The ULS Report TM

Helping people Use Less Stuff by conserving
resources and reducing waste.

November-December 1997
Volume 4, Number 6


November 20, 1997 is...

The Third Annual ULS Day

Tis the season to be jolly... which rhymes with dolly, lolly and trolley. These are just three of the gifts that help create the heap of holiday trash starting around Thanksgiving and ending with a bang on New Year's Day.

Last year, we reported some numbers that astounded a few folks. We'd like to reuse them to remind you of the magnitude of the situation: Annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals about 4 million tons. Third class mail adds another 4.4 million tons to mail bags and, ultimately, to garbage bags. In fact, holiday waste will add an additional 5 million tons of trash to U.S. landfills.

Educating people about the need to fight waste and conserve resources is what ULS Day is all about. We've loaded this issue with a Yuletide Guide -- tips and gifts that help you to use less and still have a fun, festive holiday season. We're also running a Use Less Stuff Contest (see page 3) so that children can tell us what they think can be done to reduce waste. And to help teachers, students and parents get started, we're declaring ULS Day to also be Waste Free Lunch Day -- call us at 313-668-1690 for ideas or visit our Waste Free lunch Web site. To get the message out and help people to reduce and reuse as well as to recycle, over 270 organizations have signed on as ULS Day 1997 participants! We have listed list them all on their own ULS sponsors page. A special thanks goes to Keep America Beautiful and its local affiliates -- all 160 of you!

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The Yuletide Guide

ULS Yuletide Tips

7 simple steps that take the waste out of your holidays.

  1. Plan ahead. Making your list and checking it twice will save time, money and last-minute shopping frenzies.
  2. Consolidate your shopping trips. Spending fewer hours driving to malls and shopping centers (and trying to find a parking place) means less wasted gas, time and stress.

    Did you know . . .if each family reduced its holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon (about twenty miles), we'd reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons?

  3. One of the best ways to save film -- and holiday memories -- is to write legibly. Each year Kodak disposes of 400,000 rolls of film due to illegible return addresses.

    Did you know . . . by purchasing rolls of 36 instead of 12 exposures, you'll reduce waste by 67% and save about $4, or 40%?

  4. Calling the 800 numbers and canceling 10 mail-order catalogues you don't want will reduce your trash by 3.5 pounds per year. (If everybody did this, the stack of canceled catalogues would be 2,000 miles high.)

    Did you know . . . in 1981 the average household received 59 mail-order catalogues, and by 1991 the number had increased 140%, to 142?

  5. How about starting a savings account or giving savings bonds as gifts for kids? It's fun to watch the money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
  6. Make your own personalized, festive gift wrap using materials you already have around the house: the comics for kids or the financial section for your favorite banker; fancy shopping bags; material scraps, etc.

    Did you know . . .If each family reused just 2 feet of holiday ribbon each year, 38,000 miles' worth would be saved? That's enough to tie a bow around the entire planet!

  7. Keep it simple - less can be more. Think carefully about what gifts friends and family really need and want. One thoughtful gift may be better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts.

    Did you know . . .it is estimated that last Christmas, gifts worth as much as one billion dollars were unwanted and doomed to attic, basement, garage, or oblivion?

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ULS Yuletide Gifts

Gift giving with an eye toward using less.


SOLAR-POWERED BUILDING SETS (K'Nex Industries) ~ A complete solar power pack (solar panel, motor, and power cord) makes these building sets special, turning science and math into hours of fun -- without batteries. Deluxe-model sets come with rods, connectors, tires, and other gadgets to construct working windmills, automobiles, and more. $50 - $100. Available nationwide at major toy retailers and specialty shops.

ICY RIDER (Rubbermaid, Inc.) ~ This simple snow sled is durable, inexpensive and recyclable. Designed by Tim Fenton, it is lightweight and easy to pull. Its easy-grip handles and curved outer runners allow the user to steer simply by leaning. Available nationwide at major toy retailers. $17.99.

XTENBLADE (Rollerblade, Inc.) ~ Now you don't have to buy new skates every time your child's feet grow! Rollerblade's XTENBLADES are adjustable to four sizes, allowing them to grow with your child. Sporting-goods and skate shops. $99.

PARALLEL UNIVERSE CORP. ~ A fun and easy way for parents and kids to "play make-believe" by using toys made from recycled cardboard boxes. The toys come in six imaginative patterns -- a castle, treasure chest, galloping horse, swan, tugboat, and flying saucer -- and are big enough for children to wear or to play inside. These lightweight toys fold for storage and are easy to dispose of by recycling. $7.95 - $14.95. E-mail:


"THE WRITE STUFF" ~ Want an expressive and environmentally friendly way to send holiday cheer year-round? Give a gift your grandparents used: a fountain pen. Fountain pens last virtually forever! And by using the refillable converter, the only waste is the empty ink bottles, which can be recycled. Stylish, high-quality, reasonably priced pens include the Lamy Safari ($30), Waterman Phileas ($38) and the Schaeffer Prelude Collection ($70 - $90). Colorado Pen Company. 1-248-637-3050. Shopping on-line? Try Levenger.

MOTHERBOARD (by Suzanne Bevan) ~ Motherboard is an innovative company that keeps tons of circuit boards out of landfills by turning them into useful, out-of-the-ordinary gift items, such as totally tubular coasters, floatn' frames and the tik tok compu clock. $3.50 - $250. 1-312-842-6788.

EXTRA LIFE (Dennis Green, Ltd.) ~ Throw these disks in the crisper and your fruits and vegetables last much longer. A nine month supply (3 disks) costs about $20. 1-800-345-1515. Ask for item K50440.

GARDEN COASTERS/MOSAIC TILE COASTERS (Crate & Barrel) ~ Fresh botanicals pressed into recycled clay create expressions of flowers such as a Gerbera daisy, sunflower, and Queen Anne's lace. Mosaic coasters are made of reused tiles from around the world. Set of four 4 x 4" coasters: $22.95. Available at Crate & Barrel stores nationwide. 1-800-323-5461.

ATTILA (Julian Brown for Rexite) ~ Get out frustrations in style by crushing those used aluminum cans to 1/5 their volume with the Attila can compactor, winner of the 1996 GOOD DESIGN Award from The Chicago Atheneum: Museum of Architecture and Design. Crushing the cans saves space at home and makes recycling easier and more convenient. $110.00. The Tzabaco Catalogue. 1-800-856-1667.

THE USE-IT-UP COOKBOOK (by Lois Carlson Willand) ~ Use more, waste less, and save money, with this down-to-earth cookbook of recipes for using up common perishable foods. It features easy preparation and inexpensive additional ingredients. $12.95. Practical Cookbooks, 145 Malcolm Avenue, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414. (Order on the Net from


PLANET SACK (the Planet Sack) ~ Designed as an eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper, these beautiful and reusable fabrics are popping up in creative ways: Emma Thompson used one as a purse in Sense and Sensibility, and Cindy Crawford considers them a staple for holiday gift-giving. Comes in velvet and sheer in a variety of patterns and sizes. 1-213-936-7086.

MOIRÉ GIFT BOXES (Williams Sonoma) ~ Made of sturdy cardboard adorned with silk with a carrying cord, these reusable gift boxes lend elegance and sophistication to homemade gifts. Catalog only. In red or gold silk, 6 3/4" x 4" and 8 1/2 x 4 1/2". $6.99 each. 1-800-541-2233.


"THE WRITE STUFF" REVISITED ~ Like the idea of the fountain pen but want a little more? Florentine artist Paolo Cerrini has designed the limited edition Laurus. The bas relief on the shaft depicts racing horses, with the laurel-wreathed winner shown in his moment of glory. The solid gold version is priced at $6,500, and the sterling silver one at $2,500... A perfect last-minute stocking stuffer! Call The Fountain Pen Hospital, 1-800-253-7367.

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The ULS (Use Less StuffTM) Contest

Rules and Entry Procedures

To celebrate the Third Annual ULS Day on November 20th, 1997, participants are sponsoring a Use Less Stuff Contest for children ages 6 - 12. The contest will kick off with a call on schools to declare ULS Day Waste-Free Lunch Day.

Need some help with tips on how to create waste free lunches? Here are a whole bunch of easy-to-do, effective ways to reduce waste at lunchtime.

Through the contest, students will be challenged to think of innovative ways to reduce waste. The prizes are a new bicycle for the grand prize winner, and in-line skates, courtesy of Rollerblade, Inc., for the finalists. In the spirit of using less stuff, these have been selected for their message as energy-efficient alternative modes of transportation.

Here's How the Contest Works:

Problems? Send an e-mail message to us with your name, address and/or fax number, and we'll zip off a copy of the entry form.

The contest begins on ULS Day, November 20th, 1997.

You must be between the ages of 6 and 12 to enter.

1 entry per student.

Entry form must be returned to:

The Use Less Stuff Contest
P.O. Box 130116
Ann Arbor, MI 48113

and must be received by February 1, 1998.

A panel assembled by The ULS Report will judge entries on the basis of originality, practicality, and waste-saving potential.

The decision of the judges is final.

All entries become the property of The ULS Report.

Five regional finalists will be announced on March 1, 1998.

National ULS Contest winner will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 1998.


  1. Winner will receive a new bicycle.
  2. Finalists will receive in-line skates (courtesy of Rollerblade, Inc.).

Please note: The products listed in this guide are editorial selections of The ULS Report. None of the companies or products listed are sponsors of The ULS Report, and The ULS Report has received neither financial nor other considerations from any of the companies mentioned.

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The ULS Report is a bi-monthly publication of Partners for Environmental Progress. Send e-mail to

Snail mail address: P.O. Box 130116, Ann Arbor, MI 48113
Phone: 313-668-1690
Fax: 313-930-0506

Editor: Robert Lilienfeld
Technical Advisor: Dr. William Rathje

The ULS Report is free. We do accept contributions of up to $5.00 to help cover the costs of production and distribution.

We encourage you to reuse and recycle our information. Since The ULS Report, Use Less Stuff, Reduction Roundup and the ULS logo are trademarks of Partners for Environmental Progress, please contact us prior to reprinting.

Copyright 1997 Partners for Environmental Progress

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