1/12/2009 - Do two good deeds at once by recycling used magazines where they will be read and enjoyed. Hospitals, clinics, and public and and private social service agencies don't have money in their budgets these days for subscriptions and will welcome general interest and children's publications for their waiting rooms. You might also find a neighbor or a friend who would enjoy regularly receiving magazines of special interest.

1/5/2009 - Most localities now have a drop off date and place for retired Christmas trees which are then shredded to provide mulch for residents or for community landscaping. Some tree drives even give a gift to participants such as a tiny seedling to take home and plant or a bucket of mulch made from last year's trees.

Some towns even offer a one-time curb-side pick up in order to keep the trees out of the landfill.  Check your local paper - most will probably take place this week or weekend - or call the Department of Public Works in your town.

12/22/2008 - If you are converting to gas or replacing a gas stove, buy one with an electric ignition rather than a continous pilot light. An electronic ignition uses 40 percent less energy than a standard pilot light.

12/17/2008 - Remove the plastic cap from water and other bottles before recycling. The plastic used in the caps is not widely accepted by recyclers and some actually throw away the entire bottle when a cap is attached.

12/8/2008 - Listen to your utility company and change the filters on your forced-hot air heating unit at least every other month - more often if you have pets.  Filters become clogged with dust, grease from cooking, dog and cat hair and other indoor pollutants and substantially reduce the efficiency of the heating and cooling units.
Filters are easy to change and so cheap there is no excuse.  A package of three filters costs around $2.50 at home improvement stores.

12/4/2008 - In addition to removing lint from your dryer filter, wash the filter with soap and water at least once a month.  Oils from fabric softeners and other sources coat the filter reducing air flow and efficiency.  Check this out by running water on the filter.  Water will puddle up on a dirty screen rather than passing through it.

12/2/2008 - Holiday tip:  Save and recycle the Sunday newspaper comics section as wrapping paper for oversized boxes.   It is free, easier to handle than tissue paper, and especially appropriate for kids' toys.

12/1/2008 - Installing a low-flow toilet can save the average family 4,000 gallons of water a year.  Don't look so unhappy, new models are much improved over the early versions.