Monday, May 17, 2010

Week 20: The Disposable Life

I realize I owe a #7. Spoiler alert: it's gardening. But it doesn't mean shit without photos, and I ain't got none. I will post some later, when the sun's out and I can take decent photos.

Given that I'm all about celebrating nature these days it seemed an appropriate time to trot out the ol' environmental guilt card and try to go disposable-free for a week. I can't do too much about the amount of paper/disposables that is foisted on me by others -- say, when someone gives me a cupcake in a paper liner or on a paper napkin, it's still a cupcake and it's still going in my mouth -- but I can at least curb my use. Some things get exception -- products that hold nasties, like toilet paper and ::cough:: tampons, I'll continue to use and toss without guilt. But everything that is easily replaced with something washable/reusable, including paper towels, tissue, plastic wrap, plastic bottles, paper napkins, aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic flatware, all of those things are out of my life for seven days. And those things that are intended to be disposable that I have already, I will reuse wherever possible. That also means no take-out. BOO. I guess that BK pork fritter sandwich is going to have wait 'til next week.

I am a particular abuser of paper towels, something my mom finds horrifying even though I've gotten much better about it. I grew up in a rag-using household. Mom had all kinds of systems -- when t-shirts became unwearable, they were cut up and made into rags. (And let me tell you, it takes a LOT of holes for a t-shirt to be unwearable by my mom's lights.) When washcloths became too worn out, they were downgraded to dishcloths. And the bottom rung for everything was toilet-rag. Yes, Mom eschewed the toilet brush entirely as ineffective, and she would just go all up in the bowl with a rag. I made an abortive attempt at going paperless for household cleaning a while back, and to get started I bought a gigantic bag of white terrycloth shop rags at Costco. Mom, as you can imagine, was aghast at the idea of buying rags. She was like, they're RAGS. You've got pre-rags all over your house! I would feel bad using these to clean things -- they're too clean themselves!

And now the word "rag" is starting to sound really weird to me.

Anyway. I blew it yesterday because I made chicken nuggets at AJ's request, and out of force of habit, used paper towels to line the (reused) pie tin that I drained them in. And I almost blew it today when I went to the bathroom at work and went to grab a paper towel to try my hands. There are no hot air dryers here, so I had to use my pants like a toddler (or a dude.) And now my butt is cold. Oh wait -- I did blow it today -- I used a paper napkin for lunch. Shit! I guess I better bring in a cloth napkin for tomorrow.

I'm also beginning to think that I should re-set my week challenges to start on Monday, since that seems to be the way it's going. I dunno.


  1. We have mainly gone without paper towels/napkins at home but I've found just a few things that seem to require paper towels - ok after thinking about them they don't "require" them, but it seems like it's more worth the sacrifice. One is seasoning cast iron pans. A rag would probably be better, but then you would have to store your special cast iron seasoning rag somewhere or use a new one every time, what a pain. And also, as you mentioned, draining greasy foods. It's not very environmentally friendly to put grease down the drain (including washing it out of a rag) so we dump our grease in our yard or solidified grease in the trash. You can also drain food on brown paper bags or newspapers if you have those around though(we never do).

  2. I did drain homemade french fries on newspaper yesterday -- it's great when I think of it because we have so much damned newspaper in the house it's a nice way to use some of it. I like to use it to clean glass, too.

    You dump grease in your yard? Where? I bet you just toss it out the window, you fuckin cholo.