I’m a bit green…at being green

You know what I love about being ecologically conscious? It's so frugal. I'm from Dutch people, so this appeals to me very much.

Take broth, for instance. Instead of dumping five bucks a box on organic free-range chicken or beef broth, I can make my own. Vegetable broth is even more satisfying. I just save up my veggie bits that I don't eat (stems, turnip tops, the tough skin on the onion, etc) and save them up in the fridge, in a ziploc bag. Then, when the bag is full enough and is just shy of smelling funky, I dump the contents into a pot and fill it with water, until everything is just covered. I add some peppercorns, salt, maybe some garlic, and boil for 4 hours. Then I have a whole bunch of veggie broth that I can freeze into one-cup portions.

I freeze them in the plastic containers I get my goat cheese in. So convenient. And it reminds me of something.

These people I used to babysit for were seriously ecologically conscious. To the point of being weird, I thought at the time. They saved all their ziploc baggies and rinsed them out to use again. Their aluminum foil was used and used again. None of their forks and spoons matched because they tried to buy everything at thrift stores so they wouldn't add to the landfills with their consumerism. Come to think of it, they had bumper stickers about GMO food, too, but I can't remember what they said.

This was like, ten years ago. My point is, they were much greener than I. Not that I'm competing. It's just that I'm noticing that we're all on the spectrum somewhere. Some people recycle and try to conserve water, but don't do much beyond that. That was me about a year ago. Now it's becoming more of an obsession. I'm kind of a lime-green,
whereas the people I used to babysit for were more of a full-on deep forest green.

I didn't think about the environment much until my hubby turned into an eco-warrior. We watched Go Further, that Woody Harrelson movie, and he started scolding me for using paper towels to dry my hands. Gawd. So then he canceled all our junk mail, which was awesome. Cut it down to two pieces of junk mail per day instead of five. Then, he bought a paper-maker where you can recycle your own paper into rather lovely sheets of stationery quality sheets. Now we save all our ziploc baggies, reuse as much as possible, and buy things according to how ecologically sound or packaged they are.

It reminds me a little bit of people in the Depression saving everything. I know there is a vast difference in comfort here, but trying to save things from the trash has helped me recognize the value of those things. It's like a light went on and I see everything through the scope of how long I can hang on to it. I see people who are more and less green than me all the time. And that's fine.

But I'm saving a lot more money than some people. And I don't have to take the trash out as much.

7 Responsesto “I’m a bit green…at being green”

  1. Catherine says:

    Ok, so I have always rinsed and reused my ziploc bags. But I was watching Oprah the other day (yes, Oprah) and they had a doctor on who said that if your baggies have contained meat or cheese you should toss them b/c even with a good washing, the risk of contamination is still high, since the bags are usually closed and thus become a breeding ground for bacteria. Any thoughts on the subject?

  2. DairyQueen says:

    I too try to reuse my plastic bags, but I have a special place I stash those that have contained meat or cheese (or sadly, decomposing vegetables). I try to hide them from the Potato Non Grata, who is sometimes freaked out by my frugality (he's afraid I'll become, um, eccentric like certain of my family members). I use those for scooping kitty litter, depositing friends' cigarette butts, basically disposing of anything you don't want stinking up your garbage pail.

    By the way, my grocery store sells recycled small, waxed-paper bags that are excellent for storing cheese as they allow it to breathe.

  3. Omniwhore says:

    Actually, I do reuse the cheese ones a few times, after washing. I figure it ought to last a couple of months or so without killing me. I don't usually store meat in a ziploc bag, but I would probably throw that away to.

    Hey, that's a good idea, to use the ziploc bags for yucky things. Maybe even for food waste that inevitably occurs while cooking -- that way the garbage won't smell as much. Hm.

    We have all of these ziploc bags from our previous life -- when we used to be members of Costco. I don't know what possessed me to buy 10,000 storage bags and 5,000 sandwich bags. And at this rate, they'll take forever to get through...

  4. Nosher of the North says:

    I also save my ziploc bags, after washing them and inverting them to dry.
    And lately I've been saving almost everything. A few days ago I made my own salsa and it produced so much liquid that I strained it and put the magic tomato-onion-cilantro juice into a mason jar and threw it into the refrigerator. I also poached some organic pears in the remnants of a bottle of port and another of old white wine that was sitting in the refrigerator. I saved the resulting liquid that we didn't boil into syrup to serve, and put it into a mason jar and into the refrigerator. Two days later I steamed organic collard greens over a mixture of those two jars and I must report that it was delicious! Of course, the liquid, which is now infused with collard greens, is back in the magic jar! I can't wait to see what it does next . . .

  5. bluetribe says:

    Hi,
    I need some help! I am developing a product and am trying to use recycled packaging for all parts etc... and for the life of me I can not find any recycled plastic zipper top bags, small enough for 12 screws and small set of instructions. Anybody out there that can help? I am also willing to hear any alternative that anyone might have???
    Thanks

  6. Nancy says:

    I do not use ziploc bags. I think it is too expensive to throw once it is contaminated with leftovers from food. I use contaminated plastic bags to wipe the oil off my cooking pots, that way, I do not need as much dish detergent to clean them up.

    If you have a pet, you can keep them to clean off their poo when they do it in the park. I have created a dog poo scoop that provides a space to store small plastic bags. You can view pictures and instruction at the following link:

    http://greenbeings.bravehost.com/scoop.htm

    Other than that, I also create with plastic bags. I created one to join Crafter's contest to displace plastic bags on earth and you can view pictures of my creations at the following link:

    http://greenbeingnancy.blogspot.com/2007/08/im-plastic-bag-eco-friendly-make-me.html

    Yes, I am frugal but not with words.

  7. warrior rabbit says:

    I'm rather curious about the paper-maker you mentioned. I did a quick google search, but mostly found things I didn't think matched your brief description. I'd like to know more about it...Details, please! :)