Implementing the Key Notions of Reduce, Reuse, and
For your convenience, I've gathered
my Ask EcoGirl print columns into themes, often with additional
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Your Clothes Out of the Trash (January 2014)
- A reader asks what he can do with his unwanted clothes, to
keep them out of the landfill. That's important because Americans
today throw out 85% of our clothes and textiles, trashing 13
million tons a year. Plus, the production of our clothes causes
harm to both our health and environment in many ways. So it's
vital that we make full use of each item. In this column, I share
my system for doing this by establishing easy everyday habits.
Plus I offer key resources and ideas to guide and inspire your
actions on this path.
- The Art
of the Yard Sale (August 2013)
- If you were thinking about hosting a yard sale this year --
there's still time! Yard sales are a great way to lighten your
load, make a little cash, connect with neighbors, and make full
use of your discards -- even those items that thrift stores won't
take. So how can you hold a successful event? Here are some of the
key techniques that I've developed over the years, which can help
you save time, attract more visitors, pass along more goodies,
earn more money -- and have more fun!
Your Stuff (August 2012)
- One of my life's personal pleasures and challenges has
been that I tend to collect a variety of cool things. It's not
that I bring so many items home (well, except paper information),
but that I tend to keep them longer to get full use out of them.
It's been helpful for me to understand that this keeper side of me
comes from some beautiful qualities in me, including curiosity,
passion, caring, respect, remembering -- and my eco-values! And I
notice that other eco-allies are often savers too. But how can we
manage these valued treasures skillfully so that we're not
mistaken for hoarders? Eek! I offer here the key tips I've
developed for myself over the years, presented in an empowering
and compassionate eco-perspective. (The website has more tips and
resources beyond the print column.)
Your Stuff - Ecologically (August 2008)
- Do you have items that you want to discard -- without adding
to our overstuffed landfills? There are many ways to do this --
plus make a little money and delight in contributing to others! In
this article, EcoGirl walks you through the key ways you can sell
and donate your goods, summarizing the benefits and drawbacks of
each, highlighting creative options, and providing handy
information about websites, local outlets, and more!
Play The Reuse Game! (February 2012)
- In this column, EcoGirl introduces you to her fun new
activity, which she calls "The Reuse Game." You might already know
that reuse is a key component of reducing our impact on the earth
and steering ourselves away from eco-collapse. But we can also
have fun doing it! This article has lots of ideas and tips for
being creative with your reuse. You can even turn it into a social
activity! The web page also has lots more added ideas and
resources. How lovely for all of us to get rewarded for treating
the earth's gifts with respect!
Your Holiday Waste (December 2009)
- A reader wonders how their family can reduce the increased
trash they generate during the holidays. Yes, given how much our
waste increases this time of year, this is a vital and fruitful
time for us all to cut back. Luckily, as usual, EcoGirl comes to
the rescue with an organized list of tangible ways that you can
trim your trash, this holiday season and beyond, thus reducing
your eco-impacts, your garbage costs, and even often having more
fun! Topics you'll find covered in this column include:
entertaining, food, greeting cards, gift wrapping, gift giving,
disposal after the festivities, and resources.
Smart Phones Green? (February 2011)
- Smart phones, MP3 players, and other mobile devices are
sprouting up all over the place. But are they good or bad for the
earth? To help answer that question, EcoGirl walks through her
assessment process for her latest purchase, the iPod Touch. The
web version of this article also has additional information,
resources, and app recommendations!
Our Techno-Tools (July 2009)
- Our daily lives can be enhanced in many ways by today's
technological devices, including computers, cell phones, cameras,
TVs, stereos, game players, and more. However, it's vital for us
to be smart about our use of these techno-toys, because they do
have eco-impacts throughout their lifecycles. Here are specific
ways that you can buy, enjoy, and discard these products while
minimizing their harm -- and even saving money as well!
the Rewards of the Bulk Bin (August 2010)
- Hiding in plain sight, the bulk bin aisles at the grocery
store offer many benefits to both us and the planet. This includes
saving us money, offering us freshness and variety, and greatly
reducing the packaging waste that fills our trash cans, landfills,
and waterways. EcoGirl offers tips for making it fun and easy to
forage in the bulk bins! (Note: The website version of this
article offers lots of additional tips and
for Eco-Success (May 2010)
- A reader wants to know how she can get better at actually
following through on her intentions to be more green. EcoGirl
empathetically offers three easy steps for turning her eco-ideas
into actions and everyday habits. She illustrates with two easy
examples: setting up your home recycling setup and fully using
your printer paper.
Plastic's Pollution (October 2008)
- Plastic offers us durability, but makes long-lasting trash,
both in our landfills and ecosystems. Even remote spots are
becoming cluttered with this debris, creating for instance the
"plastic island" in the northern Pacific. Scientists estimate that
each year at least a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals
and sea turtles die from eating or getting entangled in plastic.
Here's how to help protect the planet by reducing, reusing, and
recycling your plastic.
Gratitude to Action (December 2011)
- Too often, children can devour their Christmas gifts so
quickly that they don't really experience or appreciate each one,
let alone the person who gave it. In much the same way, our
culture is voraciously turning the earth's amazing ecosystems into
momentary objects that we barely notice and quickly become part of
our overwhelming piles of waste. To help remedy this, EcoGirl
offers some easy ways that we can redirect our actions towards
sanity, and through this more fully enjoy the objects and
experiences we have, reduce our harm to the precious earth, and
help ensure that there will be happy times tomorrow!
Does Green Mean? (September 2009)
- With so many companies claiming to be green nowadays, a reader
asks, how do I know which actions really make a difference for the
planet? EcoGirl comes to the rescue with key tips for looking
beneath green claims to recognize the more committed and effective
for a Brighter Future (June 2009)
- What's the story with these curly-cue "eco" lightbulbs? Yes,
they lower energy use, helping save money and the planet. But they
also contain mercury and can't go in the trash. Are we just
trading one eco-problem for another? EcoGirl tackles one of the
practical questions of eco-implementation with her usual
combination of information and inspiration! (Hint: The answer is
that, on balance, these CFL bulbs offer significant value for
reducing energy use and thus climate disruption, but need to be
handled with care. And there are emerging options to support. Read
the article to find out more!)
Through Green Eyes: Remodeling Green on the Cheap (October
- Yes, being cheap can be good for the planet -- when you see
through green eyes! Here are great ways to remodel green and save
money, including local resources that most folks don't even know
OTHER PRINT ARTICLES I'VE
WRITTEN ON THIS THEME
Green: Moving beyond greenwashing to authentic
eco-success" (NorthBay biz
magazine, Aug. 2010). In this cover story, "EcoGirl Patricia
Dines helps NorthBay biz readers see beyond enticing green
façades to uncover the products and approaches that support
true environmental change." This article offers useful information
that cheerfully nurtures meaningful and effective eco-action by both
individuals and businesses!
Deeper Shade of Green" (NorthBay biz
magazine, Green Scene, March 2010). This column gives you a look
into Petaluma's Sonoma Compost Company (SCC) and it's organic
community composting operation. For 25 years, SCC has been diverting
yard and ag waste from the landfill and turning it into useful
organic composts and mulches. Yes, this is where your green can waste
Compost: Celebrating 25 Years"
(Sonoma-Marin Farm News, Feb. 2010). This article gives you a
peek behind the scenes at the wonderful Sonoma Compost Company, which
for 25 years has been diverting yard and ag waste from the landfill
and turning it into useful organic composts and mulches that nurture
local farms and gardens.
- Editor feedback
"Dear Patricia -- Thanks for the story on Sonoma
Compost. It's a great read that our readers will find both
interesting and educational. We are happy to have the work of a
pro and welcome further stories by you on topics related to
the agricultural industry in Sonoma and Marin Counties."
Tim Tesconi, Editor Sonoma-Marin Farm News, Previously Ag
Staff Writer for the Press Democrat (33 years)
Return to EcoGirl's
Theme Page Index.
MORE OF MY PRINT ARTICLES
* My Next
STEP newsletter, which has lots of information on
toxics and alternatives, plus government and community-level
actions. "It's your handy guide to less-toxic living."
Look up topics of interest in the The Next STEP
- * North Bay Bohemian. I also wrote several articles on
these topics for the Bohemian's Green
* I also cover these topics on my Facebook
page and blog.
- Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of
The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The
Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about
toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for
the planet, see www.patriciadines.info.
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- I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome
your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at info
- Editors: Please contact me if you'd like to publish any of
these articles in your periodical, or discuss an article that
I might write for you.
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Patricia Dines, 1998-2014. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 1/6/14