Sunday, March 15

Reduce: Making Things Last

One of the best ways to reduce our footprint on this earth is to simply use fewer resources. This means taking less from the earth, and making the things we do take sustain us longer.

I try to do this in a lot of ways, but one of the changes of mindset that I've tried to adopt over the last year or so is figuring out ways to "make things last." Today, I can use my jeans as a concrete example to illustrate this concept.

I have two pairs of jeans, and I bought them both in Fall of '07. They are both the same, which has saved me a lot of time fanning the flames of my vanity; I don't waste time trying to figure out which jeans go best with which shirt: if I'm wearing jeans, I'm wearing jeans. I bought the simplest jeans I could find and didn't seek anything "trendy". This will make them last longer because they won't go out of style. I also bought them for comfort and fit, and I seek to maintain this pants size, which will also make them last longer. Lastly, I always line dry them in order to keep them from shrinking.

Last week, I wore one of the pairs of jeans when I was painting the set of the musical at school. I tried to be very careful, but I still managed to get paint on them. I got a splatter of white around an ankle, a dash of "Pepto pink" on one knee, and a huge stripe of black along one calf. I knew that I couldn't ditch this pair of jeans just because I had messed them up in my clumsiness, so I sought a way to remove paint from clothing.

A simple "remove paint from clothing" search on Google gave me the answer: alcohol and elbow grease. I poured some vodka on the paint splatters (hand sanitizer was another option available, but it didn't work for me) and scrubbed for five or ten minutes until the paint started to disappear or lighten. The pink and white came out, and the black faded until it is no longer noticeable. I rinsed the jeans and put them in the wash.

Today, I had to inspect the two pairs of jeans on the line very closely until I could say with confidence which pair had originally been stained. Hooray! Not only did I save resources, I saved about $40!

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