Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about recycling symbols:

“I am an avid recycler, since my city recycles glass, paper, cardboard and plastic. Only plastic containers with a recycle code of ‘1’ through ‘5’ or ‘7’ are accepted. My pet peeve is that some of the manufacturers of the plastic containers make it practically impossible to see the code on their products, even with a magnifying glass. Others simply do not put a code on them at all. If I can’t figure out or find the code, it goes in the regular trash. -- Joyce W. in Houston”

Joyce, you’re right! It is difficult to see the numbers on some recyclables. And yes, it is true that Houston does not accept recyclables that are No. 6. Those include disposable plates, carry-out containers, egg cartons and the like, which are usually made of polystyrene. -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for empty cardboard toilet-paper rolls:

* Put all your ponytail holders around one.

* Make into toys for cats or ferrets.

* Store ribbon around one.

* Roll and store scarves in them. No wrinkles!

* Clasp necklaces around one to store without getting tangled.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have a skunk that is living under our back deck. Do you have any hints on how to get rid of him? We have a dog and really don’t want him or our yard to get sprayed. -- Haddie in Houston

Here are a few things to do: Don’t feed your dog or any animals outside, if possible. If you must, pick up any leftover food within a short time. Make sure garbage is in a can and closed tightly. At night, if possible, use lights and noise to make the area unappealing. You also can place used cat-box filler, hot sauce or cayenne pepper around the area to repel the skunk. Fill any holes the skunk might be using as a den.

Once you are sure the skunk is gone, cover the area. Buy some chicken wire, latticework or some other type of covering and block access to the area under your deck. This will keep skunks and other critters from moving in. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: The Sound Off regarding bottles that have a plastic tube that does not reach the bottom of the container brought to mind other things along the same line.

I do not purchase those kinds of containers. If I am gifted with this type, when the product gets low, I simply turn the container on its head so the contents drip down the sides. You’d be surprised how much product is still inside the container! Or a person could purchase another container of the same product and then remove both tops and turn the almost-empty one upside down and place it on top of the new one. -- Another Frustrated Reader, via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate