Did you know that if you bring your own reusable travel mug to Starbucks, your drink will cost 10 cents less, and you can help to help save many paper cups from being tossed in the trash? I don’t often frequent Starbucks, but know that many people love their particular coffee. Ask your local coffee shop if they have a similar program — they may surprise you, or you may give them a great idea for an incentive they can offer their customers. Ten cents doesn’t seem like that much, but it adds up: if you purchase your coffee even just 5 days a week, that’s $26 bucks a year. I’m sure you could think of something to use 26 extra dollars for.

If you love your paper coffee cup, why not try a coffee cup cozy instead of the disposable ones? If you’re crafty, you could even make your own. I’ve read that 1.1 billion cardboard/paper coffee sleeves are thrown away every year.

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I think my coolest find of this past week were stainless steel straws. Apparently you can purchase them from many different sources online, but I found mine at Green Design in Princeton, NJ. (They are so much cooler than plastic.)

How to recycle anything.

From The Green Gal:

10 ways to take chemicals out of your home

1. Ditch the bottle of limescale remover and use white wine vinegar instead. Use it neat on tough stains or mix an equal amount of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. The vinegar smell disappears once dry but you can add a squeeze of lemon juice to disguise the smell as you clean.
2. Instead of using kitchen and bathroom cleaner, try baking soda (also knows as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate). Sprinkle it on the surface or on the cloth, whichever is easiest for you, and wipe as usual.
3. Try pouring vinegar neat into the toilet and swill around the bowl instead of toilet bleach and scrub away.
4. Don’t spend your money on fabric softener, simply add a splash of vinegar to the rinse cycle instead. This is particularly good for people with sensitive skin.
5. If your dishwasher is getting clogged up, rather than buy a bottle of dishwasher cleaning chemicals, put a cup of baking soda into the machine and run it on a rinse cycle.
6. If you’re the house-proud type who likes their wooden furniture to shine, it’s really easy to make your own furniture polish. Mix one cup of olive oil and half a cup of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Spray a small amount on a cloth, you don’t need much, and polish. Use another cloth to polish the surface dry.
7. Keep your shoes smelling sweet with a baking soda bag. Fill the toe of an old sock (check for holes!) and tie up. Sit the bag in the shoe overnight and it will absorb the smell.
8. To descale a kettle, pour in a mug of water, a mug of vinegar and three tablespoons of salt. Boil the kettle and leave overnight. Rinse out several times before using it to make your morning cup of tea.
9. For super shiny stainless steel, rub on a teeny amount of olive oil.
10. Shake and vac the easy way by sprinkling baking soda on your carpet. Leave for a couple of hours and then vacuum.

A simple way to keep junk and ingredients with names you can’t pronounce out of your food is, simply, to make your own.

To start? Girl Scout cookies. I can’t wait to try to make these!

According to Care2.comIf every household in the United States replaced one roll of virgin-fiber paper towels with 100 percent recycled paper towels, we could save 1.4 million trees. If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins with 100 percent recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees.

What if we didn’t use any paper that was meant to be thrown away? Recycled paper towels and napkins seem like a great solution, but they really don’t work very well  — have you tried them?

Try using cloth to dry your hands (come on, you’ll never get them completely germ free, anyway), wipe down the counter, bathrooms, and tables. Just make sure you have designated ones for each area — you won’t want to dry your hands with something that has been used to wipe down the kitchen counter. Cloth napkins are also a great idea, since they can be used so many times! How many people throw away the paper napkins that they place at their kitchen tables as they go to eat, even if they never used them? Cloth napkins can be re-used if they aren’t dirty, and they won’t be mistaken for trash. Paper napkins fall apart and don’t do a great job when your hands are too sticky or dirty for the thin paper.

You’ll have to do laundry anyway, so toss them all in!

There is an interesting article at The Daily Green explaining the cost benefits of growing your own garden (plus, you can grow organic without market cost especially if you add compost to your garden). The Daily Green also has a section with gardening tips, and my favorite find was Hip Chick Dig’s newspaper seed-starting pots:

And I have yet to try this method, but 2-liter soda bottle “greenhouses” seem like a pretty nifty seed-starting idea, too — as long as you recycle them when you’re finished! ☮