Gettin’ Guesty with My Mom

Today we have a very special guest for Gettin’ Guesty!

It’s my mom! Her name is Carol Newell and she has been an avid recycler and re-user for almost as long as I remember. She’s got some solid techniques for making the most of what she’s got which in turn equals some major savings. She has been washing out and re-using plastic baggies, re-using aluminum foil and composting long before it “caught on”. In addition to being an environmental advocate she’s got a heart made of solid chocolate (and gold) and she’s got just enough stubbornness to make her interesting.

I’m so glad she was willing to answer some questions for me about her environmentally-friendly ways. After reading her responses I’m thinking the frugal apple didn’t fall far from the frugal tree… just took a little longer for this apple to ripen after the rot.

Please welcome my mom!

(p.s. She’d love to answer any questions you might have for her. Just leave her a comment below.)

And Then We Saved: How long have you been been into recycling?

Carol Newell: When Anna was in 7th grade she learned about recycling at school. She told me about it and initially I poo-pooed the idea but eventually joined in. I still recycle and Anna is in her thirties so, that makes it about 20 years.

ATWS: How has recycling changed since you 1st started? 

CN: The potential as to what CAN be recycled has broadened quite a bit. It seems to depend a lot on where you live and what has been made available. Also, there are more products made from recycled materials and the cost of those products are not as high as they use to be.

ATWS: How time-consuming is the recycling process for you and what all does it entail?

CN: It would be hard to break down the amount of time I spend recycling. By now, it’s completely integrated into my home and work life so it’s a faster process than it used to be.

ATWS: Of the items you consume weekly what would you say is the percentage of those items that you either recycle or re-use?

CN: I’d say I recycle about 85% of what I use.

ATWS: Do you think your recycling efforts have helped you to consume less or do you consume the same amount as you did in the past and just recycle more? 

CN: My efforts have prompted me to consume less in some regards. I may pass up something I want because it’s plastic and also packaged in plastic. So, sometimes I’ll talk myself out of a purchase for environmental reasons. I consider the materials used to make the product, the packaging materials, the cost, the need, the want.

ATWS: What could your city do to help the recycling and ecological effort?

CN: I think our city does well. There are avenues for unloading batteries, old paint and home chemicals and there are also stores that carry re-usable home renovation materials.

ATWS: How many trips do you make to the recycling bins per month?

CN: My husband and I pay monthly to have our recyclables picked up once a week. We have a large plastic (yikes! hopefully it’s made from recyclable materials!) container that we put out weekly. They recycle just about everything.  We pay $9.00 a month for the service. They don’t recycle glass so I set glass containers aside until I have enough to make it worth my time to stop at a community recycle spot on the way to or from some other destination. I try not to make separate trips to the recycle bins.

ATWS: What items do you re-use the most that most people would throw away?

CN: Probably plastic bags.  I don’t save and re-use plasic ziploc bags that have had meat products in them and when they wear out they go.

ATWS: What are your feelings on people, neighborhoods, cities that don’t support the recycling effort?

CN: It bugs me.

ATWS: What do you say to the people who state that recycling doesn’t really have an impact on the environment? Do you think they are full of bologna?

 CN: I don’t know what to say to this. I just believe it does have an impact.  I think we can make others aware of careless waste by OUR choices and by what we say and do.

ATWS: What would you like to see happen culturally to support our environment and the recycling/re-using movement? 

CN: I would like to see big organizations like McDonalds become more environmentally considerate. They serve so many people so much food all over the world everyday.  I ordered a $1.00 tortilla-type sandwich this year and was appalled that it was put in a plastic snap-lock covering (I guess to keep it hot?). I say, pull it from the oven/whatever and wrap it in a paper wrap. It got me thinking about how many people might be eating that same food daily and the environmental waste that went with it. That sandwich was not worth the environmental cost it created.

ATWS: Do you ever get sick of recycling and want to just throw everything away? Do you ever just throw things away when people aren’t looking?

CN: Of course I throw things away.  I’ll throw junk away that I think no one has any use for.  You might be surprised what can be recycled though.  One day I thought, what the heck I’ll call ’em and ask.  I called our recycle company and asked if they would recycle my daughter’s old barbie dolls with chopped hairdos.  The lady on the other end said sure, throw ’em in! No, I haven’t gone off the deep-end and abandoned recycling!

ATWS: When you see people throw away something that could be recycled what goes through your mind? 

CN: When I see items on the curb waiting for the garbage pick-up I think someone might be able to use that.  I mean usable, decent-condition, not filthy items.  Some thrift stores will come pick up the items for you.  All it’d take is a call and someone else may benefit from what you no longer use.  A free sign on your lawn next to what you don’t want is an alternative too.

Mom aka Carol Newell •THANK YOU• for being a part of And Then We Saved! 

If you would like to be considered as a Contributor for Gettin’ Guesty send me an email at: Hello@AndThenWeSaved.com

P.S. Looking to declutter and minimize? CLICK HERE to learn about the Fearless Minimalist Guide

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  1. teenie

    nice job, mom! you had me giggling like crazy about how true and wonderful it all is. I'm so proud of my thoughtful, innovative mom. It's clear where I get my enviro, recycling conscience from (among other consciences ;). Although, you did forget to mention one of my favorite tactics of yours – that you re-use the bags/liners that come in cereals boxes to use as wax paper – that's a good one. xoxo

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