Tag Archives: Kitchen Tool

Rubber Bands

Big & Little Rubber band balls

What do you do with all the rubber bands you collect in a day? Maybe you have never thought about rubber bands before? In an attempt to cut back on what I put into landfill, with each day I become more aware of all the very minute details which contribute to the ‘stuff’ I throw away.
The rubber bands that I inadvertently collect, are generally from the grocery store, holding my organic produce together or sometimes the newspaper that is delivered to the house has one (or two?) to keep it folded; when its not sealed in a compostable plastic bag. I can’t think of any other instances whereby rubber bands sneak their way into my home.

Lettuce w/ rubber band

I can always find a use for something with elastic properties. I have used wide ones around stubborn lid caps to get a better grip in order to open them. However, I’ve lately turned to using my rubber kitchen gloves for that job.

So, while at this point I haven’t been able to completely eliminate rubber bands from entering my life, the one thing I can do is to make sure that they don’t go into the landfill while they still have a use. Over the years I started wrapping them into a ball and keep them in a handy kitchen drawer. I remember the day I showed my two young kids at the time, my super bouncy rubber-band-ball; with wide eyes they were speechless for the two seconds it took the ball to bounce on the ground and soar into the air, followed by shouts of joy and pleads to do it again. That was a great moment!

Here is story about Zack Hample who has been building his rubber band ball since the age of four. Now, after 32 years of adding to his ball it has grown immensely and weighs in at over 250 pounds. What probably started as a use for household or found rubber bands, turned into a lifelong hobby. Though it appears as though he purchases new rubber bands for adding on to his very large rubber ball.

Little Rubber Band Ball
Here are some ways to reuse or recycle rubber bands:

  • Donate Rubber Bands to a local school
  • To grip a slippery surface (jar lids, or put around shampoo bottles etc. making them easier to grip when wet).
  • Add rubber bands to hangers
  • A temporary fix for a leaky pipe until a plumber arrives.

How do you reuse your rubber bands?

 

 

Essential Kitchen Tool: Washable China Marker

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How can a washable China Marker be essential to the kitchen, you ask?

Eliminating single-use plastic from my life is a serious on-going challenge. Remembering to bring my reusable cloth grocery bags to the grocery store was the first step; how many times did I have to experience the pang of ‘doh’ as I would reach the checkout before my behaviour changed?

Oh, how one thing leads to another. From there I moved on to eliminating plastic food storage containers from my kitchen, pantry and for keeping leftovers. Simultaneously, I suddenly became aware of how the foods I chose from store shelves were packaged; almost all in plastic, even the ones contained in nice ‘earth-friendly’ boxes had plastic sealed sleeves. There were moments when I felt frozen in time, standing there in the grocery aisles, as shoppers would go whizzing around me grabbing items for their carts. I realized that I couldn’t just grab and go like I used to. I am now at a point where I don’t even bother going down certain aisles based on packaging. Funny, it used to be I only avoided products because of the listed ingredients. One change sure does lead to another. Back then, a part of me had woken up to the effects of the choices I was making — the short-term and long-term effects on my health and the health of my family. Before then, my focus had been so narrow, I was so caught up in cautiously selecting the most nutritious and organic ingredients, that I had been oblivious to the effects single-use packaging would have on the product contents (and thus ironically on our health) and on the health our planet, both in production and landfill/ waterways.

Healthy beings require healthy soil, air, oceans and planet in its entirety.

We cannot have one without the other.

To make a long story short(ish), one of the most essential kitchen tools that I have come across is the China Marker. It simplifies my effort in repurposing glass jars or using air-tight stainless steel food safe containers in the kitchen. In my transition to being less wasteful in the kitchen I started writing labels and dates on bits of masking tape and re-using them until I got annoyed with that solution; realizing that it wasn’t much of a solution because the masking tape eventually ended up in the garbage. I knew that there had to be a better way and that is when I happened to see it mentioned on Life Without Plastic’s site. Next was to track down the China Marker, which was easy: art supply store. It is wax based, and writes especially well on the outside of warm leftover containers prior to refrigeration. It doesn’t mark as well on cold jars, it helps to first warm up the writing surface with the heat of your palm.

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And when it comes time to wash the writing off, simply soak in warm/hot soapy water and rub. It generally won’t just wash away in the dishwasher.

Do you have any kitchen tips to share that can help us to reduce or eliminate daily single-use plastic waste?