Tag Archives: landfill

The Kids’ Menu

Kids Menu

My kids don’t eat from the kids’ menu. Actually, they quit the kids’ menu a few years ago. Not that we frequent restaurants on a regular basis, but when we do, my kids are quick to let the server know that they will order from the adult menu, which in their opinion should be the only menu. My kids then privately launch into their usual contempt for the way kids are treated in restaurants. “Why is everything on the kids menu made with cheese and wheat or breaded?”

“Here, eat this food you’ve eaten a hundred times before…The children’s menu is always available, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.” – Seth Godin

This link will take you to a great short piece written by Seth Godin at Seth’s Blog: The children’s menu. It makes us think about our habits, habits that have become automatic. And automatic meaning: done spontaneously, without conscious thought or intention. However, having said that, a lot of people will argue that that is precisely how they like their habits to be.

Daughter and I overheard: Parent saying to child, “Here’s your lunch.” Child protesting, “I don’t want to eat that.” Parent says more to himself, “I don’t know why we keep ordering Mac & Cheese for you, you never eat it.”

Most often tired and busy parents like to have predictable outcomes. As a result, they feed their kids food that they know they will eat so that they can check that meal off the list and carry on, without running late to the next activity. The problem being is that kids don’t develop a taste for real food or a healthy habit in understanding hunger and satiety. Most foods that are given to kids are loaded with sugars (often disguised with unusual names) and highly processed. The kids’ health begins to decline and body weight begins to rise and so the parent’s automatic reaction is that the kids need to exercise more. As a result the kids are then signed up for more activities, which leave even less time to practice eating healthy meals.

Habits don’t change automatically with age. We don’t just “grow out of it.” Most adults carry their bad habits from childhood.

Follow these 5 easy steps to practice eating healthy right now:

  1. Eliminate refined sugars from your diet (see the 50 alternative names, but not limited to, for sugar listed below). This includes cutting back on fruit. Do not eat copious amounts of fruit assuming it is a healthier choice. Fruit is nature’s candy. Eating copious amounts of anything is a habit.
  2. Eat a variety of foods. Try a 4-day rotation. Try not to eat wheat, dairy, meat or coffee/tea every single day. If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, try eating like one on i.e. Mondays. You will survive, I promise and you might even feel better for it.
  3. Prepare for hunger. Generally, we get hungry every 3-4 hours. Be prepared, otherwise we make unwise choices by grabbing what’s available as opposed to what’s healthful.
  4. Drink Water (the plastic-free variety). Make water your go to drink.
  5. Join the Plastic Free July personal challenge. By avoiding purchasing foods packaged in plastic you will cut back on your exposure to processed foods that have many grams of sugar added. Practice being in control of what you put into your body and what you end up putting in landfill. Plastic is a hormone disruptor and damages our health and pollutes our waterways. The same water we consume. Click this link to learn more about Plastic Free July.

Our habits matter.

 

List of some alternate names for sugar

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Reusable Kitchen Strainer-Bags

Nut Milk Bag

I like the idea of finding ways to reduce the amount of single-use anything I use each day, with the hope of not contributing to our already overburdened landfill destination.

Did you know?

Not only does it take a lot of energy (human and fossil fuels etc.) to transport our garbage to landfill but also an enormous amount of resources to maintain landfills; in some places for as long as thirty years. New landfills collect the global warming greenhouse gasses: methane and carbon dioxide, that are produced from the slow decay of garbage with the intention of using them for industrial/energy purposes. Collecting those hazardous gasses is a big job, perhaps if we all did our part it could be a job that need not exist.

Landfills are configured with special pipes that collect leachate*. If leachate seeps through liners, or from developing cracks, the leachate eventually finds its way into surrounding ground water, wet lands, rivers and lakes. Thus polluting the natural resources our entire ecosystem depends on.

Did you know that most old landfills did not prevent leachate from entering our environment?

Knowing this is definitely depressing, but realizing that we CAN, at an individual level make a difference each day by not contributing to landfill is very uplifting!

A simple reusable item is the Strainer-Bag or Nut-Milk Bag. I have a few which I dedicate to certain jobs in the kitchen.

  • For making Nut Milks (the same bag for Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Hemp Milk, Rice Milk)
  • A different bag reserved for making Soy Milk
  • For straining stocks (the same bag for Chicken or Beef Stocks)
  • A different bag for straining Fish Stock
  • A different bag for straining Vegetable Stock

I don’t always use the strainer-bag every time I make stocks, and on those occasions, I will simply run the stock through a very fine wire mesh sieve. The strainer-bag/ nut-milk bag ensures a very clear stock.

I don’t use plastic strainers/ sieves or nylon bags because I don’t like the idea of the food I am eating to be in contact with those substances. If I am to bother going the distance to prepare organic homemade food, milks and stocks, I think it is wise to consider the quality of the utensils and cookware used in preparing the food as well.

I also don’t like the idea of using paper-based products to strain my stocks, because there is a lot of chemicals that are associated with paper products, besides the fact that they are a single-use product.

 

*Leachate is a liquid that forms from the collection of “rainwater that trickles through a landfill [combining] with harmful chemicals and other particles from the rotting waste.”  Source: EcoKids

 

Envirothreads is a Canadian company based in Lindsay, Ontario. They make their products from various cotton textiles including certified organic cotton, unbleached and printed cottons, hemp as well as bags made from post consumer polyester (made from recycled plastic bottles).

 

Related video: Unwasted. The Future of Business on Earth (Full length documentary)

Businesses around the globe produce nearly as much waste as they do product — almost 110 million tons annually in the US alone. Washington State spent more than 500 million dollars on waste disposal, recycling, and composting in 2009. But what is the real cost to business and the community?

Filmed between Spring and Summer of 2011, “Unwasted” is a look at businesses and organizations in and around the Puget Sound who are leading the way toward a less wasteful, more profitable and environmentally sustainable society.

Sage Environmental Services is pleased to bring this project to you. For information on screening, obtaining a copy or learning more about the project & the team behind it, visit: http://www.sagebug.com

 

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?