23 posts categorized "Tips & Advice "

March 22, 2011

Get away, don't throw away

ACM_133_SetFlat[2] You may remember a few weeks ago when we blogged 20+ uses for our reuseit brand recycled PET Stuff Sack. Now we're back with a new use for our recycled PET mesh produce bag set - travel helpers.

On a recent two-day trip, one of our staffers used the 11" x 10" mesh drawstring bags in lieu of large zip-top plastic bags to pack toiletries, kids toys and other items that might otherwise roll around inside luggage. The small stuff sack made an ideal holder for hair accessories.

Because the bags are mesh, she just strung them up in the shower which allowed any wet items inside (shampoo bottles, razors, toothbrushes, etc) to drip dry. For even smaller items she wanted to keep dry or separate from the rest, she used reusable snack bags.

For more waste-free travel ideas, check out our Gift for the Traveler!

March 08, 2011

Drowning in reusable bags? Share your extras with those in need!

Bags-for-the-people Congratulations, you switched from disposable to reusable bags, reusing and upcycling the few you still end up with. Doesn't it feel nice to not have plastic bag monsters jumping out at you from underneath the sink? But wait - now you're being attacked by reusble bag piles from inside the closet!

Hopefully by now we've convinced you to say no to those cheap reusables every grocery store is pushing for 99 cents and to instead use a handful of high-quality reusable bags to do your shopping. But even the most careful shopper probably has a few bags that never seem to leave the house or car. What can you do to keep those from ending up in your recycling bin? Donate them!

Bags for the People accepts reusable bags (and other fabric), and repurposes or redisctributes them to those in need - because greener living shouldn't come with a price tag. Bags for the People also offers sewing workshops for kids and seniors, offering creative solutions to waste and economic disadvantage. Check out their site for more info on how to donate.

For more clever ways to put your extra bags to use, check out this post from TreeHugger.

December 22, 2010

Five Easy Ways to Make the World a Better Place

Dear Customers,

As a retailer, we get swept up in promoting the purchase of products, especially during the holidays. We thought it was a good time to stop and consider what each of us can do to give back as part of the holiday season.

Please take a few minutes and donate to one of these worthy causes today. Below are 5 outstanding "change agents" - organizations making significant, positive impacts through their efforts. All of them:

1. leverage minimal resources

2. assist in smart ways that make an enormous impact, and

3. are efficient, well-run, "no b.s." grassroots organizations.

Learn more about their work and consider helping them meet their end-of-year contribution goals with a donation. Forward this e-mail on. Together we can make a difference!

5 Organizations to Support

Green America
Who: Green America

What: Tackling climate change, promoting fair trade, stopping corporate abuse and growing the Green Economy. Green America is the preeminent organization harnessing the strength of consumers, investors, businesses and the marketplace to create a socially-just and environmentally-sustainable society.

How your donation will help: Through a matching gift challenge, all donations will be doubled through the end of the year.

Grist.orgWho: Grist.org

What: Grist has been dishing out environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999, well before the issues really hit mainstream.

How your donation will help:  Your donation will go straight to support Grist's award-winning, non-profit environmental news and commentary.

The Story of Stuff
Who: The Story of Stuff Project

What: The Story of Stuff Project has touched over 12 million people with a compelling message about the impact our production and consumption patterns are having on the planet and on each other.

How your donation will help: Contributions help The Story of Stuff Project create new movies, educational curricula, study guides and other resources and offer them for free to anyone who wants to download them.

Who: Environmental Working Group

What: EWG uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment through useful resources and pushing for national policy change.

How your donation will help: Help EWG meet their 2010 donations goal of $50,000. Contributions will help the EWG continue to provide publications that arm consumers with solid facts and recourses and keep government in check on issues like BPA, water quality and pervasive toxins.

WaterKeeper AllianceWho: Waterkeeper Alliance

What: Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Waterkeepers defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water-from law-breaking polluters to unresponsive government agencies.

How your donation will help: Donations support the Waterkeeper Alliance's efforts to keep Waterkeepers connected, provides them with legal, scientific and communications support, and unite their voices as they take on major global water issues together.
Vince Signature
Vincent Cobb - Founder, reuseit.com

As always, thanks for your support - to date you've enabled us to donate over $200,000 toward worthy causes.

December 07, 2010

Top Gifts for Him

The idea that guys aren't into helping the environment is as old fashioned as using plastic bags. In fact, our company was founded by a guy, and all of our products tested by the men behind the scenes here at reuseit.

Here you'll find our Top Five Picks for Him. Check out the links below for even more ideas!

  1. Reuseit™ Workhorse & EarthTote – finding reusable bags is tough, these are sleek, low-profile shoppings bag guys will actually use
  2. Platypus SoftBottle 1.0L – when this bottle is empty, you can just roll it up and store it just about anywhere
  3. Egear Solar Flashlight – smart design allows you to recharge two ways – with sunlight, or a pull-chord
  4. Reuseit™ 100% Made in USA insulated 6 Pack Lunch Bag – insulated lunch bag with a unique top-load design
  5. Thermos King 16oz SS Food Jar with Spoon – great for soups, stews, chili,  fresh fruit and more

And now here's Natalie (who is not a guy, but is married to a pretty manly one) to tell you about more of our top picks:

Need more advice? Check out our Reusables for Real Men guide featuring picks from the men on staff as well as proven customer favorites. Also check out our Top Picks for Him here and the whole Gifts for Him Gift Center here!

December 01, 2010

Top Gifts for the Coffee & Tea Lover

It's no secret that we are a bunch of coffee and tea lovers around here. After all, we are the people who brought you the Waste-free Starbucks Survival Guide. For this reason, we feel well-qualified in presenting you with our gift picks for the coffee and tea lovers in your life.

Here you'll find our Top Five Gift Picks for the Coffee & Tea Lover. Check out the links below for even more ideas!

  1. Reusable coffee & tea filters by swissgold - cut back on paper filters and paper coffee cups with this array of reusable gold coffee and tea filters - including a single-serve coffee filter for the freshest cup possible with no waste
  2. Aquaovo Double Wall Glass Water Bottle with Tea Filter - double-wall construction keeps drinks hot or cold without getting sweaty or hot to the touch
  3. Klean Kanteen Insulated Wide 20oz bottle with Café Cap - vacuum insulation keeps drinks hot or cold for hours, making it the perfect choice for coffee, soups and more
  4. "I Am Not A Paper Cup" – clever replacement for disposable paper cups
  5. “We Are Happy To Serve You” New York City Coffee Mug - a symbolic conversation piece to get people talking about the wisdom of reusables

And now here's Natalie to tell you a little more about our picks:

Check out our Top Ten Picks for the Coffee & Tea Lover here and the whole Coffee & Tea Lovers Gift Center here!

September 21, 2010

Clean and Green: tools, tips & tricks for tidying up without selling out

ACM_450_Kitchen Did you know that paper and paperboard products (paper towels, tissues, etc) made up 20.7 % of the municipal waste discarded in 2008--more than any other type of refuse? (6,550,000 tons!)

Think about it, every time you clean your house how many paper towels do you go through? What about sponges, disposable mop heads and dust cloths? What about all those harsh chemicals you spray into the air or toss away on a dirty paper towel?

Common household cleaners (including toilet bowl cleaners, air deodorizers, floor cleaners, window cleaners, and some detergents) often contain very toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even when used properly, these toxins make their way into the environment through evaporation of volatile components.

One obvious solution is to switch to reusable cleaning products - items like microfiber cleaning cloths, reusable scrub stones and refillable spray bottles. You could also switch to all-natural cleaning products - but those are often expensive and still come in throw-away containers - so we suggest making your own cleaners at home.

It might take a little getting used to - in fact, our photographer Sarah wrote a post on her journey to a "greener" clean earlier this year. (Check out Sarah's video below.) But once you make the switch, you'll marvel at how much money you save on disposables and how much lighter your cleaning-day trash bags become.

As Sarah mentioned in her post, we offer a few kits to get you started making your own all-natural cleaning products at home. In addition, we have a DIY Household Cleaners article in our DIY section, with links to some basic recipes for homemade cleaners. 

Finally, our brand-new DIY playlist on YouTube features videos handpicked by us, demonstrating how to make your own dish soap, bath tub cleaner and more. 

With just a few basic items, a handful of ingredients and a little elbow grease, you'll have an eco-friendly, sparkling clean home in no time. Check out this video of Sarah making DIY cleaners:

DIY Cleaning Solutions with reuseit™ spray bottles from reuseit.com on Vimeo.

Do you know of a great DIY cleaning recipe we should add to our DIY section? Leave us a comment! 

September 08, 2010

Natalie's Starbucks Survival Kit

20061101_starbucks_900x600 Don't get me wrong, I love the Fair Trade organic coffee we buy in bulk and grind fresh daily in the office kitchen. In fact, I am not ready to start my day at Reuseit without it. But once a week - usually Wednesday or Thursday when I start to run out of steam - I head to Starbucks for a pick-me-up.

Working at Reuseit I've learned a few easy ways to make my weekly treat more environmentally-responsible and today being a chilly morning in Chicago, I thought I'd share them.

First (and most obviously) bring your own mug! I like stainless steel because it keeps my coffee hot, but I see lots of people using the I Am Not A Paper Cup because it looks so much like a Starbucks cup. You can use the same mugs for iced drinks. The barista should knock a few cents off your drink every time you bring a mug, too.

Speaking of iced drinks - I have two tips for you. One: bring your own straw. It might not seem like a big waste when you look at the unassuming little straw in your cup, but if I'm going to Starbucks once a week, every week all year long that's at least 52 plastic straws a year I'm throwing away. (Not to mention all the paper they come wrapped in.) Again, I like stainless steel but glass is a fancy alternative. 

My second piece of advice for cold drinks is: if you have to take a disposable cup, reuse it. Not to drink from again, necessarily, but upcycle those plastic cups into something new. In fact, there is an entire website called Starbucks Garden 100% dedicated to ways you can reuse your coffee cups to grow your own food. 

I love sweets - and there are lots of them in the pastry case at Starbucks. I easily avoid taking a paper bag I don't really need by asking my barista to place my danish in a reusable sandwich bag. They do kind of think you're nuts at first, but it's a good way to get other people in line thinking about whether or not they really need to throw away so many paper bags every week as well. With my reusable napkin (that really doesn't get very dirty so I take it home once a week to wash with my other laundry), my mug, straw and sandwich bag I'm enjoying waste-free visits to Starbucks every week. 

At the cream and sugar counter I opt for sweeteners I can shake out of a larger container as opposed to one that comes in a disposable package, and I walk out full of caffeine and feeling pretty smart.

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite blogs, Green Starbucks:

"'If only 50 customers a day in every store were to use reusable mugs, Starbucks would save 150,000 disposable paper cups daily. This equals 1.7 million pounds of paper, 3.7 million pounds of solid waste, and 150,000 trees a year.' In 2000 when this report was generated there were only 6500 stores worldwide. In 2007 there are 13,168 stores which means over 300,000 trees could be saved from landfills by BRINGING YOUR OWN CUP."

May 24, 2010

Reuseit Products on NBC Chicago

We were thrilled to see some of our products featured on this segment starring Allison Shaewitz, Chicago's Green Girl!

May 11, 2010

Our Top Five Least Forgettable Bags

We can't be the only ones who notice this - most people still do not bring their own bags to the grocery store! Because it's our mission to help cut back on waste - from plastic bags to disposable water bottles to paper towels and more - we've thought long and hard about why people keep accepting disposable bags when there are so many great reusables to choose from. The answer? People forget. It's as simple as that. Time and time again our customers tell us, "I love my bags, now if I could only remember to bring them with me!"

We've come up with lots of solutions - from a sign on your front door reminding you to grab your bags to actually hanging the bags with your coat or near your keys. But the best way we can think of to remember to bring your own bags is to own bags you can't forget.

So here is our Top Five Least Forgettable Shopping Bags, in no particular order:

1. ACME Workhorse - the first ultra-compact shopping bag, and still the best. Shaped just like a plastic bag, but made from durable rip-stop nylon, it folds up into a tiny attached pouch so you can keep one in your pocket, purse or glove compartment and never get caught without a bag. Also available with long handles, in sets of four, in silicone-coated and in recycled materials.

2. Freak-O-Bags - A lot of ultra-compact shopping bags come with a carabiner to attach it to your purse or backpack, but few of them are so cool looking that you would actually want to do that. These bags are that cool. Monsters, animals and funky sea creatures that open up to a full-sized shopping bag - memorable and reusable.

3. Baggu Set of 5 - Five full-sized grocery bags that stuff into a coordinating pouch. Hang the pouch on your doorknob and get a reminder to bring your great-looking bags every time you leave the house. Also available individually and in sets of three.

4. String bag shopping sets - The convenient stuff sack makes them easy to remember - just hang them with your keys or on your doorknob. But what's really unforgettable is the reaction you'll get from other people. Memories of other customers asking "where did you get those awesome bags?" will remind you to bring them with every time.

5. ACME Bags EarthTote - Unlike the other bags on our list, this one's not a little guy. EarthTotes replace paper bags, and they fold flat just like the real thing - only they're super tough and built to last for years. Some of our customers keep a stack of these next to the refrigerator where they store their coupons - others keep them ready in the trunk. Once you've used EarthTotes and see how many paper and plastic bags they replace you won't forget them because you simply won't want to. Also available in recycled PET and as a set

ACM_06_TAN_LS_Set Looking for more creative solutions? Try creating your own kit. Our Customer Service rep Belinda keeps a stack of EarthTotes neatly folded in side a Built market tote, which she hangs on her door. When it's time to shop, she grabs the whole kit and uses the market tote for cold and frozen foods.

For a complete shopping kit, try storing 3-4 EarthTotes or other tote bags in an ACME drawstring bag and a set of produce bags in the front zipper pocket. Hang the whole thing near your door and you'll have everything you need for groceries in one spot. 

What's your trick for remembering your bags? Do you have a kit you've made or a set of bags you can't live without? Leave us a comment and we'll choose a random winner to receive a $25 gift certificate to our store to stock up on other smart reusables! We'll choose a winner on 5/14/10. 

Thanks for all your comments - and congrats to Amy!

April 21, 2010

Earth Day Tips for Kids - a video to share

Recently one of our staffer's moms, a 2nd grade teacher, asked us to make a video she could share with her class on Earth Day. Her 8 year olds were curious - is there anything kids can do to cut back on waste and clean up the planet?

We compiled our best ideas into this video - and we hope the 2nd graders see that it only takes a few small changes to make a big difference.

Want to spread the word about reusables? Send this video to your kids' teachers. Share it on Twitter and Facebook and together we can change wasteful habits!