BUSINESS REPLY POSTAGE

Boy was I wrong! My only hope is that when I ran this well-meaning but erroneous item this past summer you were sensibly on vacation, enjoying the July sun, having none of it. I wrote then that putting a stamp on a business-reply envelope saves SAVE THE WHALES, or whomever, not just the 32 cents it costs you, but a whopping 76 cents (because of USPS administrative fees). Well, that’s what I was told by someone I thought should know. But apparently I was way wrong — you basically save the whales only about the cost of the stamp. Sorry.

SAVING ON LONG DISTANCE

From Ben Tobias (no relation), reacting to some of my comments on Sprint’s “Dime Lady”: “I went from AT&T to MCI to Sprint and didn’t notice much of a difference until about two years ago I switched to LDDS (the #4 guy in town). Saw an immediate 35 – 40% decline in monthly cost and the bills have stayed there, with excellent service. I’m happy with it — only drawback, no frequent flyer miles.” Commercial accounts: 800-737-8423. Residential: 800-275-0100.

PAPER TOWELS

From Barbara on AOL: “Regarding your comments about paper towels vs. a sponge, I would not use a sponge for any reason. A sponge is a veritable petrie dish for organisms that I don’t want to have in my kitchen or bathroom. I have used paper towels for a year, and find they work just fine for most sponge purposes. Paper towels are so flimsy now that I can’t believe they would cause a disposal problem. Yours for fewer germs, Barbara”

From Dana Dlott, a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois: “Your column on paper towels reminds me of coffee cups. You must have noticed how so many food service places have replaced the Styrofoam cup with the paper cup. The idea, I believe, is better ecology. I won’t mention the paper cup burns your fingers, so you have to use two.

“A couple of years a peer-reviewed article appeared in Science magazine. It analyzed the ecological benefits of paper cups vs Styrofoam cups. In brief, there are none whatsoever. Sure Styrofoam is made of foamed plastic. But the paper cups are bleached (chlorine pollution) and much worse, they have a waxy coating. (Of course they have a waxy coating. Try to take a sheet of paper and make a coffee cup out of it). The waxy coating is at minimum equal to, and quite possibly less ecologically friendly than the Styrofoam.”

RECYCLING OLD COMPUTERS

What to do with that old 286 or 386 or even your not so old 486 now that you’ve moved to the Pentium blazer? I recently suggested sending it to the Computer Recycling Center at 2971 Mead Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95051.

Writes Paul Bates: “Why not contact a parochial school in your area and give it to them? These schools generally have a very limited budget so your donation will be most appreciated. By doing this you are saving on the postage and cutting out the middle man.”

This strikes me as an excellent suggestion, and indeed, like many of you, I have given computers to local schools, charities, even a passing Russian or two.

But what I may have failed to make clear in that earlier comment was that this place can use even the stuff a local school would be insulted to take. Such as: broken computers. Computers that are really only worth being broken down for spare parts.

 

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