Decreasing plastic use
Aug 3, 2023
Dear Heloise: I just read your column about ocean pollution and what our plastic trash is doing to sea birds. Besides writing to our elected officials, as you suggest, people should know that they can make a difference with their shopping preferences.
Buy food and drinks that come in glass bottles instead of plastic ones. Write to companies and tell them that you won’t buy their product if it’s packaged in plastic. Avoid plastic soap bottles by using bar soap instead; there are good shampoo bars available now, as well as bar soap made for handwashing dishes. (Look into a health food store if you can’t find them where you shop.)
Buy laundry soap sheets instead of liquid detergent and cat litter that comes in a box instead of a plastic container. Carry a thermos bottle with you instead of buying bottles of water. If enough of us refuse to pollute, manufacturers will notice! Thanks, Heloise! — Claire Prontnicki, Waterville, Maine
Dear Heloise: Sometimes the easiest answer to a problem is right in front of us. If you can’t read the fine print on something, take a picture with your phone, then enlarge it as needed to read the text. — Sharon Kline, via email
REUSING CEREAL BAGS
Dear Heloise: You can reuse the inner bags in cereal boxes for so many things. They are stronger than zip-top plastic bags for dredging meat or vegetables that get coated in spices or flour. Just roll down the top and shake the contents. I’ve never had one break, whereas other plastic bags sometimes do.
I also use them to hold baked goods for freezing. They are the perfect size for loaves of bread or pound cake. Just force out excess air and seal well with packing tape. You can label the contents on the bag with a permanent marker. Finally, I put one on top of my cutting board when I cut up raw meat. Just throw it away when finished. Unfortunately, they aren’t biodegradable, but at least they are being reused. — Joann Thompson, San Antonio
Dear Heloise: Never throw away a patio umbrella, even when the spines are broken. Save the cloth and wash it in the washing machine. Use it for patio tablecloths or covers for griddles and grills, or use as a cover for a giant industrial-sized patio fan. The center hole is great for the replacement umbrella on the patio table.
Being easy to wash, these umbrella cloths have many uses. If faded a bit, these cloths create a “shabby chic” look. — Charlotte S. Dean, Florence, Alabama
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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: [email protected]. Letters won’t be answered personally.
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