American Elephants


Household Hints from The Elephant’s Child by The Elephant's Child

To successfully manage the contents of your refrigerator, you need a collection of ZipLoc plastic containers with lids. You’ll need 8-10 in a standard square shape, and some larger ones into which the standard size should fit. You will inevitably find the need for some different sizes, but try to restrain yourself. A rubber band around the lids will help keep them tamed, but every time you reach for one they will all spill out all over the floor. (My grocery sells ZipLoc, but I am not recommending any brand). The reason for getting significant numbers is that when you have to replace them, the new ones will not fit, nor will the lids.

Seven containers should be enough for a week’s leftovers. That’s why stackable matters. By the time the stack gets too tall, it’s time to inspect the containers on the bottom, several of which should be covered in a colorful yellow, white and green mold. This may safely be discarded. You can put the remnants in your garbage disposal, but any fat left in the discarded leftovers will cause stuff to adhere to the walls of your plumbing pipes, which will eventually mean calling a plumber.

Never grind up artichoke leaves, it will mean the end of your disposal.

Garbage disposals are not really meant to grind up much of anything, you should put it all into those little green cornstarch bags to go to the recycling plant to be turned into humus. Unfortunately, any moisture in the stuff you put into the little green bags will eat big holes in the little green bags, probably spilling the contents all over your floor if you are not careful, and you will have to use another bag on top of the holey one.

Your refrigerator is there to comfortably preserve your leftovers until it’s time to throw them out. Garbage disposals are only slightly useful, and should be only lightly used, just ask your plumber. You should not use regular lightbulbs, because the industry has found they can make other types in China and save tons of money—while charging you several times as much for new types that don’t work as well, especially for reading.

When the bulbs burn out you will have to take them to a special place for recycling, the recyclers won’t take them. We currently have 3 cans: yard waste, garbage, and recycling, and long lists of what is not acceptable in each can. The non-acceptables can be taken to the city dump (landfill) for a fee, those things which are non-acceptables but should still be recycled go to a monthly recycling event held in a nearby church’s parking lot, or for special, special recyclables there are other events, and special places.

Seattle was going to send out garbage police to make sure you weren’t putting anything in your garbage that could be recycled, with large fines in mind, but I think someone filed suit.

Eat out as much as possible.

You’ve probably seen Penn and Teller’s commentary on recycling, but it remains funny. (Language! — It’s Penn & Teller)


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