Thursday, April 30, 2009

AltUse Comes to Wikipedia

As part of the rollout of AltUse, we are now adding AltUse content for select products in the "External Links" section of Wikipedia. For example, see the links for "Honey" in the Wiki.

External links

U.S. National Honey Board
Value-Added Products From Beekeeping, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Beekeeping and Sustainable Livelihoods, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Alternative uses of Honey

Top 10 Weird Uses for Vodka - Save Money and Reduce Chemicals with Alcohol -

Top 10 Weird Uses for Vodka - Save Money and Reduce Chemicals with Alcohol -

Posted using ShareThis

Ketchup Uses – Ketchup Packets and Bottles - Catsup -

Ketchup Uses – Ketchup Packets and Bottles - Catsup -

Posted using ShareThis

Vinegar Uses – Vinegar Green Cleaning and Home Remedies -

Vinegar Uses – Vinegar Green Cleaning and Home Remedies -

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, April 26, 2009

5 Easy Tips to Save Money -- and Energy

Easy Tips to Save Money -- and Energy By Emily Listfield

You don’t have to choose between going green and saving green. Americans saved $19 billion on utility bills in 2008 and reduced greenhouse gases simply by purchasing appliances marked with the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Energy Star” seal of approval. And there are other surprising—a nd surprisingly easy—steps you can take. The following tips will lower both your bills and your carbon footprint.

1. Be Wise With Your Water “Reduce your lawn area by planting flowers, and you’ll lower your water bills,” says Sid Davis, author of Your Eco-Friendly Home. “Flowers need less hydration than grass. Putting in gravel or pathways also will do the trick.” Other ways to save water (and money) include turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving, taking shorter showers, and getting a good aerator for your faucet, which gives the illusion of using more water while actually using less. Look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s “WaterSense” label on faucets and showerheads.

2. Power Down and Go Out “My family takes a 30-minute energy break together,” says Los Angeles green crusader David Applebaum, who has designed homes for celebrities such as Diane Keaton and Cuba Gooding Jr. “We go through the house, turn off all the lights and appliances—including the heater or air conditioner—a nd unplug unnecessary things like phone chargers. Then we take a walk or go for a ride on our bikes. Along with adding extra family time, it gets everyone in the habit of turning things off before going out.” To start, Applebaum suggests making a checklist of appliances in your home that can be powered down before you leave.

3. Shop From Home Shopping online is a great way to compare prices. And now a study from Carnegie Mellon’s Green Design Institute says it may also be a good way to reduce your environmental impact. Researchers estimate that comparison-shopping online instead of driving from store to store could result in up to 35% less energy consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions. And with so many websites offering free shipping, you’ll save money, time, and gas. Now, if only there were a food court online, you’d be all set.

4. Be a Lawful Driver According to the U.S. Department of Energy, driving at the speed limit is not only safer—it’s also more energy-efficient. Every vehicle is different, but generally speaking, gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph, meaning the faster you drive, the more fuel you use to get wherever you’re going. So while speeding might save you time, ultimately it’ll cost you at the pump. Experts estimate that you end up paying approximately 24 cents extra per gallon in gas for every five miles you drive above 60 mph. Obeying the law will help you and your dollar go farther. And, of course, there are the potential savings in fewer speeding tickets as well.

5. Get More Out of Your Spin Cycle “Switch from fluffy towels to towels made out of a cotton waffle weave,” suggests Barbara Flanagan, author of Flanagan’s Smart Home. “Fluffy towels take much longer in the dryer, which is one of the most expensive uses of energy. Waffle towels are thinner and will dry faster, so they save you money. They also exfoliate your skin when you dry off with them.” For even more energy and cash savings, remember to run your dryer only when it’s full.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Luxury or Necessity? The Public Makes a U-Turn

From the kitchen to the laundry room to the home entertainment center, Americans are paring down the list of familiar household appliances they say they can't live without, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project.
No longer do substantial majorities of the public say a microwave oven, a television set or even home air conditioning is a necessity. Instead, nearly half or more now see each of these items as a luxury. Similarly, the proportion that considers a dishwasher or a clothes dryer to be essential has
dropped sharply since 2006.

These recession-era reevaluations are all the more striking because the public's luxury-versus-necessity perceptual boundaries had been moving in the other direction for the previous decade. For example, the share of adults who consider a microwave a necessity was just 32% in 1996. By 2006, it had shot up to 68%. Now it has retreated to 47%. Similarly, just 52% of the public in the latest poll say a television set is a necessity -- down 12 percentage points from 2006 and the smallest share to call a TV a necessity since this question was first asked more than 35 years ago.

Along with a new creed of thrift, there's another factor -- technology adoption -- that appears to be shaping public judgments about some of these items. Take cell phones. A relative newcomer in the everyday lives of most Americans, the cell phone is among a handful of newer gadgets that have held their own on the necessity scale from 2006 to 2009. Moreover, it may have contributed to a drop in necessity ratings for the older-era appliance it has partially supplanted. The survey finds that people who consider a cell phone a necessity -- some 49% of the public, including a disproportionate share of young adults -- are less inclined than others to feel the same way about a landline phone.

In addition to exploring these shifts in consumer perceptions, the Pew Research survey asked respondents about a range of belt-tightening strategies and behaviors triggered by the recession, which officially began in December 2007.

It finds that eight-in-ten adults have taken specific steps of one kind or another to economize during these bad times. Almost six-in-ten say they are shopping more in discount stores or are passing up name brands in favor of less expensive varieties. Nearly three-in-ten adults say they've cut back spending on alcohol or cigarettes. About one-in-four say they've reduced spending on their cable or satellite television service or canceled the service altogether. About one-in-five say they've gone with a less expensive cell phone plan, or canceled service. One-in-five say they've started mowing their own lawn or doing home repairs rather than pay others for the service. And about one-in-five adults say they are following the example of first lady Michelle Obama and are making plans to plant a vegetable garden to save money on food.

As expected, the survey also finds that people who have taken the biggest economic hits during this recession are the ones most inclined to have tightened their belts. So, for example, if a respondent or someone in that person's household lost a job in the past year, had trouble paying the mortgage or rent, or lost more than 20% in a retirement account or other investments, the respondent is more likely than others surveyed to have economized in a variety of ways.

However, this distinction doesn't apply to changing perceptions about what's a luxury and what's a necessity. These shifts have occurred across-the-board, among adults in all income groups and economic circumstances -- perhaps suggesting that consumer reaction to the recession is being driven by specific personal economic hardships as well as by a more pervasive new creed of thrift that has taken hold both among those who've been personally affected and those who haven't.

The survey does find that the recession has touched the lives of most Americans in one way or another. About one-in-four respondents say they or a member of their household has lost a job in the past year. Nearly half say they or another household member has lost more than 20% in a retirement account or other investments. About one-in-five say they or another member of their household has had problems making mortgage or rent payments. Taken together, about two-in-three American families have faced at least one of these problems in the past year -- with young adults, women and the less affluent more likely than others in the population to have been affected.

The Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends survey on the effects of the recession was conducted by landline and cell phone April 2-8, 2009, among a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults ages 18 or older.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lexus of Glendale CA "E" Waste Event

Sunday April 26 2009, 9:00 - 4:00 at Lexus of Glendale
1221 South Brand Boulevard; Glendale, CA 91204

Free gift from Lexus of Glendale when you bring in an item to be recycled.
For more information call 1-877-866-0128

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keep Bandaged Fingers Dry

04/21/09 Keep Bandaged Fingers Dry Balloons can be used to protect bandaged fingers dry when showering, washing dishes, etcSimply roll a balloon over a bandaged finger if you want to avoid contact with water and keep the finger dry. You can even try this while swimming.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Greenest Town in America

The Greenest Town in America
by Lamar Graham
published: 04/19/2009

An eco-friendly home in Greensburg, Kansas. Photo by Jim Reed.

Darin Headrick, superintendent of schools in Greensburg, Kan., wasn’t particularly alarmed to hear a tornado siren wail on the evening of May 4, 2007. Such warnings are rites of spring in south-central Kansas, and when Mother Nature gets her dander up, “there’s nothing much you can do but get home, put the vehicles away, and get down in the basement,” Headrick says. So he and his wife went next door and joined their neighbors, a couple with two teenage daughters, in their below-ground rec room.

Violent wind, rain, and hail lashed the town. The power went out. Suddenly, Headrick says, “ there was a huge pressure change in the atmosphere.” They heard glass begin to shatter above them, then a sound like a giant wrecking ball.

Miraculously, the planks over their heads held fast. The rest of the house simply vanished. So did every other dwelling in the vicinity. For a desperate hour, the two families searched for neighbors. Eventually, they set out on foot for the dark center of town.

Every house and building they passed had been flattened. “We met people coming from the other direction,” Headrick recalls. “They said, ‘It’s not any better back there.’ That’s when we knew.” Greensburg, population 1574, had been wiped off the map.

Devastated but not destroyed: Greensburg after the twister that killed 11 on May 4, 2007

The tornado that obliterated Greensburg was one of the strongest ever recorded anywhere, with winds of 205 mph and a footprint 1.7 miles wide. The town, only about 1.5 square miles, never stood a chance. Eleven people died. Fewer than a dozen homes were left standing.

The devastation was so complete that folks in Greensburg wondered whether to rebuild at all. Even before the twister, their town had been on the wane, its population graying, its young people moving away. “Rural America is kind of dying,” Headrick observes.

Yet in the days immediately following the disaster, hundreds of Greensburg residents gathered under a circus tent pitched by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the outskirts of town. There they discovered in themselves an urgent desire for resurrection.

“The only thing we had left was our relationships with one another,” explains Mayor Bob Dixson, a retired postmaster. “So we did everything together. We worshipped together. We ate together.” Shared adversity, he says, drew folks closer.

Quickly, consensus emerged. Some 800 people pledged to return. So did more than 60 businesses. Townspeople also agreed that they couldn’t simply rebuild as before. If there was any silver lining in the funnel cloud, they concluded, it was that Greensburg now had the chance to imagine an entirely new future. Here was an opportunity to attract outsiders, create new jobs, and sustain generations to come.

So together they hatched a plan. They would rebuild Greensburg as the Greenest City in America—the most energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive municipality in the U.S., an oasis on the Great Plains for eco-friendly industries, a sustainable-development laboratory to inspire the nation.

“If we hadn’t consciously decided to rebuild green, we’d have simply rebuilt a dying town,” says Scott Reinecke, who lost his auto-body shop to the twister. “The green push put us in the spotlight.”

he prairies of Kansas might seem an unlikely epicenter for America’s green revolution. Folks in Greensburg are more likely to wear cowboy boots than Birkenstocks and—before the tornado, at least — to drive pickup trucks than compact hybrids. Yet conservation and thriftiness are entwined in the DNA they inherited from their pioneer ancestors.

“These are commonsense people,” says Daniel Wallach, executive director of Greensburg GreenTown, the nonprofit promoting the eco-initiative. “They conserve. They hate waste. If they’re not farmers, they’re close to farmers. The country desperately needs this demographic involved in environmental problem-solving and energy self-sufficiency.”

Greensburg has shown extraordinary commitment to its cause. After the twister, most residents moved into a “FEMA-ville” of about 400 mobile homes on the edge of town. They were anxious to return to real houses. Some couldn’t wait and used government assistance to rebuild quickly the old-fashioned way. But City Administrator Steve Hewitt estimates that 70% of citizens signed onto the green initiative.

Homeowners and businesses were encouraged to do the best they could—at the least installing energy-efficient windows and appliances, better insulation, fuel-efficient heating, and low-flow toilets. Ideally, they would aspire to the same goal as the local government: the highest standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program—L EED Platinum certification, the Holy Grail of green building.

Slowly, Greensburg began to rise from the rubble.

There have been plenty of lessons. Early on, available builders simply had no experience with green construction methods. Until they attained it, prices exceeded the extra 8% to 9% the USGBC says it ought to cost to improve a building’s energy efficiency by 60%.

Today, hundreds of new, environmentally friendly houses—most with reinforced “safe rooms” in their basements—squat on dirt lots all over town. Greensburg GreenTown is building a dozen model “ eco-homes” to showcase cutting-edge sustainable design. FEMA-ville has dwindled to a few dozen trailers. The town already has one LEED Platinum building—one of only 125 in the world—a small arts center. Two other structures nearing completion aspire to the same rarefied status—as do the new city hall, the new school, and the new county hospital, all under construction.

On one level, Greensburg already has achieved its goal. “On a per capita basis,” says Michelle Moore of the USGBC, the town represents “the greatest commitment to green building anywhere in the U.S. There are other places—bigger cities—that are doing extraordinary things with their infrastructure, but pound for pound, Greensburg is the greenest city in America.”

In February, residents cheered the return of Greensburg’s only supermarket, the reopening of a John Deere dealership, and the launch of a $3 million “business incubator,” a rent-subsidized office complex for start-up businesses. The last was built with federal and state emergency money, corporate contributions, and $400,000 from the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Despite such milestones, “we’re not out of the doghouse,” says Steve Hewitt. Greensburg’s experiment in sustainability will not be a success, he says, unless the town can, in fact, sustain itself. Greensburg will attract so-called green-collar manufacturing only when the town is capable of supporting new workers and their families. “We need a school and a hospital,” Hewitt says. “Who cares if you have a green city hall if you don’t have schools or health care?”

The school is on its way. Since August 2007, the 210 students (K-12) of Unified School District 422 have learned their lessons in trailers. Darin Headrick’s mission now is to get them back in a real school—one with geothermal heating, a wind turbine for electricity, and hydrogen fuel cells for backup power. The new school is slated to open in August 2010 and to cost $49.4 million, about $29 million of which will come from federal funds and the balance from local taxpayers.

“We’re building a very cost-effective, efficient building,” Headrick says. “It’s not fancy at all, but it’ll have lots of sustainable elements.”

On Feb. 24, President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress. In praising “ the dreams and aspirations of ordinary Americans who are anything but ordinary,” he said: “I think about Greensburg, Kansas, a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado but is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community, how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay.” TV cameras dutifully panned from the President to one of his invited guests, Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixson.

“Never in my lifetime have I been prouder to say I’m a Kansan,” Dixson says. “Never in my life have I been prouder to be an American. We are in the middle of everywhere here in Greensburg. We’re blessed with an opportunity here—to be pioneers again.”

Get Help To Go Green
As part of its economic-stimulus program, the federal government has allocated more than $5 billion to help Americans make their homes more energy-efficient.
► If you have an annual household income of less than $44,100 (for a family of four), you may qualify for up to $6500 in improvements through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program.
► The DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program is awarding an additional $3.2 billion to state, county, and city governments to parcel out for local projects that improve the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings.

Online Resources
► Greensburg GreenTown: Nonprofit organization promoting Greensburg’s eco-friendly rebuilding initiative. Regularly updated blog tracks progress of projects all over the city.
► City of Greensburg: Greensburg’s official website. Links to various municipal agencies, as well as official information on the city’s rebuilding plan.
► U.S. Green Building Council: Nation’s leading organization for the development of green construction standards and the certification of green building products and techniques.
► Planet Green:Episode guides for Planet Green’s “Greensburg” series, background information of Greensburg citizens featured on the show, and online-only “webisodes” made by Greensburg teens.

Parade 4/19/09

Sunday, April 19, 2009

AltUse T-Shirt

AltUse Swag, T-Shirt #1

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is this an AltUse?

I dont know, but watching the success of Ms. Susan Boyle made me think of

Her talent is not an AltUse, but for sure she is gifted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

10 tips to raise an eco-kid

It’s never too early to steer kids toward healthy, eco-conscious choices

By Marisa Belger contributor
updated 2:33 p.m. PT, Tues., April 14, 2009

Marisa Belger

• E-mail
As my offspring stumbles and waddles his way from infancy to full-blown, upwardly mobile toddlerhood, I’m discovering that it’s never too early to steer him toward healthy, eco-conscious choices. Though I don’t doubt that W. is smart and capable, it’s clear that he’s not going to magically morph into a responsible citizen without some coaching and encouragement.
So instead of waiting until his vocabulary includes more than “Buh-bye” and “Uh-oh” or until he stops eating sand or massaging his morning yogurt into his hair, I’ve decided to set the stage for eco-friendly living today. Using common sense and taking the advice of other Earth-minded mamas — like my green parenting mentor, Lynda Fassa, author of “Green Kids, Sage Families” — I’ve come up with 10 tips to set you on the path to raising a healthy, environmentally aware kid who will hopefully turn into an environmentally aware adult.
Be the kind of person you want your child to be.
The quickest way to teach your kid to recycle or to conserve energy is to do those things yourself.

Introduce your child to the source of the food she eats.
Tending a garden or visiting a farmers market can help your little one understand that vegetables don’t grow on supermarket shelves. From here you can begin to emphasize the importance of choosing organic foods.

Choose better treats.
Another step in raising a healthy, eco-aware eater is to keep processed junk foods out of the house. To be clear, a lack of junk food doesn’t mean a lack of treats. I am decidedly pro-treat. But there are better ways to satisfy a craving than consuming a bag of nuclear-orange cheese puffs and washing it down with a liter of root beer — which is how I spent pretty much every Friday of my 14th year on earth. There are homemade cookies and brownies made with organic ingredients. Ice cream made with organic milk and natural flavorings. Snack foods that are baked and free from hydrogenated oils. When you go organic you’re choosing foods that are easier on the environment — no pesticides or herbicides, no hormones — and easier on our bodies.

Don’t take your toilet paper for granted.
As soon as your munchkin has conquered the potty (if not sooner), begin to talk about where all that toilet tissue — not to mention napkins and paper towels — comes from: trees. Paper comes from trees. As your kid grows, you can continue the conversation by explaining that every tree that is cut down contributes to carbon emissions, which contribute to global warming, which is simply not good at all. But choosing paper products made from recycled paper — available in most grocery stores today — helps to save trees. In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council has found that if every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of virgin-fiber toilet paper with the recycled variety, more than 400,000 trees would be saved. I can’t wait to tell my son that he’s actually saving trees by using recycled T.P.

BYOB: Bring your own bag.
Before setting out on a grocery expedition, I always grab a couple of canvas bags so I can avoid adding more plastic to the world. And on the inevitable days when I forget to BMOB, I make a serious effort to swing back home before hitting the store. By doing so since his birth, I hope I am on the way to setting a clear eco-aware example for W.

Clean green.
He hasn’t even hit the two-year mark and I’m already fantasizing about ways that W. can help around the house. When he is finally ready to pitch in, he’ll find that Mom and Pops only use nontoxic cleaning products. If he asks why (and even if he doesn’t), I’ll break it down like this: Using cleaning supplies — laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, toilet bowl cleaner and the like — made from natural ingredients ensures that no harmful chemicals end up on our bodies or down the drain and into the earth and our water supply.

Reuse regularly.
Each of the 3 R's — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — plays an essential role in living a greener life, but acquiring a child, and the piles and piles of stuff that has accompanied said child, has made me especially fond of reusing. When it comes to kids — especially babies — most gear can be reused. Everything from clothes, toys and books to furniture, bath gear and even the giant hunks of plastic that form Exersaucers and swing sets can have a second life. Resist the urge to buy something new or to dump something you own by using sources like, and to find gently used items and to pass on your goods to those in need.

Throw a smart party.
Entertaining is often where eco-values get compromised. What’s a handful of plastic cups, plates and utensils for a good time? What’s a bunch of plastic balloons? But before you succumb to the single-use temptation, think about the many birthday parties you’ll be hosting (W. turns 2 next year and, give or take a couple of years, will most likely insist on some sort of celebration until he’s about 13 and too cool to party with his parents, which brings us to approximately 12 years of parties — and that’s for just one child) and then think about all that cake-coated plastic and all those popped balloons sitting in a landfill for decades.

A better option is to use reusable dishes and skip the balloons for multiuse alternatives like paper Chinese lanterns or biodegradable streamers (check out for more ideas). And if you use canned or bottled beverages, make sure you provide clearly marked recycling bins. Be sure to involve your child in the planning process so she begins to understand how a party comes to be and what happens when it’s over.
Play naturally.
Though the occasional plastic toy has made its way into our lives, I’ve made a concerted — though often mocked — effort to limit W.’s toys to those that are made from natural materials — wood, fabric and nontoxic paint. A good handful of my family members think I’m crazy to shun the Technicolor world of plastic playthings, but I’ve found that these toys are not only free from potential toxins like PVCs and phthalates, but they also last longer and allow more room for imaginative play. When a toy isn’t singing songs, flashing lights and wiggling across the floor, it seems that a child actually has to use his imagination when playing with it. Go figure.

Limit screen time.
Backing away from — and turning off — the TV and computer is positive for the environment (less energy used!) and positive for your child’s development (active play encourages mental, physical and social skills!). Start early by avoiding screens altogether and as the pull toward those flashy, moving images becomes greater, set clear limits on how much time your child can spend watching TV or using the computer. Overwhelmed? Intimidated? Check out Fassa’s “Five Rules for TV Success” in “Green Kids, Sage Families.”

Marisa Belger is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience covering health and wellness. She was a founding editor of, a multiplatform media company specializing in health, wellness and sustainable living. Marisa also collaborated with Josh Dorfman on “The Lazy Environmentalist” (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang), a comprehensive guide to easy, stylish green living.
Please note: Neither Marisa Belger nor has been compensated by the manufacturers or their representatives for her comments or selection of products reviewed in this column.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Earth Day Aptil 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009 April 22

See their web at:

Bird Poop Detector - An AltUse?

An innovative bird poop preventer

Cell Phone AltUse

Cell phone recycling: delete, then dispose

Renewed efforts underway to get users to safely get rid of mobiles
By Suzanne Choney
updated 5:45 a.m. PT, Mon., April 13, 2009

Pushed aside for the latest models, many of our old cell phones pile up in drawers, closets, garages and other out-of-the-way places where it’s easy to stash and forget them. Worse, some of them wind up in landfills, where their toxic elements are left to fester and contaminate the environment.

Renewed efforts by government and private industry are underway to get cell phone users to recycle their phones, with only about 10 percent of 140 million phones recycled in 2007, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The vast remainder was either “stored away … or put in the trash,” said Latisha Petteway, an EPA spokeswoman. “Stored away” would be preferable to “trash,” but Petteway said the EPA does not have a more extensive breakdown to know how many get tossed in the weekly trash pickup, doomed for the dump.

With Earth Day April 22, the agency, wireless carriers and CTIA — the wireless trade industry association — are working together to up the recycling ante. Sprint, for example, has set a goal of collecting 250,000 phones this month, a 25 percent increase over last April, the company says.

Ultimately, Sprint wants to “collect nine phones for reuse and recycling for every 10 phones it sells by 2017, a collection rate of 90 percent,” the company said in a recent news release.
It’s not only old phones or personal digital assistants that need proper disposal; it’s also their batteries, headsets, cases, cables and chargers.

The GSM Association, which represents phone makers and carriers using GSM technology, says that 80 percent of a phone's material can be recycled.

Also, many association members — including AT&T and T-Mobile — recently vowed to standardize chargers by 2012 for most cell phones. Thrown-away chargers generate more than 51,000 tons of waste a year, according to the association.

Gold, platinum and silver and other metals make up about 16 percent of the weight of a “typical” cell phone, the association says, and are extracted if phones can’t be reused or refurbished. Plastic in the phones can be recycled as well.

Lead and cadmium in used cell phones are treated separately for disposal, and are among the elements in phones that can be most toxic to the environment.

Back to square oneBefore choosing how or where to dispose of your old phone, make sure you clear the information from it. It will linger, even if the phone doesn’t.

Michigan-based ReCellular, which collected 5.5 million phones in 2008 for reuse and recycling, said it “deleted an average of 5 megabytes of information per handset — removing a total of 10 terabytes of personal contacts, e-mail, photos and financial information from donated phones.”

Doing a “hard reset” on the phone — essentially putting it back to how it was when you first took it out of the box — is a first step. But it may not be the only one you need to take, depending on your model.

Check by going to the manufacturer’s Web site, or using the free Cell Phone Data Eraser program, available through ReCellular’s site.

Many recyclers use what is known as “flashing software” to rid phones of previous information, particularly if they’re going to be sent to a country outside the United States, said Michele Triana of GRC Wireless Recycling, based in Florida.

“When a phone is going to be exported, that phone needs to be reprogrammed with the particular (phone) code for that country,” she said. “Flashing software is what does this. Through the flashing process, all data in a phone is deleted.”

Don’t forget to remove your SIM (“Subscriber Identity Module”) card any time you change phones. If you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, chances are you have such a card. (Phones from Verizon Wireless and Sprint do not use SIM cards).

The little memory chips hold scads of personal information, from your music files to names and addresses to text messages.

Wireless carrier programs Each of the four major carriers in the United States has its own reuse/recycle effort, and they don’t care where a donated phone comes from, or whether it’s one of their own. Drop-off bins are located in many carriers’ stores.

AT&T, for example, provides free shipping labels for the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, which recycles phones and uses the proceeds to buy phone cards for troops stationed overseas.
Sprint offers a
buy-back program for its customers and offers up to a $50 credit. It also takes phones from those who aren’t Sprint customers. Net proceeds from the recycled phones go to the company’s “Project Connect,” which funds and promotes “free Internet safety resources for kids, parents and educators.”

T-Mobile’s “Huddle Up” program uses funds from recycled phones and gives grants to organizations that work with children “primarily from single-parent families in high-need, urban communities to positive people, places, and programs,” according to the company.

Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine recycled phone program began in 2001 and is one of the better-known recycling programs. The company takes usable cells and gives them to domestic violence awareness and prevention organizations around the country.

Those phones that can’t be used are sold for parts. In 2008, the HopeLine program collected nearly 1.13 million phones, said Terri Stanton of Verizon Wireless.

A relatively small number of them — nearly 21,000 — were in active service at the end of the year. But Verizon Wireless also gave more than $1.5 million in cash grants to about 350 domestic awareness/prevention groups from phones that were recycled or refurbished, she said.

Since the HopeLine recycling program began in 2001, she said, more than 5.6 million cell phones have been collected and more than 1 million cell phones have been “properly disposed of … in an environmentally sound way.”

© 2009 Reprints
MSN Privacy . Legal© 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

AltUse Subscriptions

AltUse now provides a subscription service!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Earn Cash, Have Fun, Be Thrifty Chic (Sherman Oaks)

Do you use hair spray to remove ink stains? Vodka to clean your glasses? Coffee grounds to fertilize your garden? Join our team at by sharing your favorite ALTERNATIVE USES for everyday living and have a lot of fun!

Submit five original Alternative Uses and provide feedback on the our website, and you'll immediately receive $20.00 cash. The individual who submits the most approved AltUses will receive an additional $25.00 cash!

Saturday April 11, 10 AM - 2 PM, Studio City
Tuesday, April 14, 10 AM - 2 PM, Sherman Oaks

1.) Bring your laptop, if you have one (we will have a few spare computers, if necessary)
2.) Bring at least five alternative uses for every day products (must be approved by Team) and input them at
3.) Complete a brief questionnaire about your experience at Visit to confirm the AltUse you are proposing is unique and to view our Terms and Conditions statement.

About Welcome to the world’s largest collection of alternative uses for everything. You can search for an AltUse, post your own, vote for your favorites, and share with your friends.

Be thrifty chic. Join our community and you’ll save money by finding eco-friendly solutions to everyday living. Thank you, AltUse see

Location: Sherman Oaks
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Monday, April 6, 2009

TheEnd of Excess - Why this Crisis is Good for America

Something to think about (Time Magazine April 6, 2009)

  1. From 1980 to 2007, the median price of a new American home quadrupled
  2. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed from 803 in the summer of 1982 to 14,165 in the fall of 2007.
  3. From the beginning of the '80s through 2007, the share of disposable income that each household spent servicing its mortgage and consumer debt increased 35%.
  4. In 1982, the average household saved 11% of its disposable income. By 2007 that number was less than 1%.
  5. Until the late '80s, only Nevada and New Jersey had casinos, but now 12 states do, and 48 have some form of legalized betting.
  6. From the beginning to the end of the long boom, the size of the average new house increased by about half.
  7. The average American gained about a pound a year, so that an adult of a given age is now at least 20 lb. heavier than someone the same age back then.
  8. In the late '70s, 15% of Americans were obese; now a third are.
Things are different now, we can't just save pennies. We need to manage these times and think of new ways of doing things.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Alternative Use for Passover Matzah

YouTube Passover Video

I love this AltUse Video for Passover.