Dear Readers: Have you received packages that are filled with those PLASTIC FOAM PEANUTS? They usually end up scattered all over the place, and then they end up in the trash. Well, I have some good news: There is an organization that recycles them.

First of all, to easily get the “peanuts” together (since they stick to everything because of static electricity), give them a quick spray or two with anti-static spray.

Now, put them in a container and call 800-828-2214 for a recorded message from the Plastic Loose Fill Council, where it will ask for your ZIP code so it can find a business that will accept the peanuts. Most businesses involve packing and shipping.

Keep this information handy, since the holidays are right around the corner and you may have an abundance of packing peanuts. You also can share the number with friends and family so peanuts don’t end up in a landfill. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Linda Caballero Usborne of San Antonio sent a photo of her miniature schnauzer, Buddy, gazing to his right. Buddy looks like my miniature schnauzer, Cabbie. Miniature schnauzers are such a sweet breed, aren’t they? To see Buddy, visit www. and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My hint is for budgeting grocery dollars. Every month, I put my grocery dollars on a rechargeable store gift card. Every time I shop, I know exactly how much money I have left for the remainder of the month, which shows on my receipt. Also, it allows me to zip my card on the machine without having to select “debit” or “credit” and signing, so I typically zip and then assist the clerk by bagging my own groceries in my reusable bags. I never hold up the line by having credit issues, etc. Also, I can budget for dinner parties or holiday meals by knowing exactly how much money I have to spend. -- Deb in The Villages, Fla.


Dear Heloise: We have had to move many times with our job, and we found a great solution to protecting dishes and other breakables: We wrap them in clean linen, towels, etc. It not only protects the valuables, but also saves much room in packing. We also mark each box for contents and the room they go to. Thank you for your helpful columns.

Another hint: Someone sent you a question about cat-litter-box dust. We have solved the problem by recycling our newspapers. We tear them into strips, and they work great as litter — no dust, no tracking, no problems with allergies from the dust and less pollution. It saves us much money and also helps to recycle our newspapers, and there is less stuff to dispose of. Our cats have never had a problem accepting that instead of the dusty litter products. We believe it is better for their health, as well as for ours. -- I.H. in New Hampshire

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate