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You know you are a "reuse everything" person when....

 
steward & bricolagier
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Christopher Shepherd wrote:When the best gun wipe down cleaner you ever had is an old used sock.


Old socks are great for greasy jobs on my tractor too! I have a bagful, the local thrift store tossed a pile of unmatched socks. I don't feel bad if I decide to just toss it when I'm done.
 
pollinator
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 Good one Pearl.
I do cleanup at festivals and find lots of socks.
They make great "mittens" when picking up greasy car parts.
 Keeps my hands from getting greasy,..
and I don't like getting gloves greasy either.
They are also terrycloth on the inside
and smooth on the outside so they make great grease rags.
Which make a great fire starter.

Old oatmeal, cylinder-shaped containers make a good small waste basket.
Because they can be lined with old bread bags or chip bags that would usually be thrown away.
 
pollinator
Posts: 201
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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Tina Saravia wrote:A few weeks ago, our local Trader Joe’s stop allowing reusable bags in the store.  They started offering paper bags, which normally they charge for (in California). I think they’re free again. But I refuse to bring any more bags in the house, so I ask the cashiers to keep our items in the shopping cart; and we load them into reusable bags in the car -mainly so we can carry them into the house.

Btw, this is one store where they can neatly cram all your purchases in one bag; reminds me of old comic stripS where they show someone trying to balance  and see where they’re walking while carrying a jam-packed grocery bag.

Yes, I also have Plastic bags in Plastic bags because I’m purchasing things packed in plastic, and people keep giving me things in plastic bags.



We do this at Aldi, Costco, & every so often when we get near a Trader Joe's.

We do have bags of bags but that's mainly because other folks save bags for us. We clean up after dogs, opossums, and raccoons as well as keep them in the doors of the cars for various collection efforts. I keep a few folded flat in cargo pants when in the garden. Ya never know when a fit of harvest takes one over.
 
echo minarosa
pollinator
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When a local store went out of business last year I was talking to the manager the week before final closing. They had a huge rug rack that operated much the same way the old poster displays in department stores worked...like the pages of a book. I asked what was going to happen to the rug rack and he said they paid a lot for it but it wasn't selling at the deep going out of business discount. He asked why I'd consider it and I said I was looking at ways to grow plants vertically and would use the "page" frame portions to make arbors between the beds (over the paths). He told me to come back Monday and anything in the store would be free. I did, and it was. The "pages" are steel circle and square stock. The overall frame that held all of the pages was far too heavy and beastly to use. It did not disassemble and was a HEAVY steel square stock. I'm not sure what happened to it but suspect it was given to the metal scrappers.

The large "page frames were rectangular, about 70" x 95".
The smaller ones were triangular, and the long side was about 66".

Some ends had a few inches of longer pegs or extensions.

I took two of the triangles to make a top for each arbor by using a heavy grade exterior adhesive and then screwed the pieces together. I then affixed them to the long side ones by the same methods to form the arbor frams. I tested them this year and they expanded my ability to grow by maximizing actual bed space for more plants and allowing me to grow up and over the arbors. I went pretty well though I may look at adding a few horizontal "rungs" in order to aid plants especially in wind. I did use jute twine to help vines go up (as with tomatoes) and it worked ok...but seems to lack true support for plants that way.

The almost 8 foot high structures are movable. I still have more racks that will to be used to aid tall plants along the Northern fence. If I have anything left over, there may be a few more structures. I'd been wondering what I'd use for going vertical in the garden and wanted a longer term solution compared to measures I was already using.

Not only can they be used as arbors, but we hang plants and bird feeders from them and they are used as bird perches by a fair number of birds daily. They enrich the beds as well.

I'm pretty happy with the score and they will be used for years until they rust away.



GardenBedArbors-Repurposed.jpg
Garden arbors made from repurposed store steel rug racks. They're made to go over the paths between beds and allow vertical gardening. Each movable arbor is made of two larger racks and two smaller ones.
Garden arbors made from repurposed store steel rug racks. They're made to go over the paths between beds and allow vertical gardening. Each movable arbor is made of two larger racks and two smaller ones.
 
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Christopher Shepherd wrote:When the best gun wipe down cleaner you ever had is an old used sock.


Old socks are great for greasy jobs on my tractor too! I have a bagful, the local thrift store tossed a pile of unmatched socks. I don't feel bad if I decide to just toss it when I'm done.


I cut the heel and toe out of the socks and use them for labeled wraps for my quart and pint bottles. Not only do I not have to mark the lids (I reuse them as well) but they cushion the bottles.
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

For anyone who hasn't seen it:
We have a whole thread on reusing mismatched socks!
https://permies.com/t/134766/permaculture-upcycling/ungarbage/Upcycling-mismatched-socks

 
gardener
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Lauren Ritz wrote:

they cushion the bottles

Living in an earth-quake zone, that's a brilliant suggestion. Worn children's onsies and jerseys could provide raw material for that also! (I've got a **lot** of canning jars - most are in their original boxes with dividers which helps, but many aren't.)
 
pollinator
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Socks to cushion canning jars is a great idea. What do you use for labelling on the socks? I've taken to using the green painting tape to label the jars, but would like to find something that isn't single-use and preferably was already recycled somehow.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
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Just marker. It lasts through washing and I reuse the same socks for the same product the next time.
 
pollinator
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We moved 14 months ago and had a couple hundred jars of canned fruit and veggies.
I used dozens of socks, (personal and missmiatched I picked up at the thrift store).
Didn't make a dent in covering them all, but did make me feel a bit more secure on moving them.  None broke!!
 
pollinator
Posts: 587
Location: South-central Wisconsin
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Andrea Locke wrote:Socks to cushion canning jars is a great idea. What do you use for labelling on the socks? I've taken to using the green painting tape to label the jars, but would like to find something that isn't single-use and preferably was already recycled somehow.



I wonder how washable crayon would work, if used to write on the jars directly?
 
Dennis Barrow
pollinator
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I wonder how washable crayon would work, if used to write on the jars directly?



I have always written on the lids and we don't reuse them for canning.
 
Andrea Locke
pollinator
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Sorry I realized I wasn't very clear.

I write on the lids with sharpie if actually canning, and like you will not use the lids again.

I started using green tape for the jars I use for non-canning purposes like storing dry beans or other edibles and medicinals from the dehydrator. Also seed storage and smaller volumes of things like baking goods bought in bulk from the store. Often these are going into old style jars with glass lids. I guess there is no reason these couldn't be labelled on the side of the jar with either a water soluble marker or crayons. Maybe some day in the winter when things are a little slower, it might be a good project to make little permanent labels by cutting up aluminum cans and embossing the labels with a pen, then tying strings so they hang around the necks of the jars.
 
Posts: 271
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I forget all the things we reuse, it’s just normal here!

Old Apple ladder held my pots and pans for years. Painted crib rails held the table linens. Book spinners have been trellises for most of the 15 years since I closed the store. The cages are the trellises, but the spindles they sat on? They hold tomato cages. Our living room lights are old theater can lights my husband reworked, etc. We do buy new, but we’re fussy and if we can use something old, well, we do.
 
echo minarosa
pollinator
Posts: 201
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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We get a lot of free batteries...sort of. I have a friend at a local hospital. They replace all the batteries on the hand sanitizers on a regular schedule. There is often 1/3-1/2 charge left. She brings me a bag full about every month or so.I just test them and match them by % charge available. Can't complain. I save the spent batteries and drop them off for recycling whenever I'm near that facility. They used to have battery recycling at several locations in my county until they got worried about people using spent batteries for some material needed to cook meth. Then they dropped all unstaffed locations. Now there is only the single location...the hazmat recycling center.
 
Posts: 277
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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When I moved, and had a zillion small breakables and gods know how many swag T-shirts to pack, and that lifetime accumulation of hand towels and socks... I looked at that and said, why should I scrounge up packing material, I already have more than I can use!

Socks are perfect for glasses and cups. T-shirts and towels went between glass plates and other breakables, and down into box corners. And took half the time to pack since it was a continuous twofer.

And on the other end there was far more of "Oh, THAT's where it is!" than normal...
 
Andrea Locke
pollinator
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Rez, I did exactly the same thing. Framed art was wrapped in towels, blankets and sheets. Pillows were used as padding for electronics. Almost all other clothing including underwear was fair game for wrapping dishes and other breakables. It led to some entertainment when the family helped unpack at the other end.
 
Rez Zircon
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And some fragile stuff went into salvaged 5-gallon buckets with lids, under the theory that they're less squashable than cardboard. Seems to have worked!

Anyone else think that other people need to use more paint, so we can have more 5-gallon buckets?

 
echo minarosa
pollinator
Posts: 201
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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I'm sure this is new to no one here but we have a small but steady supply of large plastic laundry bottles. They make great garden scoops for soil, water, etc and if you take the cap off, decent large funnels. The sun eventually cooks the caps brittle and later the bottle gets a little brittle and at that point we send them to recycle bin. Sharp blade on a utility knife and a LOT of caution & safety is all you need. These bottles are about 1.75 gallons or a little over 6.6 liters.
IMG_20180620_183119790_HDR.jpg
Plastic laundry bottles turned into large plastic scoops and/or funnels.
Plastic laundry bottles turned into large plastic scoops and/or funnels.
IMG_20180620_182024032_HDR.jpg
Plastic laundry bottle with bottom cut off.
Plastic laundry bottle with bottom cut off.
 
Andrea Locke
pollinator
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I don't generate empty laundry bottles here, as I use soapnuts (which come in cotton bags that I reuse for a variety of purposes) but I do buy milk in plastic bottles at times when I'm not milking goats. I have one of those bottles waiting to be turned into a grain scoop. They aren't as solid as the laundry bottles but it will do for a short time until I find where my second metal scoop has disappeared to. It's nice to have family help with chores but sometimes it takes me a week to find all the scoops and buckets afterwards.
 
Dennis Barrow
pollinator
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I was just thinking I needed a new scoop yesterday.  Didn't think of the laundry jug I have in the recycle bin.  Thanks!!

Plenty of milk jugs here.  I do use them for many things.  
Springtime "mini" greenhouses for plants, water jugs, cut them up for hinges, funnels, etc.  Must have 50 of them I use.  

That is if I remember to bring them into the shed.  If not, a nice walk to collect them after the wind distributes them into the forest.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
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I reuse old bottles (mostly milk and vinegar bottles) for water storage. The older storage goes in the greenhouse for thermal mass, and when the bottle leaks I cut the bottom off and use them for garden cloche's.
 
Posts: 38
Location: Kitsap County, Washington, USA
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I try to avoid buying things in plastic as much as I reasonably can, so I stroll the alleys of my urban neighborhood, peeking inside people's recycling bins for plastics they bought that I can reuse. I'm allowed to have one bin of plastics that fit in the "I don't know what I'm going to use this for, but it has potential" category, because if I took everything that had potential I'd soon qualify for my very own episode of Hoarders.

My old clothespin bag finally gave up the ghost--it was far too rotted, and beyond mending again, so RIP. Faced with a hundred homeless clothespins, I looked in the "plastics with potential" bin, and found the perfect thing: a jug that had once held Costco brand dishwashing detergent. The handle was large and set in vertically, and it looked like it would hang well from a hook or carabiner. I cut away the spout, making an opening big enough to comfortably get my hand into, melted a few drainage holes in the bottom with my soldering iron (just in case it gets left out in the rain), and voila, I have a new home for all of the clothespins, and one less thing in my "plastics with potential" bin.
 
Posts: 122
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Larry Pobiak wrote:....one of my mini-blinds bit the dust, so.....;
5. Great garden plant labels.  I use a carpenters pencil to write on them.  The writing will not fade at all!  Even years later they are just as clear as the day I made them.



I use mini-blinds for the same purpose in a little different manner.

I don't bother to cut an angle on one end - just send them through the table saw. When placing I just use my garden tool at the side of the plant or row, I push down about 4" tilt it and slip the ID marker in and push soil back around it. Works fine.

Also, I make my labels in a word processor and that gives me nice BOLD, sans serif, TEXT that I can add more info to, including date planted. and then just use a paper cutter to cut all individual labels out. I then apply those to the mini-stakes with heavy duty clear tape, which keeps the labels nice throughout the season. You can then use them the next year or just tape over with a NEW ID LABEL. Mine usually last a couple of years - if I don't mow them down!!
 
Jesse Glessner
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You know you are a "reuse everything" person when....

you have an entire corner of your workshop piled high with all of your cutoffs, scraps, and bummed up project materials!
 
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I have used pushrods from an old car engine to nail logs together. It takes a sledge hammer to drive them.
Worn out socks serve as covers for my dust mop. I use the lower halves of socks to contain/protect the sunglasses in my glove box. The upper halves work as sleeves to protect forearms in warm weather.
This last bit is going to take a little explaining. I play games that involve toy soldiers/monsters about an inch high. The usual way to store these models involves getting sheets of foam rubber and cutting suitable holes in it. I use toilet paper cores that I flatten, fold and flatten so it's nearly square in cross section. Next step is to cut them into suitable lengths. Finally, the cardboard squares get set into a box to form a grid with each square being a space for one model.
 
Posts: 3
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dog urban
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DIY GAME:
Does anyone else receive random magazines around the holidays that are chock full of stuff to buy as gifts like semi-humorous T-shirts and themed stuff for Cat-lovers and book-lovers?  Don't know how I got on this list--I never order these types of things and I keep calling to get off their lists.  But as I browse the pages this year, I'm thinking of making a game.  I would cut out specific pictures and the brief accompanying description of whatever that item is, and glue it to card stock, manilla folder, or cereal box cardboard.  Using these DIY cards, I'd create the rules to run something like Apples To Apples, or Blank Slate.  Something akin to the type of game where whoever guesses the best item to fit what the other game player would want, wins.   It's not highly intellectually stimulating, but it'd be a fun way of creating friendly conversation.  My family likes these types because it can include the old and youngsters, all it requires is knowing the personalities of the ones you're with, and the ability to "sell" your point of view. Humor would be honored extra points, of course. Maybe the point system would reflect the ridiculous price tag the company is selling them for.  ??  Has anyone else has created games from recycled stuff?  Thanks!
 
Posts: 59
Location: NW Arkansas
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Pearl Sutton wrote:When you have even corrupted your cat! In 2014 I modified a pair of knee braces to work better for me. The cat took the cut scraps and played with them. They are still, 5 years, 3 moves, and 1000 miles away, being tortured in the kitchen right now. My cat is a reuser! :D



My cats still play with a squirrel tail -- with mummified pelvis and foot attached -- their grandmother killed seven years ago
 
pollinator
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My favorite use for old (well cleaned) 4 liter milk jugs is for water. I line the floor of my deep freeze with them so that when the power is out, there is a sub zero thermal mass that keeps stuff safely frozen for days longer. In the event of a disaster, it also means a solid supply of clean water.

I lay cardboard on top to create a solid "floor" and no longer have to "freezer dive" to get to stuff on the bottom.

Next is old "lingerie laundry bags" they are fabulous for bagging produce at the grocery store.

Odd Sox are great coats for (small animals), or to cover a (bandaged) wound that needs protecting from bugs or picking on the leg or neck of a larger animal.

Sox also make great, literal, hot water bottle (jars/bottles filled with hot water) covers. Cold weather Hummingbird feeder: covering the bottle with a sock as a "cosy" supposedly prevents the sugar solution from freezing (although I have yet to try it). Same principle could possibly work for a small animal or chicken waterer?

Old metal bunk bed frames make super sturdy trellis, walls (covered in mesh), gates etc.  The mattress support is like a larger version of a crib side, both of which are ideal for over head drying racks/storage when attached to ropes on pulleys.

Inner tube rubber cut across creating circular strips for industrial strength elastic bands.

Oh, not so much a reuse/recycle thing - but a moving thing: we bought a few dozen solid rubbermaid totes, on sale, to use as moving boxes; they were ideal and not much more than cardboard moving boxes. Needless to say, the uses for rubbermaid totes is an entire topic unto itself, so plastic guilt is minimized.

NOTE: indelible sharpie is actually easily removed, generally, with a spritz of rubbing alcohol or lubricant like WD40.
 
pollinator
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Your Dear Wife throws away an "empty" toothpaste tube, but you secretly retrieve it, knowing you can slice it open and keep brushing for another week.

(Two weeks if it's the kind with a flip-open cap.)
 
Jesse Glessner
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I buy distilled water in 2+ Gal heavy plastic containers for my Humidifier.
In the spring I use the band saw to saw off the bottom of those to use a plant covers.
Since we have strong winds I make or buy 18" garden stakes and with my heavy duty stapler I attach the containers to the stick.
Leaving the top cap off this makes a great plant cover and is reusable and/or movable during the same season and maybe 2-3 or 4 years after.
These are usually easy to push down into the soil but if not just water the area for a while and then you will be able to anchor the container.
 
master gardener
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Your Dear Wife throws away an "empty" toothpaste tube, but you secretly retrieve it, knowing you can slice it open and keep brushing for another week.

(Two weeks if it's the kind with a flip-open cap.)


And, if you slice it open carefully, across by the cap,, rather than lengthwise, you can trim it to have a flap at the open end, add a little snap or other small closure, and have a tough little pouch, to keep little items safe, inside a purse, tool box, glove box, desk drawer, etc.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Carla Burke wrote:And, if you slice it open carefully, across by the cap,, rather than lengthwise, you can trim it to have a flap at the open end, add a little snap or other small closure, and have a tough little pouch, to keep little items safe, inside a purse, tool box, glove box, desk drawer, etc.


Now THAT is hardcore! Hmm ...
 
Jay Angler
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Now THAT is hardcore! Hmm ...

How's *this* for hard core? Or at least "safety first"!
stitch-ripper-meet-pen-part.JPG
[Thumbnail for stitch-ripper-meet-pen-part.JPG]
stitch-ripper-cover.JPG
*Much* safer in my pocket now.
*Much* safer in my pocket now.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Don't mess with this girl. She's got a stitch ripper in her sock!

(I approve. I used a pen cap to cover the savage tip of a carbide engraving pen.)
 
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I wanted to smoke a whole chicken but was out of cotton twine to tie it so the legs and wings didn't get overdone, so I tore up a scrap of cotton fabric that had outlived its original purpose. The scraps will likely get washed and reused as cotton cordage again.
 
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THis is so me:

You have a craft room filled with mostly reclaimed bits of things never intended as craft supplies or tools.

I also have several plastic shoe boxes ( so I can see what's inside; I am 'visual') for things like nails and screws and bolts and nuts, etc; and 2 larger, separate containers that hold the little bits and bobs of plastic like separators, shoe hangers, etc; because you have been in a picklement before where something  that would have been a certain shape or size and made of plastic would have done a temporary job of holding or fixing until  you can a better, long lasting repair.

 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 1413
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
365
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Haha, "picklement" is my new favourite word!
 
Kim Huse
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I was  born and raised in the country; if my dad had thought of the idea for the horse trailer to collect the christmas trees for the goats,and then used the  remainder to heat the garage with the wood stove, he would have done it.

This one, tho; now will have me looking for old microwaves in the future: "In the basement we have a wall of microwaves that we use as mouse-proof storage bins where we put small sacks of herbs, grains, seeds, etc. ' We DID use old freezers for feed storage; Dad would put a layer of borax down in the bottom to help control  the humidity  ( Missouri = humidity) , and we used  food grade  buckets and the large food grade plastic barrels  to put the feed in.

 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 663
Location: Utah
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Kim Huse wrote:We DID use old freezers for feed storage; Dad would put a layer of borax down in the bottom to help control  the humidity  ( Missouri = humidity) , and we used  food grade  buckets and the large food grade plastic barrels  to put the feed in.

When I was a kid my parents found an old chest freezer and sunk it into the ground to use as winter storage. Worked perfectly until the back rusted out and the gophers got in.
 
pioneer
Posts: 127
Location: western NY (Erie County), USA; zone 6a.
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You know you are a "reuse everything" person when.... after you found out that popsicle sticks make great plant labels you save enough to build a tiny house.
 
You're not going crazy. You're going sane in a crazy word. Find comfort in this tiny ad:
The Wheaton Eco Scale
https://permies.com/t/scale
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