Let's make this the last straw

DEAR READERS:The plastic straw: We grab one every day without a thought, but let’s rethink this. Experts say that Americans use and dispose of upward of half a billion plastic drinking straws every day.

Plastic straws can’t ordinarily be recycled (they’re too lightweight), and their final resting place can be, sadly, in the oceans, often consumed by marine life, especially birds and turtles.

How can we curb the use of plastic straws? National quick-serve restaurants are developing lids that have a built-in spout, and many amusement parks don’t offer straws or lids on drinks. Paper straws that can decompose are in development, or how about a reusable straw?

For those of us who can go without the straw, let’s make this the last straw. — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:It irks me when companies offer a "no questions asked" return policy. If I am returning something, I want the company to ask: "Why aren’t you satisfied?" "What can we do to make it right?" "What didn’t you like about this product or service?"


The feedback would help the company, and it would help me to feel better to know they are listening, and I may possibly remain their customer. — Shelley W. in San Antonio

DEAR HELOISE:I just read your article about houseplants in offices. Another idea I use related to houseplants is one that saves water.

I keep a watering pot by my kitchen sink and in the shower, and fill it as the water is getting hot, rather than letting it go down the drain. — Joan S., Manhattan, Kan.

DEAR HELOISE:Thanks for being such a household helper.

I use my hot-glue gun on those slippery shampoo bottles. Now we can hold each bottle due to the glued-on ridges around the bottle, and the glue does not come off when wet.

I made the handles of my bath brushes easy to hold and manage the same way. — A Happily Creative Octogenarian, via email

DEAR HELOISE:I love reading your hints and your readers’ hints each day. My daughter got married, and the newlyweds were overwhelmed with all the instruction pamphlets and warranty cards that came with their gifts.

I suggested that they use plastic sheet cover pockets that are three-hole-punched. All the directions are in one neat place. — Patti J., Moreno Valley, Calif.


DEAR HELOISE:When meeting people who have arthritis, extend an open hand with fingers facing them and thumb up. Let those with arthritis take hold of your hand. They can slip their hand around your thumb and close their hand without getting their fingers squeezed. It’s a good way to shake hands with anyone. — Lana Z., Waco, Texas

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