Sustainability and Tips for Going Green for Life

Eshtaol Forest, Rabin Park, Israel (public domain)
Eshtaol Forest, Rabin Park, Israel (public domain)

Why Do We Waste?

Not only do we need to continually develop new resources of renewable energy, but also to increase the actions of waste reduction. This seems to be all-around good stewardship of our environment and the resources available to us. Surely, we were not put on Earth in order to waste it.

Unfortunately. some individuals seem to think that they can waste whatever they please and that additional amounts of resources will be handed to them. At some point, we must ask, "From where?" The unlimited storeroom in the sky really does not exist.

Some of these are the same folks that told their children that money does not grow on trees.

Some of these deluded souls are now finding that they must work two full-time jobs well into their 70s, because they have a spending addiction and cannot pay their taxes. And some of their houses are full of plastics of all sorts that will exist forever.

All this aside, good stewardship and refraining from waste are the alternatives to a throw away society and giving in to spending addictions, in my opinion.

There is one particular TV program that is a good advocate for greener living, because it provides an overly-obvious example of high consumption gone awry.

Things to Change

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Plastic cups.Plastic bagsThe ghosts of the past?
Plastic cups.
Plastic cups. | Source
Plastic bags
Plastic bags | Source
The ghosts of the past?
The ghosts of the past?

We Must Use Less Plastic

One good way in which to live a greener, less wasteful life, is not to follow the advice and directions of a local late-night cooking show that uses a full box of large plastic zipper bags daily and throws them into the trash, each still half filled with freshly made food.If this show were a child, its allowance might be reduced or suspended until the parent taught him or her good stewardship and the value of money and energy.

This particular lower-budget TV program strikes me as an advocate of extreme consumerism that is unnecessary. I only watch a few moments of it now as I flip to PBS!

One particular episode showed seven 10-year-old girls wearing cheaply-made plastic tiaras that cost $15 each from a local high-priced party store.

The youngsters were being taught to fill 10 1-gallon-size plastic zipper bags with different colors of cake fronting, to frost only two cupcakes each, and then to throw the half-full bags into the trash. This is good training for a consumer's future.

The tiaras were also thrown away after the girls ate their cupcakes form disposal pink plates - "We can get more for next time."

The frosting was ready-made frosting to which food coloring was added. This might be fun and wasteful, but it's not cooking. This does not seem to be a cooking show at all.

Every episode is like this, so I avoid it altogether. One more crackle of non-recylcable plastic bags would have popped a main artery! That reminds me of all the plastics used in the medical and healthcare field and I hope these will be switched over to biodegradable sorts as much as possible.


The Throw Away Society

A book first published in the early 1970s entitled The Greening of America discussed the faults of an American throw-away society, and a cooking program such as this one is a perfect example of that disposable society.

This TV show reminds me of the stereotypical millionaire that lights his cigars with hundred dollar bills or the newly rich person that drives down the main boulevard of the city while throwing cash like confetti out of the car windows.

First of all, this is a cooking show with no cooking. This lack of cooking means to me that a cook does not have one of the following:

  1. Time enough to create a food dish, or
  2. Skills or patience enough to make the dish.

I hope that it does not also connote that a person may be too lazy to snobbish to get "dirty" in the cooking process, e.g. "I'm too good to cook." Or perhaps they don't know how to cook and are simply pretending to think it is a low-life vocation. Some people detest cooking. That's fine -- Just don't act like you're too good to do it, I say.

Not a Green Idea - "Bag O' Omelet"

Alternatives to Plastic Waste

Smart Food Preparation Can Help

The most blatant waste on this show is the practice that is central to each and every episode. This practice is the constant use of gallon-sized plastic zipper bags only once and then tossing them into the trash still half full of a recently made food product. The food product is often unhealthy itself (sugar and grease or som e such) and throughout the episode, the hostess holds her head at a self-conscious tilt indicating as she presents her weekly project

The hostess puts frosting or mashed potatoes into a bag, cuts off one corner and pipes the food inside onto a cake, a cupcake, or a roast; but then throws out the bag with the rest of the food in it, all to lay in waste dumps for over a century. Sometimes she uses ketchup in the bag to decorate sandwiches. A few times, she put cookie dough into to plastic bags in order to pipe cookies onto a baking sheet so she does not "dirty up a spoon and her fingers." I think she always used a spoon to put the dough in the bag first, though...

I advise not to use plastic bags to pipe frosting and mashed potatoes. Use muslin or canvas piping bags that are easily washable and reusable for many years - and not really expensive, either - $4.00 for one large bag at our cook's supply store and on the Internet, sometimes cheaper.

Some Other Great Alternatives:

  • A good disposable choice is a brown paper bag or butcher paper from which you cut a large circle. Roll up the circle into a cone, fill with frosting, potatoes, or whatever, cut the point off the bottom and pipe away. Use all the food or store the remainder in a glass jar with a lid in your refrigerator, wash the paper off and recycle it.
  • I don't use paper towels or plastic refrigerator containers any longer. I do use cloth towels, glass jars with lids, and a compost pile. For freezing foods, I have a small set of containers that will last me the rest of my natural life.
  • Instead of plastic bags, you can also use plastic mustard and ketchup dispensing bottles for piping if you already have them in the house, but you don't need to purchase them. If you have empty dish soap bottles you can even use them after they are washed.
  • Biodegradable plastic bottles made from corn are a good choice, because you can use them several times and then recycle. Don't however, try to use laundry detergent bottles, because they are usually much too large and any detergent residue left in them can cause illness. You may have many other good ideas as well.

Please share your other alternatives for plastic bag waste in the Comments section. Thanks!

© 2008 Patty Inglish

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Comments 15 comments

highwaystar 8 years ago

Thanks Patty for sharing, your execellent hub is right on, there's a fast growing awareness that green environmental issues need to be addressed lon term and sustainability is the only way to go...

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thank you highwaystar. The TV show and its wastefulness really drove it home for me.

In Ireland, a 15 cent per plastic shopping bag tax was instituted in 2002. That cubred bag use somewhat. But too many taxes is what started our Revolution! - paper tax, tea tax, Christmas tax, mincemeat tax, etc...

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Well said Patty. I really think we all have a responsibility in fixing the wrongs of the past few decades. All things today are made and built with the attitude that if it breaks we'll just buy new...not much is actually fixable.

as always you have put together a great HUB

regards Zsuzsy

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Well, all those wasted plastic bags, expensive party favors and such moved me to anger.

I'd just read a story about WWII in which a wman runnig a diner made apple pie with her own home-raised honey. The local sheriff accused her of using black market sgar (it was rationed during WWII) and threated to arrest her. Now some folks just toss food out.

Mark Knowles profile image

Mark Knowles 8 years ago

Bang on. The media is part of the problem - including the cooking show. It drives me crazy LOL Have a look at this website:

Annie does a great job of explaining why this is necessary to our current economy and this sort of waste is being actively encouraged.

belief713 profile image

belief713 8 years ago from NJ

yes, it's sad to see what we are doing to our world. I cringe when I think of what mess we (the world) are leaving behind for our descendants...i've started bringing my plastic bags with me back to the grocery stores so as not to bring home new ones.

love Nevaeh profile image

love Nevaeh 8 years ago from wonderland

if we do one thing a day we are well on our way to helping the Earth, each other and our children and the futrue.I love useing when i go shoping. i never leave the house with out it. now they come in cooler for all your cold stuff. they made great gifts . thanks peace 7 light.

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

In Washington State, they are trying to ban plastic bags from grocery stores--I totally support that. I take my own reusable bags anyway. We also don't buy paper napkins. We do have plastic ziplock baggies, but only use them once in a while, and they are reused like crazy. Another great thing to do is to buy a reusable coffee cup and use it. If I buy coffee out and don't have my cup, I go to Tully's because they compost their cups. Great hub!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Mark, thank you for that link! I'm going to pass it on to others. I don't watch a lot of TV, but am appalled by stuff like this. I can block out about every sound except this platistic bag crinkle-crunchle up close to the microphone on the set. ArgggggHHHHHHH! That was not a kiap.

belief13 - i remember the commercials showing a Native American crying becuase of trash and waste! Also one called "Tennessee Trash" about as bum in an old convertible throwing trash out of the car for miles and completely obliterating the highweay behind him.

love Nevaeh - thank you for your wonderful comments!

Stacie - Thanks for that info. I still have 1 box of large ziplocks that I use when I find a BIG sale on fresh produce to freeze. I may need earplugs to avoid their sound now after that TV show. LOL!! Then, like you, I use the bags over until they disintegrate and put what's left in the recycle bin.

There is hope for us yet.

Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

Keep up the good work, Patty. We try to live green, but forget simple things like this...guilty as charged. Good hub.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thank Peter. I did not think too much about plastic baggies until I saw this revolting watse on TV. They seem to think it's so clever to waste supplies and food. They seem to think they are increasing the country's economy. Blech.

Christina Lyons 8 years ago

Wow, someone else feels the same way I do, glad to know! This was informative and to the point, thank you for sharing!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading, Christina. I hope you write us some hubs!

jdnyc profile image

jdnyc 7 years ago from California

It's kind of random, and it isn't the best link, but the link below is to an article on a toilet lid sink - it's amazing!

I had to put it somewhere, and this hub seemed like a good fit!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks very much!

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