Monday, January 23, 2012

A Week's Worth of Plastic: Week 42

Last week we reached our goal of 20 items, but sadly the success was short lived. We reached 20 items a mere two days into our week this time. Largely due to a big house cleaning day last Sunday. The forecast was extremely disgusting, so there wasn't a whole lot of outside the house activity aside from the required attendance of school & work. We did do some downsizing (as we often do) and filled yet another box for donation. It's not only our no longer needed plastic items that go however. We donate a lot of clothing & household items as well.

A lot of the time the higher than desired numbers on our weekly plastic tallies are due not only to consumables, but to other items we already have in the house. Last Sunday I also made a pot of veggie stock while we were cleaning & reorganizing. I use (yes, plastic!) containers that are 1.5 or 2 cups in size to freeze measured amounts of stock in for convenient use. First reduce your usage, then reuse, then recycle. Some of these containers are from Community Natural Foods, which is located in Calgary (where we haven't lived in 2.5 years!). Sure the lids are beginning to chip, but they were designed for bulk nuts & seeds not frozen liquids. I'll do the best I can with what I have!

As you go about your day to day cooking, instead of composting or throwing away things like onion skins, garlic trimmings, green bean ends etc toss them in a container in the freezer. I find that two freezer bags full of veggie scraps (throw chicken skin & bones as well as seafood shells in too!) fits into my stock pot well. You can buy bones from your butcher or fishmonger to make beef or fish stock, but veggies are just fine too! Fill the pot (leave room so it doesn't boil over) with water and add sea salt, peppercorns and any other herbs & spices you like or have on hand. I usually include basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, coriander & a few bay leaves. Boil for at least an hour and strain through a fine mesh sieve into containers (leave room for expansion in the freezer). You can use this easily in recipes such as Rainy Day Potato Leek Soup, Curry Lentil Soup, Prawn Green Curry Soup, Coq au Vin, or (our new favorite) Fire Pot Soup!

In the meantime, here's the plastic junk we got rid of this week:

1. Chocolate wrappers leftover from Christmas
2. 2 Expired/Emptied vitamin bottles
3. 2 Seals from new vitamin bottles
4. Goji berry bag
5. Allspice pouch
6. 2 Pieces tape
7. Gasline antifreeze bottle
8. Wine glass stickies package
9. Makeup tube
10. Lid to glass liqueur bottle
11. Sesame seed pouch
12. Stickers on fruit
13. Pull tab from carton of chicken stock
14. Pull tab from carton of tomato soup
15. Pull tab from carton of almond milk
16. 2 Cheese packages
17. Keytag card
18. Garbage bag (not shown)
19. Curry paste (glass) jar seal
20. Healthy Top carton
21. Lid & seal to liquid calcium bottle
22. Daiya bag
23. 3 Christmas giftcards
24. Jar of face cream
25. Melted Ziploc bag- oops
26. Seal from glass peanut butter jar
27. 2 Bread bags
28. Salad tub
29. Pasta bag
30. Mustard bottle
31. Bandaid wrapper

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