Friday, December 3, 2021

Author Interview



World of Writing - Author Interview

Today we have  author and business owner Trent A. Romer in for a World of Writing - Author Interview! His book Finding Sustainability details his journey to find sustainability in multiple places.  (Visit www.trentromer.com for pictures and details about the book.)  Trent has worked hard to shift his plastic bag manufacturing company Clear View Bag Co., Inc (www.clearviewbag.com) toward a more sustainable direction through a new vision of Healthy Planet, Healthy People, Healthy Company. We've featured a few of his sustainability articles and links on our blog, and of course we've discussed green living many times on this blog so do scroll through those archived posts :)




Trent, let's start by having you introduce yourself to our audience, and tell us something about Finding Sustainability.


A: My name is Trent Romer and I am the 3rd generation co-owner of a family owned and operated plastic bag manufacturing business. I am from a very large family ---- 30 first cousins and 13 aunts & uncles. In 2018, I found myself at a crossroads of preservation and survival spurred by the anti-plastic narrative surrounding our industry. 

My love of the outdoors and long term health of the planet pushed me in a preservation direction while the need to provide for the families our business employs pulled me to the survival path. I wanted to both preserve and survive. 

The crossroads forced me to begin my journey to 8 states, 3 national parks and 3 countries to find sustainability for our company and for me personally.  
 




Q: When did you get the inspiration to start writing this book? 


A: Throughout the journey, I wrote about the adventures and education I was experiencing at each destination. I had never thought of putting them together to create a book until the lead faculty at my Harvard University experience encouraged me to write.




 
She said: 

“Regardless of what may or may not be out there,

 it is important to tell your story.” 

She provided the spark and confidence to write. I’ll be forever grateful.   
 





Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

A: The places I had visited provided a foundation for the research. I also read countless books, articles, and reports, listened to podcasts and spoke with anyone who would talk to me. It always seems more research can be done as there are always new things to learn. In full, the research took about 2 years to complete and continued right up until I turned in the final manuscript for editing.  




Q: In creating your book, did you find yourself unprepared or surprised by anything?

A: Yes, in fact there were 3 pieces of information that continued to come up in the literature which kept me motivated to write and they served as the foundations of the book.  

First, 8,000,000 tons of plastic waste finds its way to our oceans every year.

Second, packaging is expected to double in the next 20 years.

Third, if the age of the earth was equated to one year in time, humans would show up with only 36 minutes left in the year.   

These three facts repeatedly inspired me about plastics end of life problems, our society reliance on plastics and our human impact on the earth in such a short period of time.  
  


Q: Do you, as an author, intend to write more books in this genre? Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

A: Great question. In writing Finding Sustainability, I had no intentions of writing another book. I’m not sure I see myself as an author. Maybe that will change. I am passionate about sustainability. I like to find valuable information about sustainability, try to apply it and then relay the information in a story-like format to the reader. I enjoy writing and would like to write another sustainability book. I have an idea which I think would fit a new angle to understanding sustainability. I hope to find the words that pull the story out of my head in the year to come.    

        

Q:  What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

A:I have been working at my company for 30 years --- the last 20 dominated by emails as a primary means of communication. I write over 50 emails a day. Emails that are written in a clear, concise, descriptive and respectful way have proven to help communicate with, retain more of and attract new clients. I think at least in part, my everyday practice in writing emails has helped me find a writing style --- I did not see that coming.    



Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

A: My first book was just released. I have had some feedback. One question I get a lot is “Who is in the Boat?” referring to the front cover.  People generally think it is me.  My hope is after reading the book they see themselves as the ones in the boat with their own sustainability journey to explore.   My website www.trentromer.com, twitter feed, IG, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are all means to interact. I look forward to any feedback to learn and to get better and hopefully be able to help others.   



Q:  How would you express your journey as an author?

A: An uphill climb fraught with mis-steps, dead-ends, re-writes and rejection. Writing is hard for me. However, the challenge of it all and the desire to share information and express myself trumps the struggles.
    




Q:  What do you love, other than writing?

A: I played basketball through my 4 years in college; it has always been a big part of my life. I love 1980’s music - I can’t seem to get my listening tastes away from my teenage years. 

My family means to world to me. My wife of 20 years and I have three sons (and a beloved dog) who are the center of our lives. We love to travel to the ocean and national parks for vacations.



Q: And last, What advice do you have for writers?

A: Wow. I am not sure I feel qualified to offer advice, but maybe I could offer something that might help someone. 

I am a big fan of thinking of writing as an exercise of selection. A tremendous amount of information is gathered combined with countless stories and ideas in your head. The best writers are able to throw out the information that distracts the reader, edit out ideas that cloud the larger narrative and reduce word “clutter”. The writer is the one who selects - it is up to you. 

I think of writing as being like a sculptor: start with a chunk of rock and keep chipping away what is not needed. What is left, is what you wanted all along. 



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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Recommended Resources



-- Recommended Resources --



Indiana Wildlife Federation - works to promote the conservation and sustainable use of Indiana's (USA) wildlife and wildlife habitat.


 
Prairie Rivers Network focuses on protecting water, healing the land and inspiring positive environmental change.


Tennessee Wildlife Federation (USA) - one of the largest organizations in the state offering wildlife and natural resources stewardship, involving community and youth engagement.



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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Balancing Self-employment with life


The Balancing Act 

Having been self-employed since 1992, I’ve learned a lot about the balancing act that comes with running a business. Entrepreneurs have to make choices as to what is practical and what takes precedence. We have to prioritize and when we choose something, we have to be willing to make the sacrifices to make that new task happen. It doesn’t take long before new entrepreneurs discover that some activities are very time sensitive. Sometimes it feels like the pressure is on and the emotional pain and stress arise when we have to let something go in order to accomplish what has to be done.

We are constantly balancing the business with what we want to accomplish in life-events and home-chores. We also have to train people so they understand that they cannot drop by just because they know you are home. We might have to make signs and post office hours in order to drive the point home.

I’ve learned that just because there are options and opportunities that others have had success with, doesn’t mean that they are the right choice for you at this time. Location, abilities, talents, budget, timing and circle of influence - these all play a major role as to what works for the individual. 

I had to learn how to see opportunities differently. Instead of being stressed about all these things I have to do, I now look at them as future opportunities and write them down in a file. When I return to that file, I celebrate the fact that I have all these great options to follow up on when my schedule opens up. A lot of business owners pay others big bucks to find those opportunities. So instead of feeling regret that you have a list of “to do’s” look at it as a compilation of opportunities waiting for you.

Because we work from home, there is a need to make time for the household duties, the meal making, the yard care, the shopping, and all the other life and family activities. Working from home can often mean we are loading and running various machines while we are working on the blog. We might be prepping meals part of the day, doing cleaning chores, tackling that honey-do list and also returning calls and emails pertaining to business. We have bread baking while answering questions to an interview, or watering the lawn while we write an article. Those of us who are self-employed learn to multitask, that’s for sure. 

At the same time, we need to learn to say “No” when it comes to all the things your family or friends figure you should have time for. With family this often means that we need to learn how to delegate what needs to be done.

Home-based business owners also need to have a ' shut-off ' button. We have to be willing to schedule time to recharge those energy batteries and refill that happiness bucket so that when we come back to that lists of to do’s, we do it efficiently, with energy, enthusiasm and fewer mistakes. 

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Media Appearance




Media Appearance - Interview



Motivation online magazine's passion is very clear:

"To do better, you must know better. Get the ball rolling with stories of success and cautionary tales from those who’ve been there before. Motivation is your best foot forward."

I am so proud to let you know that we have been invited to participate in an interview in this publication !


Check out our interview below:



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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Defining Hope



Why hope?



* Written by Elise Brooke, who tells us that her "passion is creative writing. I’ve been writing for 24 years in fiction and poetry. I have written and published two autobiographies in my book series The New Zealand Dream, by Sheila - my pen name. In between projects, I do freelance writing, content, and article and coaching." Her books can be found on Amazon and she invites our readers to check out her FaceBook page and her Blog



The definition of hope in a spiritual context may mean believing good things will happen with faith in a higher power. Hope may be directed in outward prayer.
For others hope is looking on the bright side, seeing challenges as opportunities, always hoping for the best.

To hope is to want an outcome that makes your life better in some way. It can make a tough present situation more bearable and improve our lives. Envisioning a better future motivates you to take the steps to make it happen. Hope in general means a desire for things to change for the better, and to want that better situation.

Hope is not optimism, an optimist generally is more hopeful than others. Even the most pessimistic person you ever met can still be hopeful. Most people associate hope with a dire situation, people hope to get out of a bad situation. This is often when people find themselves hoping fervently. Hope can also provide the key to making everyday life better. Just envisioning something hopeful, gives a person a moment of happiness. This can make present difficulties much easier to bear.

Having hope links your past and present to the future. You create a vision of what you hope for. Whether it happens or not, just envisioning it can make you feel better. If it is something you can somewhat control then hope can motivate you to take the steps you need.

Having hope is vital to the very act of being human. Hope is a match in a dark tunnel, a lamp unto your feet. Just enough light to reveal the path ahead and ultimately the way out.


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Friday, November 26, 2021

quote of the day


Quote of the Day






" A sensitive plant in a garden grew,


And the young winds fed it with silver dew,


And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,


and closed them beneath the kisses of night."


~ Percy Shelley




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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Recommended Resources



-- Recommended Resources --



Lesser Slave Lake, the 2nd largest lake in Alberta (Canada), is dedicated to bird conservation through research and education.


Liberation BC - speaking out for animal rights



Life Cycles is a grass roots movement that works toward a sustainable relationship between healthy food and healthy communities in an urban setting. 

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Monday, November 22, 2021

gratitude for a positive life


Gratitude for a Positive Life

* Dr. Chio Ugochukwu has always been interested in helping people improve their health, transform and become the best versions of themselves. Today he helps us look at our existence and surroundings with more gratitude.



When you make gratitude the focus of your daily interactions with others, each action you perform will be rooted in thanksgiving. You can do this if you make your day to day activities and actions thankful, deliberate and purposeful. It will help you can make your life more positive and achieve more success in your daily projects. Here are a few tips and strategies to do this.

Do you take time to appreciate the simple blessings in your life? Do you express gratitude for the opportunity to serve others through your work? Do you remind yourself when you step into your office that having a job is something a lot of people are looking for right now? You have to choose to move through life with a grateful mindset. This will help you to focus on the positive side of life. In which situations is it difficult for you to stay focused on being thankful?

What do you do during your interactions with others? How do you use your positive mindset to counteract negative energy from others? Before you greet a friend or stranger, do you express gratitude that you are able to see them and speak with them. Your initial expressions can set a positive tone for your conversation. or negative one. The problem with a negative tone is that it sets you up for conversational stress. Don't do it because when you invite stress into your life, through negative interactions the damage to your self-esteem, health and productivity.

When the simple blessings of life are apparent to you with each step that you take, you will appreciate simple things like the ability to breathe, walk and enjoy the taste of food. This can motivate you to move deliberately and with gusto in your daily activities and projects. You have to learn to avoid self-pity and avoid moping around even when you are feeling down. Let your steps be guided by gratitude, instead of anger and envy.

What is your level of family wellness? Though staying calm when you discipline your children is sometimes challenging, it becomes easier and less stressful when you remind yourself that kids are precious gifts who deserve proper guidance. Keep your mission clear when teaching them life lessons. When they know how much of a blessing they are, you job is well done.

What are some of things you are thankful for? Make giving thanks is a natural part of your daily life. You can celebrate opportunities to show your grateful mindset. Recognizing the goodness in life allows you to live happily and peacefully. This should be part of your process of self-mastery and relentless improvement!


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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Author Interview



World of Writing - Author Interview



Jeff Rasley is the author of eleven books and numerous articles. He has appeared as an expert guest on over 100 podcasts and radio shows (including our former talk radio show!). He is the founder of the Basa Village Foundation and co-founder of the Jeff and Alicia Rasley Internship Program for the ACLU of Indiana. He currently serves as an officer/director of 6 nonprofits. Jeff is a lawyer and has taught classes at Butler and Marian Universities about philanthropy and community development.

Jeff is definitely one of those connections that we have a strong networking connection with. Back when we ran a talk radio program he appeared as a featured guest to talk about the Basa Village Foundation and his work with the Adventure Geo-treks LTD back in 2012. Later, he appeared on our blog in 2014 for a World of Writing interview. Today, Jeff joins us once again - for an interview about today's world of writing and his experiences with his latest release: 




Q: It appears, Jeff, that you are one prolific writer! I recall speaking with you about a few of them, and I recall reading a few including Island Adventures. Let's start with the very beginning of your career - what, or who, inspired you to pursue a career in writing?

A: I've been surrounded by writers my entire life. My mom was a journalist and newspaper editor, as was her stepfather. My brother is a writer and editor. My wife is a writer, editor, and English professor and writing centre instructor. So, it's difficult to pin responsibility on one person, but... I'd have to say my mom inspired me and my wife has supported my efforts.


Q: Writers are often advised to develop a 'thick skin' - like all artists, they must learn how to deal with critique, unsavoury reviews and unkind remarks. How do you deal with literary criticism?

A: If it's simply negative, I can't help feeling a bit hurt and angry. On the other hand, if the critic catches a flaw, suggests how the book could be improved, or points out some shortcoming, I appreciate it. And, I try to learn from helpful criticism. The vast majority of reviews and comments on Amazon and Goodreads about my books have been positive, so, of course, it is gratifying to know that a reader enjoyed my book and found it worthy enough to take the time to post a review or comment. It's especially interesting to read something about one of my books that I had not thought of. Once it's published a book takes on a life of its own. One of the cool things about that is to learn how readers respond to it.


Q: How many unpublished or half-finished writing projects are sitting on your "to-do" shelf?

A: None, insofar as I've finished every book I've started and each one is published. I've also had around 80 articles published, but I have to admit a couple pieces I wrote did not find a publisher. Those were niche articles with very few potential publishers. After the possible publishers declined, I just had to let go and move on to the next project.


Q: You raise a good point about choosing the market you are writing for, and also the point about having to let things go if they aren't working right now. I've learned that writers can always go back to a project after they have had a chance to grow as a writer, evolve as a person, or learn of new opportunities. Can you offer advice to new authors re: query letters, grant application, sponsorship or project proposals?

A: I teach a memoir writing class for the Indiana Writers Centre, and most of the students are working on their first book. I end the class with a mini lecture on "how to get published". I explain the traditional process of querying agents and publishers - the gatekeepers. But I strongly encourage the students to learn how to direct publish as their fall back, plan B. Amazon kdp is getting more user friendly every year. So, set a time limit on your efforts to get a literary contract, and then move on to direct publishing, if plan A didn't work out within your time limit.



Q: 
What do you do when you are not writing?


A: Lately, I play a lot of pickleball. It's the one sport and social activity that resumed fairly early during the pandemic-lockdown. 

I'm addicted to exercise and the outdoors, so every day I'm bicycling, rollerblading, skiing, kayaking, running, hiking, or swimming. 

The addiction keeps me fit and energizes me to keep on writing.


Q: Ok - I have to admit that I had to look up pickleball, I had not heard of it before. The name had me imagining there was, uh, a lot of drinking involved. (She laughs). I see now it is a combination of tennis, badminton and pingpong. Writing about cultural differences, impacts of historical events and delicate maneuvering around sensitivities... it seems like it must have been a difficult writing project. What gave you the idea (inspiration) for this new book?

A: In 2013, I visited the Pine Ridge Reservation and Wounded Knee and was upset by the poverty of the Sioux people. I wrote an eBook memoir about the road trip that included my visit to Wounded Knee. But, bubbling in the back of my mind was a desire and idea about taking on a research and writing project that was more focused on the unjust treatment and plight of the Sioux people. An ancestor of mine was a 7th Cavalry officer at the centre of the 1890 massacre of Sioux at Wounded Knee. Another was given a "friendship gift" by the Potawatomi for helping them avoid starvation during "a hard winter". So, the book relates their personal histories with those two Indian tribes as the starting point for a wider exploration of the fraught relations among White Americans, Native Americans, the USA, and Native nations.



Q: 
What were some of the challenges you faced in writing this non-fiction book?

A: The first challenge was finding primary sources to learn what happened at Wounded Knee on Dec. 29, 1890, and why. Much of the history is well known and verifiable, but there are disputes about the "why", who fired the first shot, and how many Sioux died that day. So, I recount the battle, or massacre, from three different perspectives, the 7th Cavalry's, the Sioux's, and the pop culture version. Another challenge was deciding how far back into history, and how up to the present, the book should consider relations between the USA and Native nations.



Q: How much time do you devote to marketing, and what kind of marketing do you recommend?

A: Like many authors, I would prefer to devote zero time to marketing, but my usual approach is to start by sending a personal email to the 2,500 people in my address book. Then, post in free social media and contact podcasters and bloggers with whom I have a history. Next, I would ordinarily try to arrange some speaking engagements with organizations that have an interest in the book's subject matter, but that's a bit weird now, because of the pandemic. Finally, I decide whether it's worth paying for any ads in social media or Amazon. Creating effective ads is an art form I have not taken the time to master, so it's tough to figure out whether it's worth buying ads.



Q: ...That is so true, Jeff... Dave and I were talking recently about why some authors have success with FB or Instagram or Amazon ads, one will work for them while the other don't, or different ones work for different people. Dave stated that we don't know the details - such as: did the author design an enticing ad for that audience, what time of day and what days they chose to advertise on, whether the link took them to a site that converted well, or how long their campaign was. These details really do matter when it comes to the success of an online ad. Why don't we close by having you share some links for our readers?


A:  Links are my website: http://www.jeffreyrasley.com/






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Saturday, November 20, 2021

quote of the day


Quote of the Day






" The most beautiful view 


is the one 


I share with you.




~ Author unknown



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Friday, November 19, 2021

Media Appearance



Media Appearance


The Writing By Amanda Blog re-published an older book review article I did way back in 2008. I'm so pleased that these articles are still of use for others, still seen as valuable content. :) It is interesting for me to read as well, since I have not been a professional book reviewer for some time and have not offered the service for at least 10 years now. This book review is for a book promotion guidebook written by Nikki Leigh  titled Book Promo 101. I hope you enjoy it :)



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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Sustainability is Found in Vulnerability

Today's article was submitted by author and business owner Trent A. Romer. Trent has worked hard to shift his plastic bag manufacturing company Clear View Bag Co., Inc (www.clearviewbag.com) toward a more sustainable direction through a new vision of Healthy Planet, Healthy People, Healthy Company.  His book Finding Sustainability details his journey to ultimately find sustainability in multiple places.  Visit www.trentromer.com for pictures and details about the book.  


Sustainability is Found in Vulnerability

I walked alone to the historic building on a rainy November evening.  The front brick walkway led to a large door with transom windows above and a decorative arch capping the entrance. The door opened to a large lounge with high ceilings and antique furniture. My mind raced to who else may have entered this building and stood where I now gazed in wonder.  The adjacent room was the destination for the night.    

I was in the Harvard University Faculty Club following an afternoon of instruction.  The first day of a week-long Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership at Harvard University concluded with a dinner.  Seventy people from all over the world gathered to learn about leadership in a sustainable direction.  I did not know anyone in the room. 

The people around me seemed to all be sustainability managers from larger organizations --- Major League Baseball, Chick-fil-a, The FBI, NASCAR, Wynn Resorts and Amazon to name a few.  What was I doing here being from a small manufacturing firm?  The number of dining chairs matched the number of people.  There was nowhere to hide.   

After dinner, an open-mic event was planned. We were asked to consider taking the floor to reveal a hidden talent or share something with the group. I regrettably did not partake. However, that night has stayed with me. Being willing to take a risk, to be open to criticism and to learn through experience is essential to change, and that is exactly what that night at Harvard was geared to teach us. 
  
Vulnerability is a key component to change.  Knowing sustainable mindset and practices required change, the 5 day leadership education was teaching us how to implement change. Feeling vulnerable is never completely comfortable but always fulfilling in learning something I would never had known otherwise.  Embracing the feeling turbo charges learning.

As the week at Harvard unfolded, my nerves of being surrounded by highly influential people and being at an iconic institution subsided.  I realized all were there not to judge but to help each of us individually to find our own unique sustainability path. The relationships developed remain with me and proved to outlast the week that was.   

Since May of 2018, I have been on a journey to sustainability. Finding sustainability for our company has forced change.  My travels have taken me to two European countries and 5 states in 18 months.  The journey was experienced through both business related events and adventures in nature. Each place I felt a sense of vulnerability.   

I felt vulnerability at a European Converters conference in Brussels (Belgium) being the only American, in presenting new materials at the Pack Expo trade show in Chicago, in revealing our new vision to employees and clients, in attending the Sustainable Packaging show in Seattle, in tenting in bear country in the Adirondack Mountains and traversing slippery rocks up long, steep trails in Yosemite National Park. 

I am by no means an expert. Learning and listening is vital to my increasing understanding. 

Sustainability was found in multiple places during the course of the journey.  

The Harvard experience helped me find it in vulnerability. 



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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

earth-friendly wrapping options


Earthly Wrapping


Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries are just a few of the occasions we celebrate with all sorts of surprises beautifully wrapped. Sadly both the task of wrapping and the recipient's unwrapping create a great pile of waste. Sweat pours down our faces as we try to force just a little more waste in our basket and we began to wonder what to do about it.

Saving wrapping paper and ribbons from gifts you receive and reusing them for next year’s gifts is easier said than done. In the excitement of opening a present it is not on anyone’s mind to do it gingerly, is it? However, when we unwrap things carefully we can cut out the ripped edges and fold it for storage. Reusing these folded sheets of paper and ribbons can not only reduce, but often eliminate the need to purchase more in the future. You might even find your friends dropping by to see if you have wrapping materials for a gift they bought! 

We can also get really creative and have fun with coming up with ways to resue different types of gift paper, comic strips, paper shopping bags, bits of ribbon and bows. Fabric scraps from sewing projects also makes wonderful wrapping for gifts or cover the lids of preserves, just add a little ribbon to finish off the stunning look. Fabric can be had for pennies at the local second hand or thrift shops.

But why not make the wrapping a part of the gift? Reusable baskets, plastic containers, reusable jars, and pretty tins are just a few examples of this. New dishcloths, scarves and towels can become unique wrapping. 

Most of us have seen and used those decorative gift bags commercially available, be sure to purchase ones that are sturdy enough to reuse many times. Most people stuff fancy paper, or cloth, in the top to hide the present inside. Although there is an initial investment, these types of bags reduce both waste and consumerism because the recipient will reuse them. Alternatively, put a couple handles on a cereal box, tape the bottom well, and then wrap the box - to create a sturdy, stiff bag.

To go a step further, we have also saved and permanently wrapped boxes with recycled wrapping paper. If you do not have a box with a lid, make one. Begin by taping the flaps closed and with a razor knife, cut the top 3", or so, off the box.  Now you have the lid, but it doesn’t quite fit over the box. At each corner of the box, cut V slits so that when the edges are pulled together and taped, they make the top of the box small enough for the lid to fit.  Now wrap the box and lid separately being sure to overlap the edges, securing with glue. When filled with a present, simply secure lid on by tying around the box. 

The impacts from choosing alternatives such as these we have suggested today have a broader reach than you might think. The elderly, and those who are physically challenged, especially appreciated reusable gift bags and boxes, because they have difficulty wrapping and unwrapping gifts. The recipient of your gift saves money the next time they are about to celebrate their friend's birthday, because they can reuse that bag, and that friend will do the same. New wrapping paper and ribbons come with their own packaging waste as well, so when we practice reuse we then eliminate this excess packaging. It really is a win-win situation.



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