The Slop Bucket

Years ago, I worked at a Boy Scout camp in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Before being accepted for Staff, a young man would serve as a “trainee” for a month. Trainees would rotate through the various camp areas.  Doing the grunt work.   And spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen peeling potatoes, doing dishes and cleaning up.

After meals in the Mess Hall, Scouts and trainees would bus the tables. We would throw paper garbage into one garbage can. And we would put food waste into another.  The food barrel was called the “slop bucket.”  We were always careful about putting food scraps (no bones, no paper) in the slop bucket because we would give the slop bucket each day to a local farmer who would use it to feed his flock of pigs.  Uneaten food was used. . . . .

I have posted frequently on environmental issues.  And I have touted my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF — a motto that applies to cars, lights, water and energy. 

When I read about how the earth is being inundated with waste, oceans are overflowing with garbage, rivers and lakes turning toxic and how many folks remain heedless of our environment, I get a wee bit steamed.   But then I simmer down — and start thinking about what we can do.  “Just turning off” your water, lights, car, energy – is one thing.  But there is also merit in reusing bags, bottles, containers.  And not polluting.  And then there is recycling. 

But there is also composting. Taking food waste and carefully mixing it with soil.  In the garden.  Or backyard.  You don’t need a slop bucket.  

We ALL really need to get on board with this idea of helping our limping planet along.  Pronto. We live here.  But we also have generations of souls who yet have no voice – who will have to live here too.  And they will have no choice but to take what we give them. . . . .   

Just Turn it Off — Energy

You turn on the A/C on a hot day.   And the house becomes cooler!  The T.V. works.  The coffeemaker.  Your electric toothbrush.  It’s a miracle!   Yet the miracle of electricity is powered by carbon-based fuel sources (coal, oil and gas). The more electricity we use, the more fuel we burn. The more fuel we burn, the less we have — and more pollution enters our atmosphere.
By turning off electrical appliances when not in use, you save kilowatts of energy.  You save dollars.  And you save a bit of the planet at the same time. If every person in America – the world – saved a few kilowatts of energy daily, it would translate to a savings of many barrels of oil and many dollars in energy costs.  And our atmosphere might just become a bit cleaner.

What can you do to help? Keep in mind the Renaissance Hombre’s trademark — JUST TURN IT OFF®.
● Shut down your computer and turn off the screen at the end of the day.  Turn off the printer when not in use.
● Turn off unneeded lights and appliances in your home and office.
● Turn down the hot water heater when leaving for a weekend, a week or a month.
● Adjust temperature settings – 1° cooler in winter and 1° warmer in summer. And adjust settings up or down when on vacation.                        ● Use LED lighting or at least lower wattage on lighting.                                ● Unplug your phone chargers when not in use.     

Our planet needs help.  And each one of us – you/me – has an obligation to make the world a better place for those future generations.  Those who have no voice today.  Please.  JUST TURN IT OFF. . . . . .                                    


Just Turn it Off – Water

I am concerned about the environment.  Especially given the world’s casual abuse of air, land and water.  And now with the troubling National Climate Assessment report.  My very first blog entry touched on the subject of conservation.  It has been a theme in many of my posts.  One way everyone can help — is to Just Turn it Off®!   

Take WATER.  We cannot live without it.  Yet there’s only so much of it.  And more than 95% of the water on our planet is salt water.  Thus it is natural that we would want to shepherd our precious supply of fresh water, to use it sparingly and keep it clean and potable.   But most of the water that enters our homes literally goes down the drain – into the sewer.  So what can the average person do to conserve this valuable commodity for future generations?  JUST TURN IT OFF®.   If every person in America saved one gallon of fresh water daily, that translates to a savings of hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water.  

Consider the following. . . . .  

●  When shaving or washing, instead of leaving the water run, JUST TURN IT OFF.  And turn it on to rinse as needed.

●  When taking a shower, turn on the water – get it to the temperature desired – stand under the shower and then JUST TURN IT OFF.  Soap down while the water is off. Frankly you will probably get cleaner than if the water just continues to pour down the drain.  This is what Europeans do – and the military.   

●  When rinsing dishes, don’t just let the water run.  JUST TURN IT OFF and turn it on to rinse the next plate or pan. 

●  Make each drop count when watering plants and shrubs.  Use an on/off nozzle so that when moving from one plant to the next, so you can JUST TURN IT OFF. 

●  Toilets should provide a flushing choice for disposing of liquid and solid waste.  And by the way, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down.”  You heard that right.  There is no need to flush every time. . . . .   

●  Rely on Mother Nature to water the lawn.  Use sprinklers when necessary.

●  In the laundry room, use less hot water, run full loads or use size cycles, skip the extra rinse and reuse towels (always a big drain on water).

Please — save water.  JUST TURN IT OFF (it’s the RH’s registered trademark).  The children of tomorrow – those with no voices today — will thank you. . . . . .



Every day I have lunch. Sometimes I go to a restaurant but most days I grab a sandwich, soup or salad and bring it back to my office.

Everywhere I go, a carefully-wrapped sandwich is placed into a larger bag.  A salad is placed in a large bag.  And a small container of pasta or tuna salad is placed into a large bag. Bags bags bags bags. As soon as I get to my office I would crumple the “bag” and toss it out.   A brand new and perfectly serviceable bag goes deep six into the garbage within minutes.

I see some folks in these places take their sandwich bag from the counter, walk 10 feet, take out their wrapped sandwich and sit down in the seating area.  And pitch the bag into the garbage. 

I considered the waste incurred in this avalanche of paper that — usually within minutes (often seconds) — gets tossed out.   So for years, I bring the same dog-eared bags back to my lunch joints (I have a collection of bags in my office).  And reuse them.  Just think if everyone reused bags (lunch, shopping or whatever).  I would wager that in one day of saved bags, a lot of trees would be much happier . . . . and the environment a wee bit cleaner.   You can also save coffee sleeves (see 10/29/15), note pads (see 7/20/17), water and energy (see “Just Turn it Off” – 7/26/11).  

I figure I’ve saved a tree.  Or two.  And a few gallons of water.  Every little bit helps.  Or hurts.  Do it for your grandchildren.    You can do this!   

Legal Pads

I’m a lawyer. I do a lot of scribbling on paper. Notes. Phone numbers. Client comments. Problems. Flow charts. Ideas. Cartoons.  And so on. When I’m done and no longer need my scribbles, I toss out the sheet and have a fresh, blank page staring at me.  What’s interesting is that I haven’t used a yellow or white lined legal pad in years (unless I happen to be in a meeting).

I have a printer outside my office.  It sometimes spits out more than is needed.  Rather than pitch the nearly-blank pages, I save them.  Turn them over and clip ’em together.  And use them as a “legal pad.”  I figure that over the years, I’ve saved a tree or two.   Just from using paper that’s blank on one side with some words on the other.  

I feel pretty strongly about conservation.  And recycling.  My trademark JUST TURN IT OFF® says it all (see post of July 23, 2011).  Why can’t we all conserve water, energy and clean air (see May 21, 2012); stretch products like shampoo (see April 11, 2013); reuse “zarfs” (see October 29, 2015); reuse bags (see August 6, 2012).  Each one of us has potential to make a big difference in the world.  Just think if everyone . . . . . . 

It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.”   — John Wooden 

Maybe it’s Just Me. . . .

I am diligent about conserving water.  Turning off light switches.  Turning off the car rather than wasting gas – or polluting the environment.  Recycling.  I promote my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF® – whenever and wherever I can.  I’ve often posted on the subject of conservation.  If you want to see what rankles me, see April 10, 2016.  

But I continue to be a skeptic on “global warming” though I tend to agree with the notion of climate change (they are different).  Global warming is a political issue more than a scientific one.  It’s not a scientific law.  Not a theory.  Not even a hypothesis.  It is a consensus.  Of some people.   There are scientists and respectable folks on both sides of the issue.  But the “believers” want to silence those who ask questions.  They want to squelch discussion.  Ever notice that those who raise questions about global warming are put down?  Vilified?  Try discussing the subject among those who have drunk the Kool Aid (“Eeek!  He’s asking questions!”)?  Great.  That’s really productive.    I do wish discussion on this topic would be allowed.  Since discussion, diagnosis and then consensus may be more productive than taking a grand and uneducated leap of faith.  Into the void.   


How About It?

Earlier this week, I went to the local fitness center. Nothing heroic. A little Stairmaster and some weights. In the locker room, there’s a guy shaving. He’s got the water running full tilt. He turns around and talks.  Minutes drag by.  Water runs.  Quarts.  Gallons.  He never rinses his razor except at the end.  So clean, safe water just pours out.  Going into the sewer.   Every time I see him – and a few others – it’s the same thing.  Good water.  Wasted.   

Clean, safe drinking water is abundant for those reading this post.  But friends, clean, safe drinking water is becoming increasingly scarce in our world.  Look at Africa.  Flint,  Michigan.  Drought in California.

I have posted before on my idea — JUST TURN IT OFF (see July 23, 2011, and May 1, 2014).   It’s a registered trademark.  I own the domain name.  And I’ve circulated cards bearing this admonition.  But I’d like to do more.  And for you to do more too.  And there’s no heavy lifting.

Water is precious.  Rather than leaving it run – JUST TURN IT OFF.  And turn it on as needed.  Save a gallon for the future.

In the shower, turn on the water then JUST TURN IT OFF and soap down.  Then turn it on to rinse and enjoy the hot water.  Save gallons for your children.  And their children. 

Electricity burns fuel.  Fuel generation causes pollution.  When not using a light in your home – JUST TURN IT OFF – and make a difference.     

This is like recycling.  Saving trees.  Reducing carbon emissions.  Saving a gallon of water a day is not much.  But – just think if everyone did it. . . . .      

Just Turn it Off

In my post of 9/6/12, I expressed some sketicism of “global warming” as promoted by politicians.  The trumpets of global warming are designed to make rich and accrue power for those who promote it.   Did you know that federal grants which question global warming are refused?  Did you know that there is no metric as to what aspect of global warming is due to natural causation and what due to man?  It’s not allowed for discussion.  Some science. . . .

Notwithstanding, in my very first post, I said we should be vigorous in protecting our precious environment.   I share the same objectives (conservation, recycling, renewable energy).  But I view the problem in a different way.  Global warming advocates say we should do these things because of global warming.  I say we should do these things because they are right.  In my prior post, I offered a watchword (my trademark) for conserving water and energy.  Just Turn it Off!   This simple phrase can make a difference and provide a 4 word education on conservation.  I mean what’s not to like?            

Let’s take water — We can’t live without it.  And there’s only so much of it on our planet.  Thus it is natural that we would want to conserve our precious supply of fresh water, use it sparingly and keep it potable. Yet most of the water that enters our homes literally goes down the drain.  So what can the average person do to conserve fresh water and to preserve this valuable commodity for future generations?  “Just turn it off.” 

By turning off the water when it is not in use, you save gallons of fresh water every day.  If every person in America saved one gallon of fresh water daily (the average shower uses 8 gallons), that translates to a savings of hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water.  For your children.  Grandchildren. What can you do to help?  “Just turn it off.” 

● When taking a shower, turn on the water, get wet and then “Just turn it off.” Soap down while the water is off. Frankly you will probably get cleaner than if the water just continues pouring down the drain.

●  When shaving, turn off the water.  And rinse the razor as needed.

●  When rinsing dishes, reduce pressure or turn it off for each item.

●  Wash full loads of laundry. 

Post any comments on conserving water or energy!  And. . . . . Just turn it off!   



In my post of July 23, 2011 (“Just Turn it Off“), I spoke of things we can all do (that cost nothing) — to save water, energy and clean air and to cut down on pollution.  Little things like when taking a shower, turn on the water, get wet – then turn off the water and soap down.  Then rinse.   You’ll actually get cleaner and you’ll save gallons of water that otherwise simply pour down the drain.   Just think if everyone did this. . . .

Speaking of showers, here’s another thought that saves money and helps the environment.  Shampoo.   A few years ago, I was in the shower and there was no shampoo.  I had an empty container from which I could squeeze nada.  Grrrrrrrrr . . . . . So I unscrewed the top, held the container under the water swirled the liquid in the bottle and – voila – shampoo.  It was a little watery but it worked every bit as good as the thick gloppy stuff.  It actually lasted for a few more days.  Today, when the shampoo bottle is making that distinctive “Pfffftttttt” sound when I squeeze it, I unscrew the top, let water drain in, screw the top back on, give it a shake and I have shampoo for another week or two.  Try it.  You’ll like it.  So will your wallet.  And the sewer system . . . .