exchange with each other. It cuts down on the waste and it feels good to share my subscriptions with others.

I also try to just borrow magazines from the library to save money and paper waste.

Frances said...

Thank you to everyone for the great ideas shared!

I save the return envelopes that come in junk mail and donation solicitations and use them for all sorts of things (turning in my rent check, keeping gift cards or notes together, storing seeds or other small items, etc.). I just cross out the name/address with marker and write what the envelope contains in the white space. The long envelope backs are also good for lists.

Susan said...

I like sharing the magazine subscription, good idea!

Niki RuralWritings said...

Primarily by using cloth napkins at meals and rags instead of paper towels. We also share magazines :)

justabeachkat said...

Great ideas!

Hey, did you know that you can use dry erase markers on mirrors and glass? I saw this on another blog. Thought that was a great idea. I'm always thinking of something to add to my "to do" list when I'm getting dressed. Now I can jot it down on the mirror until I am finished.

Hugs!
Kat

A, B & C said...

For years my husband and I have kept a small dry-erase board with markers in both our bedroom and the kitchen, so we could write daily notes and reminders to each other on the board. If something one of us said was cute or sweet, we just took a picture with the digital camera. Anytime I write myself a note on paper (usually because it's something I can't risk erasing) it's on the back of receipts, since I can't seem to get stores NOT to print them, no matter how early I tell them.
We also have a lot of creative ideas for printer paper when we are getting low. I found a huge pack of three-ring notebook paper in our desk from my college days and used it to print things that didn't matter so much. I also save paper when I print incorrectly and reuse the other side.
We also pay bills online and have chosen to do all our insurance policies via email. They automatically take out our yearly bill and send us the binder via email.

Carrie said...

I have a palm pilot that I keep my schedule, to-do list, and other various lists on. Otherwise I'd have little pieces of paper all over the place. It has cut WAY down on that.
I share magazines sometimes with my mom-in-law. She gets them from her co-workers, even and then passes them along. I need to recycle them again and pass them along to some of my girlfriends.
Hope your week is going well!
God bless :)

Stephanie said...

I check magazines out from the library whenever possible. Any magazines I want to have on hand, I wait and buy at book sales, consignment stores, etc.

We pay most of our bills online and have requested to receive the related paperwork electronically.

I use the return envelopes from junk mail for shopping--I write my list on the blank side, with a star marking items for which I have a coupon. Then I can tuck the coupon right inside the envelope.

We are trying to use more reusable cloth items in place of disposable paper ones. We rarely use paper dinnerware--I don't buy it, so there's no temptation to use it. We have cloth diapered all three of our kiddos. We have a large supply of terry towels (discards from a linen supply service) for cleaning messes, wiping hands & faces, etc. I bought a few yards of fabric from the dollar table that I'm planning on making into cloth napkins. All of this has created more laundry, but with 3 small children in the house, a few more loads isn't too noticeable. We throw out a lot less garbage now--we probably average 3 kitchen size bags a week.

I also want to thank you for the comment on my blog, with the heads up on the Nicole Baart giveaway. I made sure to enter right away! :o)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Carrie -- this is a worthy pursuit and some good ideas have been shared.

A lot of paper in my office gets printed with just a word or line -- we re-use some of it for scrap paper, but there is more than needed for that. Even though we recycle at the office so this paper wouldn't get thrown in the trash, I have been bringing home some of the surplus and printing on the other side.

Keep up the great ideas!
Love you, Mom