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Implementing the Key Notions of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

For your convenience, I've gathered my Ask EcoGirl print columns into themes, often with additional information.


FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ECOGIRL, including how she can appear in your publication,
see the
main EcoGirl page.

Keeping 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!
Eco-Organizing 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.)
Discarding 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!
Let's 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!
Trimming 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.
Are 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!
Greening 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!
Reaping 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 information.) 
Organizing 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.
Preventing 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.
From 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!
What 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 approaches.
Eco-Lighting 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!)
Seeing Through Green Eyes: Remodeling Green on the Cheap (October 2007)
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 about!  


* "True 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!

* "A 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 goes!

* "Sonoma 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.


* 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 index of articles.
* North Bay Bohemian. I also wrote several articles on these topics for the Bohemian's Green Zone column. 

* 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
Sign up for my low-volume writing announcement list (1-3 emails a month), to get emails when my new print articles are published, at www.patriciadines.info/EList.
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I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at info [at] askecogirl.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.

This entire website is (c) Patricia Dines, 1998-2014. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 1/6/14