Sustainable wax cloth?

Sustainable wax cloth?

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.


Bright Lights, Poisoned Water?

Bright Lights, Poisoned Water?

In my efforts to become more ecology minded, I have forgotten one of the basic recycling dilemmas…lights.  We take light bulbs for granted as we read at night, turn the switch on during dark storms, and flip a button to light our path to the trashcan in the yard. What happens to us when the light goes out? We change the bulb.

If your house is like mine, we have mostly halogen bulbs now. They last longer and seem to put out better light than old fashioned bulbs. However, if you read the fine print, these bulbs contain mercury. Did you know that some states have laws that prohibit discarding these bulbs in your regular trash? (

I was amazed that there are very few places that will take these bulbs for recycling. Often these centers are not available to the general public but are a paid service for lighting and electrical companies to dispose of their bulbs. Florescent bulbs also contain mercury so licensed companies are suppose to dispose of these bulbs the right way? How many do not?

I seem to be creating more questions than answers today. However, the first step in knowing more is to ask questions. I have found bulbs that are LED and are guaranteed not to contain mercury, give off bright light and last for many years. They are over $6 per bulb. (See picture of this Phillips flat LED bulb.) However, they will likely outlive me and light my house for the next owner. I have decided to buy them one bulb at a time as others burn out and look for better alternatives than this twisted halogen bulb that has likely leaked mercury into my drinking water.

Remember when you throw a bulb away like this, it will effect you or your children eventually. Mercury poisons our ground and seeps into the water table. It effects wildlife, plant life, and all human life. Investigate for yourself just what you can do in your area to make little efforts to preserve the ecology through not only recycling, but in educated purchasing. (

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