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The Kitchen Recycling and Reuse Discussion


pastrygirl
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7 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

Task I irrationally hate:  cleaning fatty residue out of jars before recycling.   Peanut butter jars, chili crisp jars, olive oil bottles ... ugh!

Huh - does your recycling company ask for that? That went bye bye long ago around here.

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2 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Task I irrationally hate:  cleaning fatty residue out of jars before recycling.   Peanut butter jars, chili crisp jars, olive oil bottles ... ugh!

 

I think that's a perfectly rational hatred.  🙂

 

I despise cleaning those types of things as well. Some things go through the dishwasher rather than spending my own time trying to get the last little bits out. 

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6 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

There is the argument that the ecological cost of water, heating it, polluting it with detergent, sewage expense cancels benefits of keeping that peanut butter jar out of landfill.   

My area does not recycle at the household level. In speaking with L.A. County Sanitation the reasoning is that the wear & tear on the road of multiple large trash vehicles on narrow twisty roads makes it ecologically not smart - AND most people can not or do not follow direction on what goes where. A lot of waste goes to sorting stations where trained people rapidly sort out recyclables. Cost/benefit teeter-totter. Our new State mandate on organic waste recycling will roll out 2022 - should be amusing.

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49 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

There is the argument that the ecological cost of water, heating it, polluting it with detergent, sewage expense cancels benefits of keeping that peanut butter jar out of landfill.   

 

I think cleaning before recycling is for insect/rat control.

 

dcarch

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2 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

Yep.  Peanut butter jars do NOT go to recycling.  I'm just not wasting that much water.  Though I heard that you can put some grated chocolate in the jar with the PB and  microwave - delicious ice cream topping. 

You "heard" huh? ;)

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  • 9 months later...

Staff note: This post and the response to it have been moved from Batch cooking: one large batch, many small meals. Share your ideas!

 

On 10/19/2022 at 2:07 AM, FauxPas said:

Although they were said to be reusable, I didn't really test that much. They stayed in good shape after freezing and microwave heating, so I think they could probably be used a few times. But I don't know, would people here feel safe re-using plastic many times?

 

I do. We use, and reuse, and keep reusing our plastic containers until they fall apart. We wash them thoroughly between uses, of course. I think a reasonable test would be to wash the containers, allow them to dry, then see whether they (a) keep a greasy feel, (b) hold an odor or pass along an off-taste to other contents, or (c) *shudder* grow mold. I've never seen any of those things happen.

 

My biggest objection to sous vide and similar boil-in-bag packaging is the waste. I wash and reuse sturdy freezer bags (Ziplock, Glad, etc.) unless they're noticeably grubby with fat deposits or food stains. Such reuse is more difficult to do with vacuum-sealer bags, because they have to be cut open. Our area is beginning to have plastic-bag recycling, but it still isn't easy to find.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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20 hours ago, TdeV said:

@Smithy, not to be too OT, but can used vacuum sealed bags be recycled with plastic grocery sacks?

 

It may depend on the recycling program. Ours includes plastic film as well as grocery and produce bags, so I assume it includes vacuum sealer and freezer bags. I'm not sure how widespread such a program is.  For this reason I prefer reusable plastic containers to bags although the geometry can be problematic.

 

Edited by Smithy
Removed off-topic paragraph (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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20 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

I do. We use, and reuse, and keep reusing our plastic containers until they fall apart. We wash them thoroughly between uses, of course. I think a reasonable test would be to wash the containers, allow them to dry, then see whether they (a) keep a greasy feel, (b) hold an odor or pass along an off-taste to other contents, or (c) *shudder* grow mold. I've never seen any of those things happen.

 

My biggest objection to sous vide and similar boil-in-bag packaging is the waste. I wash and reuse sturdy freezer bags (Ziplock, Glad, etc.) unless they're noticeably grubby with fat deposits or food stains. Such reuse is more difficult to do with vacuum-sealer bags, because they have to be cut open. Our area is beginning to have plastic-bag recycling, but it still isn't easy to find.

 

Maybe I have it wrong, but aren't there health concerns with reusing many plastics beyond a certain point? Don't they start to break down before we visibly see the deterioration? I was concerned that the repeated freezing-then-heating cycles would speed up this process. These containers are supposed to be BPA free, but there are other chemicals also and not sure I would like to rely on them for an extended period of time. Short term, I wasn't too worried. 

 

I hate unnecessary waste also, so try to use my glass storage containers more often than other things. 

 

Here's an example of concerns over plastics and food storage. Lots more out there and I'm sure most folks here are familiar with the basics. Am I worrying too much? 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/18/are-plastic-containers-safe-to-use-food-experts

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I for one will reuse plastics. There are some plastics that "impart" a plastic flavor to foods,

Those are fewer and fewer between and are usually repurposed from other uses.

Be a bit careful on what you believe from articles. If there is no evidence one way or the other then that is EXACTLY what the state of play is, it is unknown. Unknown is neither GOOD or BAD it is unknown 🙂

If a substance is "linked" or "may cause" or "linked in animal studies" it means the author DOES NOT KNOW but wants to be cautious or in the case of media wants to scare or alarm you to make a story. Without the "scare" or "caution" the story is worthless to publish.

Here a little light reading that may change your view of the scientific method https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

 

 

 

 

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Be kind first.

Be nice.

(If you don't know the difference then you need to do some research)

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Different cities/counties have different policies, I think. For instance, Longmont, Colorado, where my sister and brother-in-law live, has a robust recycling program. Households have 3 trash containers for different items: a small one for normal (non-recyclable) household trash, a bigger one for organic waste (grass clippings, food scraps including meat and bones), and a third large one for glass, plastic and cardboard. The household trash is picked up once a week; the others are collected by a different truck less frequently. I believe the trucks are powered by propane, but I'm not sure of that. Certainly the sound they make is less noisy than a conventional gasoline engine. 

 

I grew up in nearby Boulder, when Longmont was considered a cowboy town, with a sugar beet mill and a rather horrifying turkey processing plant. Nobody went there--why would you? But my opinion has completely changed. It's a progressive well-run town with greenways adjacent to major streets, bike paths everywhere, and their own very fast internet service. They kicked out Comcast a long time ago.

 

That being said, I confess that I reuse plastic bags 2 or 3 times before I discard them. We do have recycling here in Pátzcuaro, but it's part of the regular trash program. Big bags hang off the back of the truck for plastics, glass and cardboard. What happens to that stuff afterward is unknown. I do see trucks hauling a small mountain of plastic bottles, but where are they going and what happens when they get there? Nadie sabe.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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@Nancy in Pátzcuaro  The Chapala gobierno started a recycling program in 2014...like your experience it was just separate bags hanging off the garbage truck.  A new administration in 2018 spent a lot of money on handouts and meetings, asking residents to use 3 different colored bags for varying recyclables collected different days of the week.  It was too expensive and confusing to the average resident.  Never got off the ground. 

 

In 2019 in our village a few gringos started a private recycling program.  They provided corner recycling bins and it caught on pretty fast with expats and locals.  Enter the pandemic, and it was halted.  

 

It started up again about 4 months ago but the truck that picks them up is hit or miss, but we have high hopes.  They have a 'recycling center' for sorting items.  In addition to volunteers, expats are encouraged to ask their gardeners to go a few hours a week, and pay them their hourly wage for time spent there.  I asked my jardinero if he was interested and José looked at me as if I asked him to leave his family and go fight the war in Ukraine.  

 

Dealing with trash is not glamorous in any country.  

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2 hours ago, gulfporter said:

Dealing with trash is not glamorous in any country.  

I watch the guys in the trash truck and it looks like a very dirty job. One guy stands in the truck and as the basura builds up he ends up standing on all that garbage. Yuck. Which is why we give them generous tips every time and a Christmas bonus. They deserve it.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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23 hours ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

For instance, Longmont, Colorado, where my sister and brother-in-law live, has a robust recycling program. Households have 3 trash containers for different items: a small one for normal (non-recyclable) household trash, a bigger one for organic waste (grass clippings, food scraps including meat and bones), and a third large one for glass, plastic and cardboard

We've had the 3-barrel system for many years in our part of southern California. It's all collected once a week. The newest wrinkle for us is that food waste doesn't go into the landfill barrel anymore. I gets bagged up and added to the green waste barrel. And, yes, it's a pain in the backside. We purchased a step-on trashcan that is in the garage. I add food waste to a bag for several days, each time twisting the top and holding it closed with a binder clip. When it's full enough for me, it gets tied off and put into the green barrel.

 

ETA: I am particular about brands of plastic kitchen storage. At this point I only buy Ziploc containers because they resist the oily build-up.

Edited by Porthos (log)
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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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30 minutes ago, Porthos said:

The newest wrinkle for us is that food waste doesn't go into the landfill barrel anymore. I gets bagged up and added to the green waste barrel. And, yes, it's a pain in the backside. We purchased a step-on trashcan that is in the garage. I add food waste to a bag for several days, each time twisting the top and holding it closed with a binder clip. When it's full enough for me, it gets tied off and put into the green barrel.

 

Same here.  I'm still trying to figure out what works best.  I bought a countertop container (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) to collect the food waste in.  It would be big enough for a few days worth but even with the lid, I end up with fruit flies pretty quickly so now I'm keeping it (and attendant fruit flies) out on the carport. When it's hot, it gets pretty disgusting by the end of the week.  I see people on Nextdoor saying they keep the food waste in their freezer until trash day.  No.  Sorry.  My freezer is packed already and I'm not dedicating a shelf to garbage! 

I'm thinking I might just as well start composting it myself.  Since I don't eat too much meat, I could compost the majority of the food waste. 

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My daughter and one of my sons who both live in different rural areas with no garbage pick up swear by one of these. Not cheap by any means! I am pretty sure we discussed them previously. Yes, here.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Everything here is recyclable. We have three or four different bins for different categories of waste. Everyone, including me, ignores the designations.

 

We all know that within minutes of our depositing our waste there will be a queue of independent recyclers picking through our trash for anything they can sell. You might need 500 plastic water bottles to get any cash worth having but one more gets you there.

 

Some people specialize. I've got my cardboard and paper lady who comes to my door and pays me to take away my trash. Similarly, the glass bottle guy pays me.

 

It's not that long since even human waste was gathered in cities and recycled to agricultural land. In the countryside it still happens.

 

A few years ago,a friend and I sat for an hour near a trash can on a busy shopping street with branches of McDs and local eateries etc and counted how many times it was searched. In one hour it was searched 42 times. Normal. Bottles, paper cups, Styrofoam boxes, plastic bags - all recyclable.

 

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

all recyclable

And here’s the rub in this country. When investigation is undertaken much of what we assume is recycled actually ends up in the landfill anyway.  According to most sources only about 9% of recyclable waste is actually recycled. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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7 hours ago, Anna N said:

And here’s the rub in this country. When investigation is undertaken much of what we assume is recycled actually ends up in the landfill anyway.  According to most sources only about 9% of recyclable waste is actually recycled. 

 

 

Yes. I don't know what the percentage is here, but I can see that it is higher. People ain't going to pay me for my trash then throw it away!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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4 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I'm thinking I might just as well start composting it myself.  Since I don't eat too much meat, I could compost the majority of the food waste. 

Several years ago we bought (at Costo) a 2-barrel composting system that has provided us with excellent compost, full of worms. By the time one side is full the other side is ready to empty. You rotate the barrels, which must be about 30" or more in diameter, every time you add kitchen waste and dry matter. Kinda like this one, only not as pretty: https://mantis.com/product/compost-twin/ Of course it doesn't freeze here, other than one or 2 days when it might get down to 30 or so. This has greatly reduced our trash volume, which now consists of non-recyclable plastics, paper products other than cardboard, meat, and various things like old toothpaste tubes. 

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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On 10/19/2022 at 10:42 PM, Smithy said:

Staff note: This post and the response to it have been moved from Batch cooking: one large batch, many small meals. Share your ideas!

 

My biggest objection to sous vide and similar boil-in-bag packaging is the waste. I wash and reuse sturdy freezer bags (Ziplock, Glad, etc.) unless they're noticeably grubby with fat deposits or food stains. Such reuse is more difficult to do with vacuum-sealer bags, because they have to be cut open. Our area is beginning to have plastic-bag recycling, but it still isn't easy to find.

I go the opposite direction. I seldom reuse my (off-brand, not Ziploc) zipper-seal bags, but always reuse my sealer bags until they stop holding a seal or become too small to hold anything meaningful. Those things are expensive!

 

I usually cut them rather longer than needed, for the first use, and then cut them open as neatly and as close to the seal as I can manage. After washing and drying they're ready to go again. With the full-sized bags, when they become too short to use conventionally, I'll leave the seal in place on the long edge and open the bag from one of the factory-sealed sides. That way I can use it a few more times as a small bag. It's a silly and probably pointless frugality (I'm sure I waste more elsewhere than I save on sealer bags) but it's what I do.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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