“There is a privacy about winter that no other season gives you. Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” Ruth Stout
January has been a month of peace, quiet and intense beauty on Lake Superior. Snow frosted balsams radiate a charm that goes unnoticed during other seasons.
The face of the lake can change hourly as the lake refreshes itself, and the wind shifts. The lake dramatically changes from ice-covered to a few floating chunks of ice, and then back to ice-covered. Sporting new looks adds to the mystique of this enormous fresh water lake.
Food waste composes about 30% of our landfill waste. If left to rot in landfills it can create green house gases, and if it is burned, it pollutes the air. We can change food waste into a new healthy material for our gardens and plants. The end result of food waste is compost. No fertilizer or chemicals needed with compost!
I am thrilled my city, Minneapolis, is beginning to collect food waste for composting. You need to sign up for a cart by February 1, 2016.
Below is a great video about commercial composting:
If you have participated in commercial composting in your city, give us some tips to help us learn about it.
My series, 31 days of less waste continues. Three easy ways to cut landfill waste this week: ** Always use real plates, cups, glasses and silverware.
If you lack enough real dishes
for your party or dinner, borrow from a friend or relative. The quality of your party improves 100% even if everything doesn’t match. It will still make your event special. Using paper/plastic plates and glasses creates lots of landfill waste.
** A very wasteful trend has developed. Often the only water served at parties is water in small plastic bottles. Serve municipal water in real glasses. A great way to cut waste and save money is to drink water from public water systems. Run tap water through a Brita or other water filter and you have water better than bottled water. Water filters can be recycled at Terracycle.com
** Get in the habit of using reusable table napkins. Make your own napkins from remnant pieces
or purchase napkins from reuse stores. Use your imagination, wash cloths or bandanas also make good napkins. They don’t need to match, I like a contrasting colors look.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (EPA)
Have you ever waded knee-deep through the detritus of discarded paper, tissue, and ribbon after a gift-opening frenzy and thought, “What a waste”? Well, you’re right. According to Use Less Stuff, during the holiday season Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than usual—or 25 million tons of garbage. What’s more, many wrapping materials are not recyclable because they have a high metal content
6 Eco-Friendly Ways to Wrap Gifts
Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping using cloth. Take any square of cloth—a bandana, a scarf, or even a cut-up shirt or pair of jeans—lay it out in a diamond shape, and center the gift on it. Flip the southern corner of fabric up over the gift, tucking the cloth under if necessary, and bring the north corner over the top and let any extra material hang. Then tie the east and west corners at the top of the gift.
Decorate a paper bag with stencil or crayon.
Use an out-of-date map or some sheet music.
Recycle vintage containers, such as cigar, shoe, or hat boxes.
Incorporate environmentally friendly items, such as raffia, string, or strips of cotton or silk, in lieu of synthetic ribbon.
Use natural gift-box fillers, such as leaves, straw, pine needles, or shredded recycled paper scented with a few drops of essential oil.
My favorites for wrapping gifts are:
** Use washable, reusable shopping bags as gift bags
** I reuse the gift bags from last year for this year’s gifts.
Clean out the Refrigerator Risotto
Food waste is a waste of energy. Growing shipping and packaging of products takes lots of energy. What are your ways to reduce food waste?
I have always been intimidated by risotto, but after my recent trip to Eastern Europe and many delicious meals, I knew I could become good at making risotto.
This is my vegan, Meatless Monday recipe. Serve with fruit, salad and a veggie patty. Top with whatever nuts you might have, the garnish of cheese will make it vegetarian, not vegan.
Clean out the Refrigerator Risotto
– 1 small onion or leftover onion
– 1 cup rice (I use brown, white rice is easier and faster)
– 2 cups of water or more
– 1 clove garlic (optional)
– vegetables or leftovers to use up (I used collard greens , parsley, celery, and carrots)
– 1 tsp. salt
– garnish with nuts (optional)
– oil for browning onions and veggies. I use olive or coconut.
Stir fry onion in oil until it starts to brown, add vegetables and continue to stir fry for few minutes, next add rice for about 3 minutes and salt. Throw in any other left overs. Next, I add about 1/2 cup of warm water, stirring every few minutes, and adding more warm water as the water is absorbed. When the rice is soft and creamy, it is ready to serve. About 30-35 minutes.
After the rice and vegetables are slightly browned add the 2 cups water and place in an oven dish in the oven @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
We can all do something about this tremendous influx of trash and I will be posting ideas for 31 days on how to reduce trash and waste:
Plastic, what an amazing and awful product at the same time.! It is cheap and it is light. Unfortunately, it has become an enormous environmental problem. Many lack the personal responsibility to get single-use plastic bottles and bags to the recycle bin. Many developing nations I visit seem oblivious to it, except in tourist areas! Days 6 through 11 of #31daysofreducingwaste are going to focus on how we can have less plastic pollution.
So what is the problem with plastic? Many say the materials in plastic cause cancer. Plastic will never dissolve, but will break into thousands of pieces of litter. The plastic in the oceans will be here on earth for hundreds of years and it will be found in the intestines of many fish, turtles and birds. Plastic creates a terrible waste and litter problem. According to the http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/tag/plastic/ If left unchecked, there could be 250 million tons of plastic in the ocean by 2025 — about one pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish. We can’t let this happen.
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid
** The best way to reduce plastic trash is NOT to drink bottled water. Bring a reusable water bottle to work, school, and for all your adventures.
**Avoid plastic bags. Always bring your reusable shopping bags.
** How can you avoid baggies? I love these compostable wax paper bags
** Reuse and recycle all plastic bags.
* Reduce packaging: Try to purchase items with no packaging or packaging that can be recycled.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)