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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.

According to Care2.com,  If 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!

CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs can last for about 6,000-15,000 hours, whereas regular (incandescent) bulbs last for about 750-1,000 hours. While CFL bulbs cost 3-10 times as much, their life is much longer, and they are more energy efficient.

Properly disposing of and recycling the CFC light bulbs is incredibly important, as they contain a small amount of mercury. If users dispose of these bulbs in the regular trash, more mercury will be added to the landfills and our water sources. According to The Boston Globe, the amount of mercury in one bulb can exceed the US guidelines for chronic exposure if not handled properly — so care must be taken when installing them.

These light bulbs are a great option, but only if we are responsible enough to dispose of them properly. The Home Depot has launched a program in all of their stores where you can bring in (unbroken) CFL bulbs to be recycled.