Not-stupid investments

Many many years ago, I started reusing my Ziploc bags. It’s easy–just turn ’em inside out, wash them, then let them dry on the dish rack. The freezer bags are particularly durable; some of mine are three years old. The problem is that Ziploc bags aren’t renowned for their ability to stand up on their own, so they usually fall over and take a long, long time to dry properly. When I first heard about a thingy (yes, that is the technical term for it) that holds your bags open while they dry, I thought, “That’s stupid. No way am I spending twenty bucks on that thing.” Well, I finally succumbed and threw down the bucks for it a couple of weeks ago. And let me just say this: wow, I should have bought one of these things sooner.

Same goes for this compost bucket. I am a big believer in composting when you can. All through grad school, I lived in apartments with no yards or gardens. I yearned to have a compost pile of my own–and did, briefly, when I lived in Eugene, Oregon, for a summer while doing some predoctoral research. (I’ll write more about that experience another time.) I remember one time my housemate and I had a potluck dinner that was attended by about a dozen people. As people were helping with the post-meal cleanup, they asked, “Where is your compost pile?” (It was in the middle of the huge garden, in the side yard.) Not “Do you have a compost pile?” but “I’m assuming you have one–’cause, you know, this is the Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene-so just let me know where it is.” I loved that.

When I moved to the Mid-Atlantic, I was delighted to have a garden–and a small compost pile. And when Jan and I bought our house three and a half years ago, one of the first home-improvement things we did was built a compost bin (a “3-bin yard waste composter”–the free plans are available here).

During my entire composting life, though, I’ve been putting my kitchen scraps into an old yogurt container on the kitchen counter, then taking it outside when it filled up. (This is a practice I developed in Eugene. After all, grad students don’t have extra money to throw around on fancy-schmancy compost buckets! Well, maybe the engineers and computer scientists, but not the impoverished cultural anthropologists!) This system has the great benefit of not costing anything. It has the great disadvantage of stinkiness–particularly in the winter months, when trips to the compost bin are less frequent (brrrrr!).

So when I decided to get the plastic-bag-holding doodad, I figured, “Why not? I’m already going to hell anyway for buying this incredibly yuppified and overpriced thing–might as well add on a fifteen-dollar compost bucket.” After using this green bin (which fits nicely under the sink) for a few weeks now, I have to admit that I really love this thing.

3 Responses to “Not-stupid investments”

  1. Imperatrixon 12 Apr 2007 at 11:31 pm

    We dry our plastic bags on the spoons and things in the pot that hold hte kitchen cooking utensils. It ends up being like that doo-hickey you bought.

    Our compost buckets are those mega gallon-and-a-pint ice cream containers. Sometimes, *sigh*, we just have to buy a new one if one of the buckets cracks.
    Ah, the things we do for love of Earth.

  2. Marsha Brofka-Berendson 13 Apr 2007 at 7:09 pm

    I tried the spoons-in-the-utensil-crock technique and the chopsticks-in-a-glass technique, and neither really worked for me. I ended up with tipped-over glasses and water where I didn’t want it and all sorts of things that annoyed me. Your utensil-to-crock ratio is probably ideally suited for this sort of thing!

    You know, if Ben and Jerry’s came in those ginormous buckets, I’d so be using one for compost. Heck, I’d feel downright obligated to do my part to save the planet and go on a one-person crusade to provide those compost buckets (empty, of course!) to all my friends and neighbors!

  3. ariannaon 24 Apr 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I know this is a long-overdue comment, but I haven’t been keeping up with others’ blogs as much as I’d like to. In any case, I just wanted to let you know how glad I always am to see someone who is as into that kind of stuff (reusing, composting) as I am! I always love to hear about what other people are doing to reduce the waste that is being tossed upon this world. Way to go! :)