Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Last night my sister Priscilla did a house concert here. She told Queen Berta and King Pippin.  It’s an excellent story, and she told it very well.  We had about 30 people here hanging on her every word.  I can’t be objective, because she’s my wonderful sister, but everyone appeared to enjoy it very much.

We had food and drink beforehand, and a bit afterwards.  For the first time, we had hardly any trash after a party.  

A couple of years ago a friend gave me two dozen wine glasses, so we used those, along with some ugly plastic cups I’d like to use up and never buy again.  

Last year I bought some extra dessert plates on closeout from a kitchen store in Kansas City, thinking I’d resell them on eBay.  I decided to keep them instead – they match all my other dishes – and so we used those instead of paper.  

(I have a stack of styrofoam plates that somebody brought to a potluck.  I’m too embarrassed to use them, so they’ll probably live on forever at the back of my pantry.)

I almost used paper napkins, but instead I went through my cloth napkins and came up with a respectable pile to put on the table.  I know, I know, it takes energy to wash them, but they don’t go in any landfill.

The kitchen trash can was not even full afterwards!  I’m very pleased.

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Hehehe. Remember my keyboard techno-whine? I gave the keys to my friend D so he can make stuff out of them. He took them home in a resealable plastic bag. So that’s what it was for!

underwear bag with keyboard keys

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I got TurboTax in the mail, unasked for. “Try FREE before you buy!” I’m not even going to open the box. Why did they think I wanted this? If I wanted it, I’d go to the website and download it instead of buying a CD. The box is hard plastic wrapped in clear plastic. The CD is, of course, plastic. Maybe I need to become some sort of folk artist and use all this unwanted stuff, because I sure hate to throw it away. Remember those hats made of beer can pieces crocheted together? How about a CD vest? Or giant earrings? They do make good coasters, but I don’t think they’d work as plates.

Speaking of which, I got a cast iron plate for the stove that allows you to get even lower heat. It’s about the size of a CD. The instructions said not to cook directly on it. OK, no problem. I was thinking of making a grilled cheese sandwich on it, but now I won’t.

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This is really just an ad for another website: http://www.storyofstuff.com/

It contains a 20-minute movie about the stuff of the world – its creation, sales, and removal. Watch it, weep, then do something.

So I think I’m doing the right things, and then I realize I am not. I went to Target today and bought stuff. Our toaster oven has lost its little brain and thinks all toast should be black. I replaced it with a snazzy new toaster oven. Did I really need that? I bought three rubber boot trays to put under the bench in the mudroom. Not really necessary, just a useful item to keep things clean.

The more I pay attention to plastic and its relatives, the more I see. Right now I’m in guilt mode. Maybe I can get more positive.

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What’s the deal with sheets? I bought new sheets recently. (Tip: Don’t get the cheap 100% cotton sheets from Target. They don’t have decent hems and are very lightweight and rough.) They came in those plastic um, box-shaped “bags” with zippers. Are they recyclable? Who knows? The zippers would seem problematic. Are they reusable? Not really. When you get grocery bags, many uses arise. These sheet bags, or boxes, don’t lend themselves to any immediate use. I’d have to make up a use for them, which is silly.

Comforters come in these too. Fortunately, I found and bought two comforters, one for the guest bed and one for Willie’s bed, that were just wrapped with a ribbon, like a present. No plastic except for one tag-attacher.

The sheet bag-boxes are just more junk to go into places like the North Pacific Gyre. Where else?

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Oh, not really the wastebasket, because I’m putting this stuff in the recycling, but little better. (Where does that stuff go? Ultimately to the North Pacific Gyre, I know.)

I’d like to write a funny, lighthearted post about our silly dog and maybe something about how my foot is improving. But good golly.

I ordered some new sheets. OK, it really is time to quit ordering stuff and having it shipped in, at what cost to the environment I don’t even know. But (whine) I couldn’t find what I wanted in town, and this great mail order company had the sheets I wanted. (end whine)

That’s my bad part.

Then, the sheets were backordered in some strange way so that I got 3 separate packages, each plasticked, each trucked in separately. Two arrived on the same day. The other one the next day. That’s their bad part.

I like this company. I imagine this issue has something to do with their computer system, which doesn’t take into account that you could, say, hold all the packages backordered to arrive the same week, and send them together. I might write to them about it.

Eyes rolling back in head . . .

Maybe next time I’ll be light and funny.

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I don’t want you to think I’m asking for a pat on the back about how much we recycle or reuse when I write about what’s in our trash. I’m really looking at how much perma-junk our household of two reasonably careful people is creating all the time. We’re pretty good about reusing plastic. We’ve used the same cereal containers for about 10 years (acquired during a bad grain moth infestation). I reuse every plastic food bag as long as I can, until it gets holes in it or is too dirty to reuse.

This morning I had cranberry relish and Swedish crispbread, both being stored in Rubbermaid plastic containers. I made the relish last night, so in our wastebasket we now have two bags that cranberries came in, and a plastic apple bag with holes in it (not easily reusable). I threw moldy bread into the compost, and threw out the bag. I usually drink an Emergen-C, which comes in a little foil envelope – thrown away. We buy our coffee in bulk, using paper bags that are practically family heirlooms. I ran out of hair conditioner this morning. The bottle went in the recycling. How much plastic can we recycle? It’s still there, just in different form. Our newspaper comes in a blue plastic bag every day. Those go in the recycling. I wonder if I could get the carrier not to use a bag. I doubt it, but I can ask.

I went to Target but didn’t take my own bags. I made the checker consolidate, but I still walked out of there with two plastic bags. And what was in them? A plastic bottle of oil. A plastic spray bottle of environmentally gently all-purpose cleaner. A bag of sugar, yay, biodegradable! Mascara in a plastic tube, blisterpacked to cardboard for easy display and theft prevention. A new throw rug with a non-slip rubber backing (OK, 4 rugs so I can see which one looks OK) – what is that backing made of? Two plastic bottles of dish soap (2 for 1 sale). From the natural foods store, I brought out one plastic bag each of apples and oranges.

Oh gosh, there’s more. I find this critically important, and I can’t see how we’re going to fix it.

Take a look at the video below, Alphabet Soup, about the double-Texas-sized floating trash mass in the North Pacific Gyre. It’s horrifically fascinating.

Or look at the LA Times series on the altered ocean.

I’m going to go make chicken soup (chicken in plastic, broth homemade but stored in plastic, noodles in plastic).

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