Posts Tagged ‘zero waste’
World renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson has a blog and you should read it. In a recent post entitled “By the Numbers: Food Waste” he shares key stats on our wasteful nation as well as four great recipes for using up leftovers.
In addition to advocating freezing, composting, cooking with wine and saving bread for various recipes, Samuelsson imparts one recipe each for a delicious-sounding soup, salad, slaw and taco. I love this combination of recipe ideas as a mantra for anyone with a bit left over after a meal—especially tacos. I often make soups or salads out of surplus dinner party fare, but tacos just make leftovers sound more fun!
The whole post reminds me of my grandmother who, borrowing from the tradition of Samuelsson‘s home of Sweden, would occasionally declare a smorgasbord lunch. She would empty out the fridge and put out little bits of this and that, some served cold and some served hot, left over from the amazing array of gourmet offerings created in her farm kitchen each week.
My roommate, Rubina, is an amazing cook and entertainer. I love living with her for many reasons, mainly because she’s a dear friend and a good sounding board on all of life’s most important issues. We discuss practically everything, but if you were to bug our place, you would find that well over half of our conversations center around food. Every once in a while those food conversations are comprised of brainstorming sessions over what we (read: she) could make to use up things in the fridge that are about to go bad. Rubina has a gift for trash-aversion recipes, which she says comes from growing up with immigrant parents who taught her the value of resourcefulness and the horror of wastefulness. I come from culturally similar stock, yet never cease to be surprised by the creativity Ruby employs to avoid throwing anything out. Case in point: the cheese crackers that just came out of our oven.
We had a wee bit of blue cheese in the fridge and, because our friend Glenn had recently blown our minds by making a quiche out of it, we had blue cheese baked goods on the mind. Also on the verge of expiring: a bit of cheddar and some buttermilk purchased for another baking project long completed. So, Rubina whipped up a quick biscuit dough, rolled it out and with the round end of an icing tube decorating tip, cut the dough into tiny circles and baked those into jumbo oyster cracker sized bites. She made two batches of buttermilk cheese crackers: cornmeal blue cheese and whole wheat cheddar. Our house now smells amazing. Bet you wished you lived here, too.
You know who else is great at averting food waste? My friend, Virginia of Italicious. I’ve featured her Reused Recycled page here before. If you haven’t clicked through her site in while, check it out. Their family recently moved back to Italy, this time to the South, so it’s the dawn of a whole new chapter of food talk and recipes. I’m sad they’re far away, but delighted to live vicariously through the yummy posts.
Bon appetit, trashies!
My friends Joe and Jasmine live a charmed life in San Francisco. I know because I read their blog, Beer at Joe’s where they chronicle their adventures in tasting and pairing and even brewing beer. Today, Jasmine posted her recipe for spent grain beer bread, an innovative way to reuse the grains leftover after Joe attempts a batch of home brew. Sounds delicious. And like it would make a good side to some of the Reused/Recycled dishes featured on Italicious.
As you may remember after my enthusiastic discovery of and posting on contxts earlier this year, I use a free texting service as a business card. By use, I mean I have set it up. But I haven’t actually had much use for it. Yet. And while I’m sure I will, this past weekend at a green festival in New Jersey is the perfect example of why the business card still serves a purpose. For the time being. The folks who came out to the event were not an iPhone bumping crowd. These peeps were too cool for excess gagetry. Which is why I wanted to stay in touch with many of them, which brings me back to the original dilemma: how to give out contact info without creating trash at an event where a lot of people aren’t carrying cell phones and even if they are, reply “oh, I don’t text” if you mention that option.
I ended up writing down my info on scrap paper, which is a perfectly acceptable solution. And even though the vast majority of social settings I encounter involve people twitching to check their mobile device every two seconds (myself included), I still want a “slow card” option. And it must look good.
Enter instructables. The other day someone posted a how-to guide for creating your own plantable paper notecards.
This is an idea I’ve thought of for business cards—as in having them printed on paper with embedded flower seeds. But now I’m thinking, a) why not make them myself with my own designs and b) why not use the plantable paper cards as small batch event take-aways with the name of the site and continue to participate in the paper-free mobile revolution for personal contact info? So that’s the plan. Stay tuned for tales of paper making mishaps as everydaytrash dares to ask: can homemade seed cards be sleek and chic? And the important follow up question: will New Yorkers plant them?
For more on paper-free digit exchange, I recommend this short episode of MobileBehavior called “Will Mobile Kill the Business Card?“. Industry experts weigh in, including my sister who has the best idea of all (no bias!): let there be music.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Elizabeth Royte covers the “Zero-Waste Zealots” in the trashy new issue of MoJo.
Really people, why am I always the last to know? I can’t believe that in two years of garblogging I’m only now discovering that in 2006 a group of Wesleyan students travelled around to five Ivy League campuses and made a documentary about diving in those elite dumpsters. Having grown up on a sucession of college campuses, I’m thrilled to see ANY effort to reduce the waste. I know homelessness and hunger are complex problems, but when walking around a college campus, especially the well endowed sort, it is hard to fathom how anyone could be needy in this sickly over-satiated country. Dumpster diving in college towns is so easy it’s more of a public service than a sport.
Of course half of the Princeton students (sample size unknown) polled on this collegate blog disagree that it’s a good idea. Shocking.
Now this is my kind of show: a piece of trash is your entry fee for a night of experimental sounds and sights known as ScrapCycle.
While in Zambia this week, I came accross a straw hamper in the waiting area of the Swedish embassy in Lusaka labeled “Chikumbuso“. It was decorated with an HIV ribbon woven from plastic bags and had a sign on it saying any old plastic bags placed in the hamper would be used to make new woven bags. It turns out Chikumbuso is a community center that serves widows, single mothers, grandmothers and orphans by running a school for the children and teaching women income-generating skils (such as how to make a bag out of old plastic bags). I tried to find the place online before leaving, but alas was not able to arrange a visit. I did find this sweet little video of the women singing, though.
Photo by LearnServe International, found on Flickr
Happy Friday. In lieu of a weekend news roundup, I give you an article so ridiculous it stands on its own. According to this dubious report in Pakistan Daily, Chinese companies are recycling used condoms into colorful hair ties. Now I’ve heard of creative reuses for EXPIRED condoms that have NEVER BEEN USED. Fair enough. But used condoms? While I know the claims that a recycled latex hair tie could give someone AIDS are totoally bogus, the psychological factor is just a little tough to get past. For the same reason I would rather wear a sweater knit from sheep’s wool than dog’s hair and would rather fertilize my garden with animal poo as opposed to human manure. It may not make sense—color me urban and sheltered—but I am not in control of my personal ick factor. But I tangent. The whole reason I was googling condoms and recycling and coming across articles like this little piece of comedy is beacuse I’ve been thinking a lot about green sex this week. It’s an uncomfortable reality that latex condoms add up and end up in landfills. The alternatives aren’t great. There are less convenient methods and less effective condoms. In discussing this with a friend this week, we agreed that there’s a real need for biodegradable condom. You know, one that actually works.
[The photo is one I took at the Toronto AIDS Conference in 2006, a close-up of a very fabulous dress.]
It’s been far too long to call this feature “weekly”. But I know you’re a forgiving readership. This week in trash news:
- The Trash King of New Orleans makes millions off of hurricaine clean-up;
- Oregon composts roadkill;
- A dentist in Pennsylvania is caught illegally dumping syringes and other nasty supplies;
- A stinky trash plant leads to popular protests and then a government apology in China;
- Canadian half-marathoners will be forced to carry home their own trash; and
- GM makes big promises to recycle.
Photo of squished porcupine by Sarah Britain via the East Oregonian
A new report published by the Institute for Local Self Reliance lays out the links between climate change and the amount of trash we produce. The central argument made is that a “zero waste approach” or heavy promotion of reuse, recycling and composting, is the most practical way to cut back on the amount of waste we generate that is inturn sent to incinerators and landfills which, as we know, are yucky.
If you’re into scary statistics, here’s one for you: “If we continue on the same wasting path with rising per capita waste generation rates and stagnating recycling and composting rates, by the year 2030, Americans could generate 301 million tons per year of municipal solid waste, up from 251 million tons in 2006.”
Fear not. If policymakers and citizens would just head the recomendations made in this document, the amount of solid waste produced could drop 90% over the same time period, which would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created by 406 megatons CO2 eq per year. I’m not sure what the unit megaton CO2 eq. refers to, but it sounds significant, doesn’t it? According to the report, it would be the clean air equivalent of shutting down over 80 smoke stackin’ coal burning plants.
I’m interested in your thoughts on the 12-step plan laid out by these good people. Reports full of numbers like this one make fantastic meat, but we have a lot of burgers to sling policy-wise to get this shit into law and daily practice. Here’s a link to the press release.
Note to NYers: the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education is great for practical facts on what the city recycles, hosts random recycling-themed events and is a lifeline to wonky reports such as the one covered in this post. Yay listserves!
Photo of children ripped from the OROE site.
Check it, this French guy has built a replica of the entire city of Paris in his backyard out of, you guessed it, trash!
Note: The caption says he’s been working on this project for 15 years and is only 29. Talk about life’s work. Perhaps I can track him down for a Q&A on lifelong obsessions!
Via Boing Boing! (Thanks for the tip, Brendan)
Check out this CNN bit on ecochic bags. Corporations are teaming up with designers to make use of leftover and misprinted packaging donated in exchange for the free branding. Image via CNN. Thanks for the tip, Al!