I have always been an avid recycler. My dad started me on it when he collected cans. We lived beside a main highway outside of Columbus, Indiana. The old state road was a dumping place for everyone’s thrown out cans. Dad would go out there and pick up bags full, crush the cans, and take them to recycling for cash. It wasn’t much cash then at pennies per pound, but he did it anyway. My parents were not hippies, but they were from the depression era before WWII when you had to reuse and collect things for the war effort. This attitude had the advantage of using things up or repurposing everything possible. Early recyclers, they taught me well.

I have three bins in my yard. One for organic trash, one for cans, plastics, and other food box recyclables, and one regular trash can. The basic recyclable can ends up filling up (over 33 gallons) in three weeks while the regular trash can weekly never has more than 2 kitchen bags in it, and those are not full bags. I tried to compost once, and it was a real mess and drew bugs that killed my plants, so I stopped doing that.

Along with recycling, I often read about sustained reusables and how to stretch the dollar and save the planet. I tend to use products made in America, no BPA, recycled plastics, or buy products packed in glass or recyclable materials. I buy eggs in cardboard containers instead of styrofoam, and am picky about reading labels for the recycle symbols. I am careful to consider eating out and if the place offers styrofoam take out containers or cardboard. All in all, I feel like I do my best to be a good earth citizen.  However, I don’t believe in overdoing for the sake of something better to do.

I read about these beeswax covers a lady makes to cover or wrap her food because saran wrap has toxins in it that leaks into the water in landfills. Now, I don’t use much saran wrap as I put my leftovers into reusable containers with lids and rarely wrap things in plastic. Except, I use ziplock freezer bags because I have not found anything better to keep freezer burn off of meat. I do reuse bags if I can by washing them and hanging them to dry in the sun. I use parchment paper or wax paper on the meat before putting them in the zip bags to prevent the raw meat from touching the inside of the bag. But I don’t make my own beeswax material to wrap food! That is going to far.

I pondered this at first, thinking, “oh, that is a neat idea.” Then I read the directions and thought, “I don’t have time for this shit”.  It is all fine and good but really, I don’t have the patience to sprinkle and iron, sprinkle and iron, to get the right consistency of wax melted on the cotton cloth I have cut with pinking shears to look pretty.  I also don’t iron my sheets or dress clothes. Ironing is another waste of time and why I buy wrinkle free things.

Put down the iron lady, because aluminum foil is recyclable! My mom would use it to cover food and then after use, she would wash it in the sink, fold it up and put it in the recycle can bag with dads collection. People often forget about aluminum foil unless they are grilling out. It is a handy item to have for a lot of reasons, but most of all because you can recycle it. According to research, it takes less than 60 days to return recycled aluminum back into a usable item, which is much less time than any other recyclable. I found out from my research that most cars contain recycled aluminum. You don’t even have to crush it or wash it anymore because of the process used to clean it, remove paints from it, and crush it into blocks at the recycling centers.

So, while I support anyone trying to do their part in sustainable earth-friendly products, I won’t be creating beeswax cloth to show my dedication anytime soon.

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