I often feel like the kitchen is my home. But I definitely didn’t always feel this way. I remember around 16 having the desire to help my full-time working mom by cooking dinner a few times a week. As a family of 4 kids, 2 parents and a handle of friends always around, I knew this would be a great way to help my mom out and show her how much I appreciated her efforts for our family.
The first day I decided to cook I remember like it was yesterday. I made grilled chicken parmesan with mixed veggies. Everything went perfect, until my dad cut into his chicken to see bright pink! It took me a few months to get the whole dinner thing down.
And although I have learned a lot in terms of cooking, and baking… oh boy was I a terrible baker. But that’s another post! Anyways, I still have so much to learn in the kitchen. Mainly because, well to me the kitchen is only where we cook our meals. It’s where we nurture ourselves, and our families. It’s an opportunity to work with our hands, our minds, and our hearts to create something that helps others grow. Whether it’s a young child going through a growth spurt or an unborn baby still in their mother’s womb. Sometimes it’s not physical growth but helping someone grow mentally to see that the color green isn’t really so yucky! And I believe much of the time there is a solace at the dinner table. A place for people to feel loved and welcomed in a world that other wise doesn’t make them feel that way.
Today I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with a sweet little girl I know to the local recycling center. I learned so much! And to my great surprise and excitement, it was learning that relates to the kitchen.
We ave all heard of the 3-R’s
And today, while speaking with the woman who did our tour she said she likes to add the “R” re-think! Since I place so much value on the kitchen, I felt as if today’s lesson was definitely for me. I learned today that communities (cities) get charged ($27 p/ton) for their trash pickup service, but get paid ($50 p/ton) for their recycling pick up service. I also learned that plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose completely. I also learned that by setting up a small food compost in my back yard, I can enrich my own garden while saving money on fertilizer. For me, and the stage of life I am in, taking a step forward to recycle is a win-win.
Honestly, I immediately started planning in my head all of the things I could do. But I have learned in my own life that by making one small changing and then going from there I get the best results. So i found a few ideas for myself and anyone who might be interested in changing your life – the effect you have on our environment, by stepping into the kitchen.
1. Pick one thing to start recycling – glass, plastic, paper or metals, and build upon it once this first step is a true habit.
2. If you pick anything other than glass, start re-using your glass. For instance, a mason jar can be washed out an re-used for anything from a drinking glass, to a flower-pot, to a container to hold soap and other household item.
3. Use foods in your refrigerator that are about to go bad rather than throwing them away. Now a days, between soups and smoothies, there is no reason to through away produce. And any other products, such as meat and dairy can be frozen immediately after being cooked for later use.
4. Re-use your grocery shopping bags or buy cloth bags. I find it most beneficial (because I forget to easily) to immediately place the bags back into my trunk after unloading my groceries.
I don’t think that by starting to concentrate a little bit more on recycling that I am going to change the world. I do think however that I am going to build something with in myself to be proud of, as well as character that will affect my life in other ways.
This first container (the one on the left) would be a great system for homes looking for sleek recycling, you could also try storing in one compartment bags for grocery shopping trips. The second (on the right) is great for portable storage. These bags can easily sit on the front lawn for pick up and could also be placed in the garage or outside if appearance is an issue.