Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day the Little Farm Way

If you missed that yesterday was Earth Day, you must have spent the day locked in a dark closet. Did you noticed how Earth Day was all over everything - from TV ads, to the newspapers, to magazine covers. I even saw "ads" for Earth Day on grocery store shelves this week.

Without getting too political (that's the job of the Big Guy over here), let me say that Earth Day was not celebrated here on the Farm, at least not in the way that most people were celebrating. There are many "issues" wrapped in Earth Day that just don't quite jive with the way the thinking tends to lean here on the Farm. So, we skip it.

Don't get me wrong - we love our earth! We praise and thank God always and often for His creation. It is truly an amazing gift to be respected and studied and enjoyed! Because of this, we make a concerted effort to use the resources of the earth in ways that would be honoring to Him. We were put here to take care of the earth - to be stewards of it.

One of the ways we do this is by being mindful of what we do and do not throw away. The three "R's" are part of the thinking here - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We try not to buy things we don't need - including toys of which we have very few - and what we do buy is often from a thrift store. Conversely, when we don't need an item any longer, it heads off to the thrift store or into a rummage sale. We recycle lots - just ask our oldest son, Nate, who has to haul it all to the curb each week.

One of the areas in our home where I've found it easy to cut back on what we use is the kitchen. Please don't get weirded out here and, if you are a personal friend who eats here from time to time, please come back,...I've got something to admit. I reuse ziploc bags and foil and rarely use plastic wrap. I know - it isn't enough of an Earth Day event to get me on the Sierra Club's top 100 people list, but it is still a good thing.

The first time I ever saw anyone reuse a ziploc bag was when the Big Guy was in seminary. Our next door neighbors were preparing to head out on the mission field. I often saw the plastic bags turned inside out and stuck over other dishes while drying. To be honest, at first I thought it must be a missionary thing. You know, those people have to be very resourceful and all. (Big stereotype, I know.)

Over time, I got to thinking about it, gave it a try and realized, it just made sense. Why should I throw all the plastic in the trash when it could be use many more times? So, now after we've used a bag, I turn it inside out and throw it in the water as I wash the other dishes. They dry in the sink along with the other dishes and then folded and put into a drawer. I do NOT reuse bags that had raw meat of any sort in them.

I also reuse aluminum foil. This is really easy. We don't have a microwave here on the Farm so I reheat things like muffins and tortillas in the oven. I always have a couple pieces of foil folded in a drawer and ready to go. If a bit of food gets on these, I just wipe it with a damp cloth. I don't reuse foil that had raw meat on it or is really oily and dirty. You know what I mean.

Plastic wrap or saran wrap rarely makes an appearance in our home. I try to use bowls and such that have their own covers instead of wrapping plastic around the top. Sometimes I use foil instead. Other times, when I've a large item that needs covering like a pizza I've make ahead or a few loaves of bread, I wrap it in a CLEAN kitchen garbage bag.

Yes, I know - kitchen garbage bags are plastic. I've been through this in my mind several times. Here's my thinking - we don't use that many (to my mind) compared to the number of people we've got around here. I bought a box of 150 bags last July and we just had to get a new one in mid-March. Also, once I have used the bag to cover food, it goes under the sink and we reuse it in the trash.

So, there you go. Have I got you thinking about how you can celebrate Earth Day just a bit? Coincidentally, reusing all these items can save you a bunch of money.


  1. At least Hallmark is not pushing a new line of greeting cards the we must give to our wasteful neighbors on Earth Day.

  2. A few years ago I had a cousin come over for dinner. She asked me if I was worried about germs. I couldn't figure out why in the world she would just randomly ask me that. Then she pointed out all the baggies "covering" my large spoons and spatulas in the container on my counter. After I finished laughing I told her that was my "drying rack" and that I had washed them to use again. I think she thought THAT was stranger than covering up the spoons to protect from germs!!

  3. I'm glad Earth Day heightens awareness. I wrote about it, too.

    Good call on the baggies and foil.

  4. Dave - are you sure they're not? I'll have to keep my eyes open.

    Shelly - I dry mine on spoons sometimes, too.

    Anj-We got our son mud boots for his birthday last Monday so he can get muddy all he wants.