Some Green Questions 4


What are the green solutions to the following?



  • Garbage bags (besides just putting trash straight in garbage can and trying to reduce the amount of trash you generate\

  • Cotton balls

  • Take-out containers (while we’ve cut back on eating out, every now and then Chinese food or a pizza is in order)

  • Poultry and Meat packaging

  • Wire hangers from the cleaners (the cleaners in my neighborhood won’t take them back; I’m not sure if that’s true for all of them)

  • Recycling among food vendors at food courts (Both at South Station and the Prudential Center here in Boston, it didn’t look like much was being done.)

  • Panty-hose (once they get runs and holes – what’s the best way to dispose of them?)

  • Plastic pots from hanging plants (I guess I can start just buy the plants and reuse my old ones.)

These are every day things that I haven’t figured out.  I recycle what I can and am committed to getting a composter this spring.  In the meantime, in between time questions like this nag at my brain.  Once a question settles in my brain, it will tumble there like clothes in a dryer (whose alternative would be to hang clothes on a clothesline).


If you’ve found a solution to these or other everyday matters, please share. 


Good news:  A great example of simple green technology was featured in a wonderful article in today’s Parade magazine (3/1/09), “The Simple Tool that Saves Women’s Lives” by Dr. Ranit Mishoni .  The simple tool is the solar cooker, which can be made very inexpensively. “Take two pieces of cardboard, add some tinfoil and sunlight and anything can be cooked.  You can even get water to boil.”  What an ingenious, practical and important invention!  All that is required is sunlight.  Each cooker costs about $15 and using them frees up women to do other things as well as prevents some diseases.   It made me smile to read about it and I hope it moves you as well.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

Leave a Reply to Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Cancel reply

4 thoughts on “Some Green Questions

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Packaging is such a hideous waste. Any business would buy recyclable packaging if it cost less than what they’re using now, so encouraging businesses to create cost-effective packaging solutions is one thing we can all do. One of the greenest solutions is to not buy from places that use non-recyclable packaging, and also to tell store owners why you are not purchasing there. Bring your own bags to the market. Buy in bulk when you can. Start your own seeds in those plastic plant pots. Donate hangers to an art class where they can be used for sculpture! Panty hose? I gave them up years ago, but you can cut the tops off and use them to store onions and garlic.

  • Candelaria

    Thanks for your comments.  I already do things like use reusable bags when I shop (I’ve done this for a few years) and not buy fabric-softner sheets.  I recycle as much as possible.  However, once in a while we have take-out Chinese food.  That’s not going to stop.  We wash out the cartons and slip them in recycle bins but their not supposed to be recycles because of the wire handles.  Pizza boxes are not accepted for recycling even if washed clean.  (I don’t get this.)

    While I agree that hangers can be taken to some art classes, I’m really thinking of scale.  Lots of men (especially) get shirts laundered on a regular basis and those wire hangers add up.  Perhaps I’ll write a Dry Cleaning Association to voice my concerns.  I have written to Perdue and a couple of other places about the trays that meat comes in but haven’t gotten a satisfactory response.  I’m not likely to stop buying ground turkey and there’s no Whole Food conveniently located.  I’d have to drive quite some distance as opposed to walking to the Stop and Shop that’s four blocks away.  

    Tights, panty-hose and knee highs  wear out and can’t be darned.  I have more of them than I would ever have onions or garlic to store.

    Anyhow…thanks, again.  We’re all figuring this out.

  • LeeAnn

    Garbage bags I use grocery bags for my garbage…I haven’t bought garbage bags in forever.
    Cotton balls Basically I don’t use these. I miss them on occasion but not often – and i do save the little tufts of cotton from the tops of vitamins and such for the rare time I need a cotton ball. Usually I can make the corner of a washcloth or something work instead of a cotton ball. I haven’t bought them in so long it’s hard to remember.
    Take-out containers These are kind of a drag. I clean and re-use as much as I can – the paper is good for “projects” and the rest I rip up small and recycle with the rest of my recycling if I can.
    Wire hangers from the cleaners I don’t do drycleaning anymore either. handwash as much as I can. There are a few dryclean items still left but I’m down to a very small amount for the service and generally welcome the few hangers I do get.
    Recycling among food vendors at food courts this is likely a problem and all you can do is encourage – maybe make the suggestion to mall managers?
    Panty-hose I don’t use these much either and when I do, I recycle them as storage for onions and apples.
    Plastic pots from hanging plants Yup! Don’t buy these and if you do, use them year after year with seedlings started by YOU. This year I’m going to grow different lettuce in all of my asundry plastic pots.

  • Lilly

    Great questions. So much waste and packaging in the world. I keep things as simple as I can. But you are right as hard as you try you still end up with things that are hard to recycle. I will be interested in the answers!