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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Balanced Living » Mar./Apr. ‘14

Give New Life to Your Old Jeans

Do you have some old blue jeans around the house that just can’t be worn anymore? Here is an idea for one way to repurpose them.

Blue Jean Coasters You don’t have to be a skilled seamstress to make these unusual yet wonderful coasters from the hems of jeans and the seams on the side of each pant leg. Grab a pair of scissors, some fabric glue, and your old jeans, and then get the simple-to-follow instructions at

Basically, you just cut out the hems and seams, then roll that into a spiral, gluing as you go. Let your new blue-jean coaster dry on a flat surface for a few hours before using.

Tax It! states that Washington DC’s 5 cent tax on plastic bags reduced the number of plastic bags from supermarkets and other establishments from the 2009 monthly average of 22.5 million to just 3 million in January 2010. While significantly reducing plastic waste, the tax simultaneously generated an additional $150,000 in revenue to help clean up the Anacostia River.

Want to Recycle Your Old Electronics?

Send your used iPod to Teach for America ( To recycle cell phones and handheld devices, check out EcoCell (

Wish you could put your wedding dress to good use, instead of storing it forever? Try

How Many Times Can You Recycle Paper?

Answer: 5–7 times (into new paper).

Here’s where things get a little complicated. Materials like paper do not have an infinite life, but the answer to how many times paper can get recycled into new paper depends on the kind of paper we’re talking about. For normal printer or copy paper, you can probably send it through the recycling process five to seven times, but after that the paper fibers will become too short. At this point they’ll need to be mixed with virgin paper or used for other purposes, according to the EPA.

Newspaper, on the other hand, is already of lower quality. It can be turned into new newspaper or egg cartons but not into things like stationary and magazines (the way white paper can), according to Recycle Arizona.

Paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle, and 87 percent of Americans have access to curbside pickup.

Great Ways to Use Less in 2014

If you think about all that you do in a day, from getting ready in the morning, to getting to work, to making dinner, it all adds up to waste and consumption. But we can do less, and it’s easier than you’d think. In 2014 have a smaller carbon footprint and make the year count.

• Use Less Coal. Simply turn your furnace down 1 or 3 degrees. More than 90 percent of U.S. coal, a non-renewable resource, is used to heat our homes, so grab a blanket and snuggle with a loved one for extra warmth.

• Use Less Energy is a common goal we all have, and while you might think “just this once it won’t hurt,” it still does. So be conscious of everything that you use or do that requires energy. For example, by just washing your clothes on cold you save almost 90 percent of the washing machine’s energy, That’s A LOT!

• Use Less Water because it won’t be around forever. Experts say that the water crisis we are in the middle of is only going to get worse. So do you part and shorten those showers. A one-minute-shorter shower equals 150 gallons of water per month!


Turns out, that simple little TV snack is loaded with antioxidants—more so than most fruits! Popcorn kernels are bursting with 4 times more polyphenols—potent cancer-fighting plant compounds—compared to the average amount found in fruits. Just be sure to pass on the movie theater kind and make your own. A typical movie theater popcorn contains 825 calories, 46 grams of fat, including heart-damaging trans fat, and nearly 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

Prep tip: Most microwave popcorn bags contain nonstick chemicals linked to infertility, thyroid problems, and ADHD. For a safer savory snack, make your own on the stovetop using grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil.

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