Monday, June 23, 2008

Aiding and Abedding

One immediate issue that we faced in our new kitchen was a lack of space. Our kitchen is MUCH bigger than the one we had at our old house, but somehow there was still a considerable lack of counter space and storage. We managed to find a place for all of our things, but when it came to recycling, we just couldn't figure out where to PUT the stuff.

There are lots of containers out there, but we had no room to place one. We have nice, large, cans outside to contain the recyclables before they head off to the centers, but we needed a spot INSIDE too. So. Wall-ah. We figured it out. Not only did we add more counter space which helped the entire kitchen feel bigger overall, but also, since we already had a place for pots and pans, the new under storage became a fantastic little recycling center for us. So far, it's working out great. And, I will proudly boast that this little piece of furniture was sold with love from a woman who owned it for 20 years, and it smells perfectly of antique furniture. So it, is itself, recycled. Yeah!! I feel like such a do-gooder, plus the bonus that I actually like the look of this little cupboard. The base is wood-- paint and natural, and the top is enamel.

There's room for a large tub (that we already had) to hold mixed containers (glass, plastics, odd sized paper) and then a top shelf and a hanging basket on the door that are working perfectly to hold paper, magazines, and newspaper. Oh, and it's also provided us with a new drawer for clean cloth napkins, and a drawer (hamper) for "used" cloth napkins, and a drawer for potatoes. Everyone needs a potato drawer, right? Hmmm... and speaking of potatoes... stay tuned, I think I will post my new, fantastic and healthy baked potato ship recipe.

Do Something Drastic...

Cut the plastic!

If you have been reading my blog over the last few months, you know that my husband and I are trying, daily, to cut down our use of plastic bags. We have three reusable bags now-- all of different designs and all working for varying, wonderfully handy purposes. I am going to bring it up again, since my cousin in DC was so sweet to send me some new statistics. They are pretty astounding and I think, simply worth mentioning. So here we go.

1. If you use a cloth bag, you can save 6 bags a week from going to our landfills.

2. That's 24 bags a month.

3. 288 bags a year.

4. 22,176 bags in your lifetime.

That depends of course, entirely on your personal style. (How often do you shop? How regularly do you stop in at the pharmacy, at the grocery store, at the shoe store, buy one item, and walk out with a plastic bag? I honestly think that these numbers are conservative. Especially if you watch people coming out of the grocery store with 20-30 plastic bags on each arm.)

5. If 1 out of 5 people in our country alone cut out the use of plastic bags, that adds up to 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our lifetime.

6. And it's interesting to point out the phrase "in our country alone." Here is a list of countries that have either banned the use of plastic bags or are on their way to getting them banned. Please notice which one is missing.

Canada
Israel
Western India
Botswana
Kenya
Tanzania
South Africa
Taiwan
Singapore
Rwanda
Bangladesh
China

7. Even more interesting, to me, is that Ireland started TAXING the use of plastic bags in 2002 (instead of banning them) and by doing so, in 6 years has managed to reduce plastic bag consumption by 90%.

8. There is ONE U.S. city that has banned the use of plastic bags: San Francisco. There are two more on the way: Oakland, CA and Boston, MA.

9. When you stop using plastic bags, you reduce the amount of oil used in manufacturing them (Yes-- plastic bags are made from oil. The same oil you are paying $4.00 a gallon for at the pump.)

10. China banned the use of plastic bags and will save 37 million barrels of oil each year in doing so.

In conclusion, I'll repeat a favorite old saying from years gone by:

Give a hoot, don't pollute.