1994 PEP

The ULS Report

Helping people conserve resources and reduce waste by Using Less Stuff

December 1994 Volume I, Number 5


As you can imagine, we buy and throw away a lot of stuff at holiday time: food, wrapping paper, boxes, bags, ribbons and cards, to name but a few items. And let's not forget that now-forlorn Christmas tree and quite possibly all of those Hawaiian print ties and Argyle socks from Great Aunt Jennie. (Where does she find all that junk, anyway?)

Now's a great time to think about using less. Here are a dozen simple ways you can reduce waste without feeling like a Scrooge:

  1. Wrap gifts in old street and subway maps, Sunday comics or any other colorful paper you have around the house. You can even match the paper graphics to the gift inside!

  2. Wrap gifts to grandparents in their grandchildrens' artwork, schoolwork etc. This will not only save you from having to buy gift wrap, but it will probably keep the wrap you create from ever being thrown away.

  3. Save and reuse satin ribbons. Remember, it's not just the ribbon that you save, it's the spools you keep out of the trash, too.

  4. Send presents to adults on your list in reusable gift bags and boxes. Old tins are ideal for this.

  5. Not sure what to get someone? How about a gift certificate to a book or department store? That way, you know the gift will be kept.

  6. Make sure Santa and his reindeer eat the cookies and carrots that your children leave out. (A light Christmas Eve dinner will help. Right, Dad?)

  7. Buying a live tree? How about one in a pot that you can plant later in the year? Otherwise, your tree may end up in a landfill.

  8. Don't really care about a live tree? Buy an artificial one. They've become quite realistic looking. And over 10 years, you save 10 trees!

  9. Have lots of old clothes around the house? Cover a large, heavy cardboard box with leftover fabric. Fill it with old clothes, hats, scarves and costume jewelry. Instant dress-up trunk!

  10. Before you throw away or recycle all of those gift catalogs, take a minute to pick out the ones you don't want to receive anymore. Call their toll-free numbers NOW and ask to get off their list.

  11. Save money and energy while reducing fire hazards by putting your tree and outdoor lights on timers. (Who's looking at 3 a.m. anyway?)

  12. Give your children (and your parents!) something they really want and something that wastes no resources -- your time and love.

A happy and safe holiday to all of you, from all of us at The ULS Report.

Top 5 ULS Resolutions for the New Year

  1. Find ways to reduce paper usage at home and work.

  2. Compost everything you can!

  3. Buy products in large sizes, concentrated form, flexible packages and reusable containers.

  4. Walk, take public transportation, ride your bike.

  5. Turn off the lights and turn down the heat.

Reduction Roundup

Here are a few of the latest developments that can help reduce waste and save resources:

How About a Useless Stuff Column?

Did you get many silly gifts this Christmas? A doggie bomber jacket or electric nose hair clippers, perhaps? A spring loaded salad chopper? Maybe a videocassette winder shaped like a car? What are the most useless things you received, saw or read about? Let us know. We'll start a new column in the next issue.

Many thanks to our Internet reader community for their input regarding this idea.

The ULS Report is a bi-monthly publication of Partners for Environmental 

Address e-mail correspondence to ULS@cygnus-group.com.

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
Editorial Advisor: Tony Kingsbury

Feel free to reduce, reuse and recycle this newsletter and its contents. 
(But please give appropriate credit when referencing our material.)

Copyright 1994, Partners for Environmental Progress.