14 uses for empty pill containers

Have you ever thought about how many empty pill bottles you can throw away in a year? They are recyclable, but it seems so extremely wasteful when you add yours to your neighbor’s and to the whole community’s. By the way, some Pharmacy's will take them back, please check with them before just throw them away. Also a lot of vets and animal shelters will take donations to fill animal’s prescriptions.
I came up with a bunch of different ideas to reuse them, I’ve had them in 2 different sizes, so the re-use will depend of the size of the container you are given.

  1. To keep teeth for the tooth fairy
  2. Toothpicks
  3. Bobby pins and hair pins
  4. Small batteries
  5. Sewing pins, buttons
  6. To organize screws and nails in the tool box
  7. Craft items like beads, glitter or finger paint.
  8. Paper clips, rubber bands, push pins
  9. Stamps
  10. Ear buds
  11. Depending on how secure the top is you can put salad dressing, ketchup and mustard for lunch boxes. Carry nuts or cheerios too.
  12. Great containers if you save seeds.
  13. Emergency kits:
    1. Non-prescription medicine
    2. Mints or gum
    3. Band-aids
  14. Travel / Camping:
    1. Q tips
    2. For vitamins and prescription pills.
    3. Face cream
    4. Tweezers and nail clips

Don’t forget they can be labeled, painted or wrapped in pretty paper. 

Why the automn allergies?

Leaves are starting to change color and they will fall soon. Warm, humid summer days give way to cool breeze and changing light. Red trees are popping, combined with yellow and green, in the multitude of shades I love.

Birthday parties realities

It seems that when school starts, birthday party season does also around here. My daughter has already received multiple party invitations, which I view with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m thrilled that she’ll enjoy a few hours of diversion with her friends. We had no parties at all during the summer. On the other hand, I don’t like how most birthday parties are planned and executed with such a ‘consumerism’ mentality. It is all about the gifts and the decoration and the disposable items. The amount of waste generated by a typical birthday party disturbs me because I feel it sends the wrong message to our kids.

For example, the gifts. Most parents don't want to spend big dollars on high-quality items for a kid they barely know, so it is mostly anything can get wrapped in costly non-recyclable paper and handed over.  Get real, some of these gifts are cheap plastic toys that often break within hours of opening. Eventually they get pitched in the garbage (since recycling won’t take them) or stored pointlessly because it feels so wrong to throw away a brand-new present. At the end of the gift-opening ritual is a flurry of non-recyclable packaging, mountains of torn tissue paper, shredded wrapping paper, and crushed bags, not to mention the cardboard and plastic packaging that all the toys come in, pile up high.

Although they are fun, birthday parties are a lot of work for parents, so I understand the desire to simplify, but I can’t help feeling horribly guilty whenever I slide a dirty non-recyclable styrofoam plate piled with food scraps, a crumpled paper napkin, plastic cutlery, cup balancing on top -- into a garbage bag that’s been set out for this purpose. Sometimes there’s even a thin plastic tablecloth that, presumably, saves the host from having to wipe the table and of course will later go in to the trash too.

And then, the waste follows the guests home in the form of loot bags. There is candy that I wouldn't dare to give to my daughter, there are also cute little toys from the dollar store that end up in the garbage.

Hey, but please, don’t get me wrong; I think it’s very important to celebrate birthday parties and I hope for my child’s sake that the invitations keep coming. But since when did it become necessary to consume so much in order to celebrate something so basic?

Here some tips to less waste:
1. Use real dishes and wash them to avoid waste.
2. Avoid paper invitations and invite over the phone or by e-mail.
3. Parents could tell birthday party guests not to bring gifts at all.
4. Guests could pool money to buy a single high quality gift that is really going to be used.

There are so many lessons we can teach our children with example if we want them to be conscious of their footprint on this planet. That’s probably the best long-term birthday gift we could give them anyways.