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Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Stumped by recycling CFLs, jeans and t-shirts

Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at 3:16 PM

While I'm not a card-carrying tree-hugger, I do my part to protect the environment - usually for ulterior motives.

I hang my family's laundry on the clothes line rather than using the drier. Aside from saving all the electricity drying the clothes, I can get eight loads washed and hung on the line in less than two hours. I'm game for anything that keeps me out of the laundry room, no matter what how it is decorated.

No food makes it into the garbage at my house. While ultimately keeping pounds of waste out of the landfill, my dogs and cats think dinner comes out the kitchen door rather than in the form of mice and birds.

The remaining food waste goes onto the compost pile. Technically, it's a compost pile although I've never used it for compost. The felines know to scrounge in the pile for leftovers. Our yak, since deceased, would take a bite or two from the mound on occasion. And not to be left out, I've seen a four-foot bull snake slithering among the eggshells and apple cores. Obviously, my garden will never be a beneficiary of this pile.

And lastly, I recycle everything I possibly can. My back porch is lined with garbage cans filled weekly with cardboard and plastic bottles. I'm the annoying one who shows up at the recycling center five minutes before it is supposed to close, but has mastered the art of separating to finish before the gate closes.

Yet, I'm stumped on recycling other items which have begun to pile up in my house.

The most perplexing are the CFL light bulbs. Those are those little light bulbs we are all supposed to be using to replace the standard incandescent bulbs because they are more energy efficient. As old bulbs have gone out in my house, I try to replace them with the CFLs. One problem: These CFLs are toxic if broken so I assume you aren't just supposed to throw them in the trash.

Since they are supposed to last for six or seven years and they haven't been out that long, how could I possible have a supply of discarded, broken CFL lying around? Anyone will small children and night lamps will know how that happens; one knock of the lamp to the ground and the bulb shatters. And at five or six bucks a pop, I've stocked up on the old-fashioned bulbs for that purpose. In the meantime, I still have those broken bulbs sitting around waiting to be dealt with. Any suggestions would be welcome.

If you solve that problem and are looking for something else to tax your mind, you can tackle the ripped jeans dilemma. While all the children's clothes in my house are worn by at least two, if not three, four and possibly, five kids, they do eventually wear out, especially jeans. I can only patch them so many times until I finally give up and the kids complain about the number of people who have seen their underwear through the holes. And since I'm not a crafty, artsy person, I cannot come up with any ideas about putting the jeans to reuse.

Now, I've got piles of worn out jeans waiting to be dealt with - yes, they are sitting right next to the broken CFL bulbs. And sitting in yet a third pile are the t-shirts, possibly hundreds of t-shirts which are past their usefulness. We can only keep so many football, volleyball and soccer t-shirts, all of which have too many too count stains on them. And every place we've every visited, every place the grandparents visited and every place friends have visited can be documented via the t-shirts.

Once again, if I was crafty, I could probably come up with some way to reuse the shirts, but once again, I'm not, so I've got another pile. Any ideas are welcome. And I won't let those pile up.

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My brother in law visited Russia many times, and says old jeans are like "gold" over there.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Thu, Mar 5, 2009, at 4:38 PM

I have seen a quilt made out of t-shirts, it was nothing too complicated. The designs were cut out of the t-shirt in a samesized square and they were sewed together. Kinda makes a memory of places you have been.

-- Posted by dahlinova on Wed, Mar 4, 2009, at 7:44 PM

I'm right there with you on the jeans dilemma. My middle child likes to pretend he's a dog, so the knees of his jeans have a three month maximum lifespan. I believe I heard an announcement at the Methodist church that they were taking cut up old jeans. Not sure if it's for a quilting project or what, but I've got a mountain of ripped jeans to take over there.

As for basic recycling, I've got another mountain of pop cans I need to get rid of. Where is the recycling place and what are their hours?

-- Posted by saveryhinze on Wed, Mar 4, 2009, at 11:21 AM

A lot of times old t-shirts, it they don't have a lot of holes, are great for preschoolers to wear when working on art projects. Perhaps one of the local preschools when be interested in them. If they are too worn for that, they would be great rags for a mechanics shop. You could check with the highschool shop teacher and see if they could be used there. Hope these ideas help!

-- Posted by cowgirl91 on Wed, Mar 4, 2009, at 8:32 AM

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