Monday, April 13, 2009

Green in the Kitchen pt 2 leftovers, composting and recycling

Happy belated Easter to all! We had a wonderful Easter/birthday weekend for our daughter full of family(and of course presents and candies). In keeping with our 'green' theme, I had a moment of brilliant thought and used a handmade dolly moses basket(from Anklebiters on for my daughter's Easter basket. It was going to be a birthday present but we realized now is the time for a trike so that was her birthday present instead. She loves to carry it around with Becca in it and tuck her dolly in for a nap.

On to Kitchen Green!

Couple leftover things from the previous post that well, deal with leftovers. Ziplock bags and Saran wrap/foil. Sometimes, there's just no way around using them. So I'm all for it, just on a reduced and recycled basis.
For ziplock bags/thing needing saran wrap we try to use rubbermaid or tupperware type containers with lids instead. Everything from snacks to leftovers in the fridge to taking lunch to work. We have a handy rubbermaid set from Target that came with an organizer and 3 sizes of containers for 20$. It is used every single day. Two of the containers use the same size lids, even better. Another option is prex dishes. A lot of them come now with lids, too, which is pretty nifty. Ideally I'd like to use those more, but the rubbermaid is a bit easier to grab at the moment. When they are worn out, I'll probably use more pyrex and save plastic stuff for travel containers. If you need to use a ziplock bag, try to wash it out, dry and reuse it(do not reuse bags that have had meat in them).
A new product sold on the site(I swear I don't get paid to plug them in!) are Foilers. Here's the scoop on this cool item from

'The Story of Foilers
One evening in 2004, after a day of diaper sewing, I needed to cover some leftovers in a 9 x 13 inch pan. I was out of plastic wrap. I didn't have enough tin foil. Then, I had a brainstorm. After a little measuring, cutting, and sewing, the first Foiler was born. It worked perfectly! So, in the days soon after, I worked to develop more sizes. I tested these on my friends and family and everyone loved their Foilers.

What Foilers Are
Foilers are an earth friendly innovation--an alternative to using plastic wrap or foil when storing food. They are made of a layer of waterproof PUL fabric, a layer of woven cotton print fabric, elastic binding on the edges and an elastic pull tab.

Over the years, I have had special requests to make Foilers as large as a wheelbarrow, but the five standard sizes will easily fit just about all of your dishes.'

Kitchen compost and recycling:
I grew up with my mom composting things from our kitchen. She used a gallon ice cream bucket with a lid and put it on the counter or under the kitchen sink. During the summer it was emptied frequently so it rarely if ever got smelly! I know, not the most glamorous vessel out there but if you're really wanting to go ultra recycling/green, use a similar container from your home. (We don't eat ice cream by the gallon so that wouldn't work for us). We opted for a little more style and got a stainless steel bucket with lid and handle. It's stood up to plenty abuse and looks as nice as a compost bucket can. Seeing as I have nil counter space, it generally goes under the kitchen sink.
'But wait, what the heck goes in it?' Oh yeah, I suppose that would help to know. Summed up, just about anything from your kitchen save for meat, bones, fat, grease and milk products. Also pits can't be composted if I remember correctly. But the end of the loaf of bread you hate to eat or moldy bread? Throw it in there. Egg shells? The best! Veggies you let spoil, cuttings from veggies and fruits, banana peels, coffee grinds, tea bags, even lint and newspaper! Throw it all in! The only thing you want to keep in mind is the size of most things. Example, cantalope(musk mellon) rinds. Those need to be cut up into large chunks. Newspaper should be shredded into strips. Banana peels, however, can go right in as is. You'll be surprised just how much you accumulate that you Were throwing into the trash!
This is just the tip of the iceberg in composting and we'll get into what to do when your bucket is full shortly. In the meantime, here's a link to some different types of fancy containers you could buy:,default,sc.html

Last up for the day: Recycling

My trash can is in the kitchen, so that's how this ended up in this section(really little house!). Seeing as most places have a great recycling program now, it feels a bit unneccessary but just in case we'll talk briefly about it.

The best way to assess how well you are doing with recycling is to think about what you have in your hand as you are walking to the trash can. What is it? Can it be recycled?

Glass, aluminum cans, foil, paper, metal cans, paper bags, cardboard, junk mail, shredded paper, phone books, food boxes, plastic containers and more can all be recycled. That's a lot! And that's a lot that gets thrown away every day instead of recycled. So what do you do with this recyclable material now that it's in your hand and you don't want to put it in the trash?

Make a system that works for you! A paper bag under the counter works great. Maybe you have room for a special bin next to the kitchen in a mud or wash room. Seeing as my kitchen has a walkway of 3x9, space is a premium. What we've done is kept a plastic container(old recycling bin) just outside the side door which is just off the kitchen. Sometimes I'm lazy and make a little pile on the stove before making that looong trip to open the door and toss it outside. But when the outside bin is full I am able to empty it into the larger bin that is used by the city in their recycling program. We are really lucky to have a 'Curbit!' program so I don't have to drive it anywhere like my parents did when we were growing up. Even if you don't have a convenient program like this, it is still important to do as much as you can and make recycling a priority.

There are some things that shouldn't be recycled: frozen food boxes(has to do with a coating on the cardboard) pizza boxes, hazardous chemical containers, yard clippings/leaves, etc. Check with the city in your area to see what they cannot take.

Clear as mud? I hope so! Happy almost over Monday.


Blog designed by PIP Designs