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Waste Not, Want Not

By Judy Wolfram


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Let’s talk about reusing. I am so good at this that it’s not even funny. I am the queen of reusing, “The Grand Poobah” so to speak.

I’m going to start with the lowly bread wrapper. I love bread bags. First of all you get them free. You just pay for the bread, and the wrapper is along for the ride. After you have eaten the bread, you can use the wrapper to freeze meat, produce, berries you pick, or anything else that needs to be wrapped for freezing.

If you want to give a friend or neighbor some produce from your garden, use a bread bag. You can also use a bread bag to store produce in your refrigerator. It works for me.

My husband likes cookies with his coffee. But once he opens the cookies, he can’t reseal them. So, he pops them into a bread bag and closes them tight with a twisty tie or a snap-on clip.

Grocery bags are always fun to find uses for. I use them to line my waste baskets as everyone else does. I use them for things that I share with friends. Since I mail a lot of boxes to my Box Project family and my children, I have found a new use for plastic grocery bags. Instead of using those annoying and messy Styrofoam peanuts, I pack my boxes solidly with plastic grocery bags. Don’t forget--the bags are free. You just pay for the groceries inside of them. I use brown paper store bags to wrap up the boxes.

Let us move on to plastic containers. If they aren’t recyclable, they are reusable. The lids aren’t recyclable, so I use them to put an already partially sliced tomato on. It goes in the refrigerator on the lid, cut side down. I use the lids also to feed my cat her canned cat food. She gets her teaspoon of ice cream on a lid too. If I have just a small amount of coffee left, I put it in a cup and put a plastic lid on top. I heat my husband’s coffee in a special pot on the stove. In between warmings, I keep a lid from a three pound margarine tub on the pot. That keeps out anything that doesn’t belong there. I also put the lids under flower pots to stop water from running on the window sill.

I use non-recyclable containers to put my cat’s dry food and water in. I keep one on the sink to put food scraps in for the chickens. I use them to store leftovers in the refrigerator and freezer. You can write on the lids with a magic marker so you know what’s in them. I use them to shake my flour and water in for gravy. I mix up scrambled eggs in them and pancake batter too. I use them to store safety pins and straight pins. They hold buttons, hooks and eyes, change, pens, and pencils.

So many containers, so many uses.

I hope that I have helped you save a few pennies by reusing some things that you don’t actually pay for to begin with. Sounds like a good bargain to me.

(Judy Wolfram is chairperson of Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority, which oversees Cabot Recycling. Cabot is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for recycling drop-offs. Those who would like to be paid for non-ferrous metals and aluminum cans need to visit Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.)

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