Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One of my favorite things ... (a recycled article plus an update)

Today’s tip is one of my favorites because it is simple, it reuses an item that we typically toss out and it really works.

I use sponges to wash my dishes. I’m not sure whether using a sponge is environmentally correct or not. The verdict is still out on that one. However, I prefer sponges over dish rags.

Now here’s the cool part … you know those mesh bags that onions come in? Well, the next time you get a bag of onions, carefully clip off one of the metal ends and then, slide your sponge inside (after removing all the onions and their skins, that is). Then, use one of those little twisty things that seem to come in, and on, everything to secure the other end. You might have to trim some of the excess mesh bag away. And make sure that the metal end and your twisty end are truly at the ends of your sponge so that when you use it, it won’t scratch anything.

Now you have a super sponge with terrific scrubbing abilities. And, you’ve accomplished a few things:

  • Those mesh bags get a second life before finding their way to a landfill.

  • Your sponge will last longer and work better.

  • Those little twisty things won’t junk up your drawers.

  • And it meets one of my “saving the planet” rules: reuse before tossing whenever possible.

Here's a picture of how it turns out:

Update ... Since first writing this post, I've refined the tip a bit. The little twisty things at the ends work but ... I have to admit that one must be very careful not to scratch non-stick pans or other "fragile" surfaces with them. The same thing is true for the metal clips at the ends of the mesh bags. So now, I clip off any metal pieces. And instead of using those twisty things, I use rubber bands. I seem to have a lot of those little rubber bands around ... I don't buy them and I'm not real sure how they end up in my home (I don't get a newspaper or anything like that) ... but they are here. So instead of using the twisty things, I now use rubber bands, tightly wound around the ends ... it works great and doesn't scratch a thing.

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling. Just click on the comments link, located at the bottom of each post, and let me know what you think and how you conserve. Maybe you'll see your ideas in an upcoming post.