Author Archive | Kristina

Give Jeans a Chance

Have some jeans in your closet that you don’t wear? You know the ones. You think you’ll fit into them again, or maybe the style will come back…. Clean out your closet and do something good. Volcum and the National Coalition for the Homeless are teaming up again in a program called “Give Jeans a Chance”. Jeans are collected at local Volcum retailers and given to the homeless via local homeless shelters. Last year, the program donated over 5,000 pairs of jeans to 50 homeless shelters nationwide. This year, the athletic apparel brand is back with 200 more participating stores. Their hope is to collect over 10,000 pairs. The program started August 1 and runs through the end of September.

Bring your old jeans in wearable condition to the Westford Farmers Market through August 10. If you miss us there, you can bring them to Eastern Boarder at 254 DWH in Nashua. For more information on the program, click here.


DIY Toothpaste Tube Anything holder

Looking for fun craft with do with the kids…. Look no further! You are already saving toothpaste tubes for the Upcycle It! program, well here is a cute project to make with them. Do your own Upcycling! These could hold pencils, markers, toothbrushes, you name it….. and I’m sure your kids will come up with even more ideas.

5 empty toothpaste tubes
clear tape
hole punch
ribbon or plastic lanyard
binder clips

1. Collect five Colgate® toothpaste tubes. Clean them by cutting off the bottom and slipping your scissors into the side seam. Flatten them out and clean with soap and water.

2. Cut four tubes to 3 ½” x 4 ½” and one tube into a 3 ½” x 3 ½” square. Fold down the top ½” of the four rectangular tubes and tape.

3. Take one of the four rectangles and punch holes every ½” along the two tall sides and along the short bottom side that is not folded. Use this punched piece as a template and punch holes in the exact same spots on the other three rectangular pieces.

4. To punch the small square piece, line up the short punched side of the rectangle piece with any side of the short piece. Repeat punching holes for the other three sides of the square using the short side of the rectangular piece as a template.

5. Then punch two holes near the center of the square. This will be the bottom of the container and the holes will be for drainage.

6. Match up two large pieces and lace up one side tying it off at the top and bottom. Open it up. On one of the non-laced ends, attach to the next rectangular piece in the same way with the printed sides facing out. Repeat for each additional rectangular piece. When you’ve laced all four pieces, connect the two end pieces together and lace creating a cube with your pieces.

7. Match up the square piece with the bottom of the container. Use binder clips to hold it in place. Lace around the bottom of the container and tie it off. You’re ready to put your upcycled toothbrush holder into action.

If you still have more toothpaste tubes, drop them off at your nearest Upcycle It! location.


I want more trash!

OK I admit it. I LOVE trash! I love seeing that Upcycle It! barrel filled to the brim at the Farmers Market. It certainly shows Westford’s support and commitment to sustainability.Many of us are parents. Seems like the “green bug” bites a little harder when you look at those tiny faces. TerraCycle has a few new Brigades ideal for parents. Which would you like to see us join?

1) The AVEENO Beauty Brigade – ANY brand and ANY type of personal care beauty tubes. Examples include lotion, sun tan lotion, face wash tubes, body wash tubes. A tube is a container that is crimped at one end and has an opening at the other.

2) The SCOTT Brigade – the outer plastic from ANY brand of paper towel, napkin, toilet paper or similar paper products – no paper wrappings

3) The HUGGIES Brigade – the outer plastic on ANY brand of diaper/personal product packaging; excluding boxes and bins (from baby wipes). Examples would be the overall outer plastic package wrapping on diapers, depends, pull ups, pads, etc. Does not include the clear plastic wrapping inside a box of diapers.

4) The Home Storage Brigade – This brigade includes ANY size storage bags (freezer, storage, regular, sandwich) and containers. We would need to remove any crumbs and pieces of food, but stuck on ingredients (i.e. peanut butter) are acceptable.

5) The Neosporin Tube Brigade – Any size Neosporin brand antibiotic and ointment tubes

6) The Sprout Brigade – Sprout baby food pouches; excluding glass baby jars.

As you know, through these brigades we are raising 2 cents for each item for the Westford Public Schools. As of today, we have raised $188.50, all in 3 months! And we are not alone. To date, over 1.8 million units of waste have been diverted from the waste stream. Plus Terracycle and it’s sponsors paid over $800,000 to over 50,000 schools or non-profits. If you want to see what else Terracycle collects click here.

To get you started, here are links to coupons for some of these new brigades:

Huggies Little Swimmers:
Scott Paper Towels
Aveeno Baby Products
Colgate Toothpaste: 

Which ones should we add? Leave a comment with your vote!


Westford Recycling Do’s and Don’ts

Yes the order is REDUCE, Reuse, Recycle, but it’s hard to jump right in and start reducing (i.e. changing) the products you love and use everyday. So for now, start with an easy one – Recycle all you possibly can, right now, using methods you have available at your fingertips – or rather your curb.

Westford recycles quite a bit curbside. For tons of information, check out the Westford Recycling Commission website at I have highlighted the essentials here and tried to clear up any confusions people might have.

1) EVERYTHING can be mixed in the same recycling container. No need to separate paper from plastics, glass, cardboard….

2) Make sure you have a large recycle bin. It will make it much easier and you will recycle more. If you don’t currently have one of those large black and yellow rolling toters:

  1. Convert one of your existing trash barrels to a recycle bin. You can get a FREE recycle sticker at the Town Clerk’s office at the Millenium Bldg.
  2. Buy one for $40 through the Recycling Commission. You will need to prepay. Send a check payable to “Westford Recycling Commission” to the Westford Recycling Commission at 55 Main Street, Westford 01886
  3. Be put on a waiting list for a free one. Currently the waiting list is about 800 people long. To be put on the waiting list: email with “Westford Toter Request” in the subject line. Please provide your name, address, and phone number in the body of the e-mail.

3) Make recycling easy. Place extra recycle bins in various places around your house, next to or in place of a trash can. I use a cardboard box!

Types of materials Accepted at Curbside Recycling


ALL plastics labelled #1-7. No styrofoam of any kind even if it has a #6 label
Caps and Lids can be included.

plastic grocery bags
snack bags – i.e. potato chip or pretzel bags
plastic produce, bread, newspaper bags, and thin flimsy type bags


Recycle all paper – colored, school, fax, newspaper, magazines
milk and juice cartons
cereal boxes
telephone books


Make sure all cardboard is cut into 3ft x 3ft sections
Recycle your pizza boxes – as long as there isn’t too much grease or any pizza left – if in doubt, rip off the top to recycle and throw the bottom in the trash.
toilet paper or paper towel tubes

Wall paper
foil wrapping paper


all clean bottles and jars, clear or colored, deposit or non-deposit
can leave labels on

Broken glass
window glass
light bulbs


all clean cans and their lids.
aluminum foil, plates and pie pans

Oil based paint cans
auto parts
scrap metal
propane cylinders

Straight from the Westford CAT show “ABC’s of Recycling“:

The Recycler we use has very sophisticated machinery used to separate the recycling, so they will catch anything not recyclable.


Pieces of Trash Saved: 5832, Dollars Raised: $116.64, Life Lesson Made Easy: Priceless

We’ve all heard the phrase “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”, right? Well, how about “Upcycle”? A company in Trenton, NJ called Terracycle is taking trash to new heights – upcycling!

Terracycle collects 27 different ‘brigade’ items including chip bags, energy bar wrappers, candy wrappers, coffee bags, dried out pens, and yogurt containers and upcycles them into eco-friendly products. The awesome thing is that all of the items they collect are non-recyclable – there are no curbside recycling programs for them – or hard to recycle – only certain municipalities provide the capability to recycle things like yogurt containers which are typically made from #5 plastic. Now you are thinking, “Wow, that’s cool. But how do they get the stuff. Are they going through landfills?” Luckily for them, no. Any group or individual can sign up to collect and send items to TerraCycle. The shipping is free and 2 cents per item is donated to the school or charity of your choice. Terracycle then takes the ‘trash’ and makes backpacks, tote bags, and flower pots just to name a few of their 166 products.

Schools and non-profits across the US, Canada and the UK are signed up. As of this writing, Terracycle has over 10 million people collecting trash and has given over $1 million to their non-profits.
And the numbers keep growing. Since I joined TerraCycle in March of this year, I have seen their facebook fan page grow from a little over 2000 fans in March to close to 9000. The numbers increase daily! They have opened 2 new brigades in that timeframe as well – Starbucks Coffee Bag and the Home Storage Brigade (in conjunction with Ziploc).

I started my collection brigade on March 20, 2010. I started just as one person. I sent out an email to friends and family asking if they wanted to help me. I started getting such positive feedback so I kept going. I spoke to my daughters’ girl scout troops. The girls loved the idea and soon, several were sending bags of trash into school for my children to bring home to me. Moms would hand me bags before our meetings. I wanted to expand my collections and make it easier for people to get the items to me, rather than tracking me down around town. We are fortunate to have a farmers market during the summer and fall. I emailed the founder asking if I could have a collection bin there. Well, she loved the idea! Turns out that this group had recently expanded their mission calling themselves Sustainable Westford. Their mission is to bring “green” programs to the community. Now, I am running our Upcycle It! program through them and have gotten so much support and press. People are talking about it all over town. It’s so exciting!

If your school or charity is looking for a fundraising idea or you just want to do more green, join Terracycle. It’s easy. I love the feeling I get out of NOT putting so many things into the trash. I also love that my children are learning these lessons young. They don’t see trash anymore. Separating where things go when we are done with them is just part of what they do. They don’t think about it. That’s where the real benefit is!


The Greening of Westford 411

On Earth Day 2006, I was watching Oprah. It started me thinking, “I want to be more green.” Being a mom of three young children, you want the world to be a better place for them. I had this feeling it wouldn’t be. So I decided to do whatever I could. Being an engineer, I, of course, researched and made a list of what I could do to be more green. Very orderly and methodical 😉 I picked a few things and started. The usual CFLs and using reusable grocery bags. It took me almost a year to remember consistently to bring the bags into the grocery store.

As each new green item was mastered, I would pick another off the list to tackle. I did this slowly and only when I thought I could handle another. Eventually, I started to look for new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle – automatically. I didn’t need to think about it, it became part of my day and my life. The really cool thing, was that it became commonplace for my children too. The other cool thing I noticed was that being green actually saved me time, money, and/or aggrevation. Who doesn’t want that?!

As I was researching what to add to my “green” list, I noticed that some things didn’t seem to apply to this area. The fact that Boulder, Colorado has a place to take things that are hard to recycle is great, but it doesn’t help me. I would love to have solar panels. Do they really make sense in Massachusetts? So I started trying to find local answers to the reduce, reuse, recycle questions.
So this is the aim of The Greening of Westford – to give people local options for going green, share information and inspire.



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