With cold weather here, you may have a small cottage, weekend home or even a spare bathroom that rarely gets used during the winter months and may not be adequately heated. If you want to prevent pipes and toilets from freezing and bursting, do this to winterize them: Buy a bottle of nontoxic propylene glycol antifreeze solution (the kind sold for RVs) -- not the regular antifreeze used in cars (which is toxic). Pour a small amount of the antifreeze down the drains and toilet. It will protect your plumbing and fixtures all winter long. Come spring, just flush and turn the water back on.
In many communities, waxy containers that hold milk and juice are now recyclable. The waxy material is called aseptic, and the containers are often made with a high percentage of paper and plastic with a scant amount of aluminum. New recycling innovations have made these recyclable and desirable to recyclers. But what about hot paper cups used to hold coffee or tea? These should not be placed in the recycling bin. Unlike aseptic cartons, these are different: The waxy coating inside does not break down when pulped and should never be put in the recycling bin at home. Good news: Retailers like Starbucks are beginning to collect them and have placed special recycling bins in stores to collect and recycle those cups.
Ever wonder why you can't put plastic shopping bags in your curbside recycling bin? Yes, they are recyclable in bins you often find outside your supermarket. But the reality is it's not the recyclability of the bags that's the problem: The bags can literally shut down a recycling plant. Since the bags are so light and flexible, they can wrap around sorting equipment and stop it. And since bags are so thin, they often get shredded and accidentally added to bales of recyclable paper, which contaminates the entire load. So don't take the risk and toss plastic bags into your recycling bin. When you recycle them in bins at the store, they are specially handled, bundled and properly recycled in a facility where they won't become a nuisance.