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Waste-not bread

Recently I checked out the Revive-Reuse shop at the recycling centre and spotted the automatic breadmaker pictured below:

It's a bit bigger and heavier than the loads I normally carry home, but when the staff member told me the price was $5, that was sufficient motivation to give it a try.  She also told me that the OK sticker they slapped on it meant only that they had tested it as far as they could, which in the case of a bread machine means that "the paddle went around when the guys plugged it in".  So I decided to take a gamble on it ($5 is the price of a Lucky Dip Lotto ticket**) and lugged it home.  I discovered later it weighs 7.1kg.
My mother is somewhat of a bread machine expert and when I told her I'd bought a Panasonic SD 250, she said it was a very good model.  She added that I could download the original manual in PDF format from the panasonic.co.nz website.  Today I tested it by making a 100% whole wheat loaf.  To my relief, it worked great!  I've made bread by hand in the past ... they never looked this good.  Can't wait to cut into it tomorrow for breakfast, lol.

While this loaf was baking I looked at the expired listings on Trade Me for Panasonic bread machines and found one earlier this year for the same model, which sold for $222.00!  I'm glad there are people in  my district who--for whatever reason--would rather off-load their stuff at the recycling centre than put it up for sale on Trade Me. :-)

** Edited to add: My Lotto FREAK of a daughter informs me that Lucky Dip tickets have been $6 since August 2004 and I should know this already, being so closely related to someone who lives and breathes Lotto.

Waste-free birthday present for/from DD

Rebecca's 20th birthday is on the 16th and she came up with a terrific idea for us each to give the other a present without creating any clutter, or packaging waste, or even having to pay postage costs.  The big news here at the moment is the terrible bushfires raging in Victoria.  The death toll is now expected to exceed 300...  whole communities have been wiped out.  The knowledge that at least one of the killer fires was deliberately started by someone makes it even harder to bear.

When I ask Rebecca what she wants for her birthday, she always says "nothing".  It's highly annoying when  you, the would-be giver, are also bereft of ideas.  I would complain more about her general unhelpfulness, except I am guilty of the same thing.  But tonight she came online and asked me to donate the money I'd spend on her birthday present to the Red Cross 2009 Victoria Bushfire Fund instead.  Both of us are fortunate enough to be in a position where we answer "nothing" or "I don't know" when we are asked what we want.  For people who have just lost everything they own in a bushfire, it will be a long time before they can say the same.

Big OOPS for Waste Not

I had a hankering to try miso soup, so I headed down to Pakky where I found a packet of 12 individual packets of instant miso soup.  It was only after I'd been through the self-service checkout that I thought about the waste ramifications of what I'd done.

Also, I've gone back to buying my milk powder in foil packets from the supermarket instead of in bulk from Bin Inn because the price of the 1 kilo bags has dropped twice at Pak N Save since November, from $11.25 to $10.25 to $9.25, while the price at Bin Inn remains $11.90/kg.  We were told before Christmas that due to the drop in milk solid prices, we should  expect lower prices at the checkout for dairy products to filter through after Christmas... so I'm a bit disappointed that Bin Inn's price has remained the same.  I don't know if Bin Inn simply want to make extra profit or if their stock is genuinely pre-November; either way, Pak N Save's milk powder seems like a better choice at the moment.

More on the cutting board

Googling restoring cutting boards told me I should be looking for "USP-grade mineral oil" for finishing it, and the cheapest place to buy this is the "drug store" (http://whatscookingamerica.net/CuttingBoards/AllAbout.htm). Translating this to Kiwi, I rang the mall chemist and asked them if they stocked mineral oil. "Uh, mineral oil?" came the response, in the exact same tone of voice as Manuel's in Fawlty Towers when he answers everything with "Que?". I didn't have any luck until more googling had translated "USP-grade mineral oil" into "paraffin oil" and I tried a second chemist where they stocked botttles of "liquid paraffin". The assistant wasn't at all sure that it was an oil, but I decided to risk buying it anyway.
Before and after pix, etc...Collapse )

Recycling centre --> Me

I haven't blogged about waste in a while because after I solved the most common problems to my satisfaction, it became a case of "rinse, repeat". There's not that much new to say about my personal waste. In case anyone is wondering, I'm still using cut-up t-shirts instead of toilet paper. The 15-litre kitchen rubbish bin filled up about the 6 month mark and I transferred it to a collection bag which is sitting out in the sleepout.

The Revive-Reuse Shop, to give it its proper name, is part of the Tasman District's Resource Recovery Centre located about 2km from my home. It's a walk of about 7,000 steps there and back. I have a Yamax Digi-Walker SW700 pedometer now and aim to log 10,000 steps a day, but I'm more motivated to walk if there is a purpose to my walk beyond exercise, like poking around in the recycling centre. Today I lugged back over 10 lbs of stuff on the return journey:
Photos and stuff here...Collapse )


Oh wait.. You can kill (waste) 'em.

Woman jailed after killing virtual husband



Plastic envelopes

Further to my last post about the letter that came in a plastic envelope (which I chucked in the trash) from Meridian Energy; it turns out that Waveney from My Rubbish Free Year received a similar letter, but being more pro-active than me, she actually wrote Meridian a letter about it, suggesting they rethink their posting method. Meridian's reply indicated that the plastic was corn starch and thus compostable. My understanding of corn starch plastic is that it will degrade in high-temperature compost heap conditions, not in landfill conditions (where I think most of these envelopes will end up):

Bioplastics can take different length of times to totally compost, based on the material and are meant to be composted in a commercial composting facility, where higher composting temperatures can be reached (WorldCentric.org page on bioplastics)

I did what I bet a lot of other people did and put my envelope in the trash bin destined for landfill. After I read Waveney's post I retrieved Meridian's letter from my "recycle" pile and found that they did actually mention the compostable envelope in very small print at the foot of the page:
Printed with mineral oil free, soy based vegetable inks on paper from well-managed forests that comply with environmentally sustainable practice and principles. Please recycle. The plastic sleeve surrounding this pack is made from wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed plantations and is 100% biodegradable.

I'm glad I read Waveney's post, otherwise l'd assume this plastic is the same as any other plastic bag that comes through the letterbox (e.g. the one around Resene's freebie Habitat magazine) and send it to landfill. I'll be interested to see how long it takes to degrade in my compost bin.


Today a couple of electricity-related things.... first, the mail had a letter (in a plastic envelope, grrrr) from Meridian which said they were "puzzled" by our monthly reading on Sep 24th for a total of 500kWh and they were sending their bean counter around to read our meter again.  But the letter wasn't clear on whether they thought our usage had veered into "puzzling" on the high or the low side of expected usage.  Puzzled by this myself (and with a dim hope we had befuddled Meridian by being spectacularly frugal with our energy use!), I accessed my old Contact energy account to look up last year's online bills. I used 535kWh in August 07. A 35kWh drop didn't seem that remarkable. Oh, well. Just then, the meter reader showed up and his reading today basically confirmed that last Wednesday's reading was correct.  So he too joined the ranks of the puzzled.

Secondly, Contact Energy is in the news for putting up their prices 12% which is causing howls of protest.  TV3's evening news had a sound byte from an advocate for the aged, who said that the price rises were particularly bad for the elderly, who will be forced to take to their beds earlier than usual with their electric blankets "as an alternative to keeping warm".  From personal experience, I can attest that a bed with an electric blanket is a very effective method to keep warm, not an alternative to keeping warm.  I tried it myself this winter and never needed to switch on the fan heater at all, I was that warm... this is why I got my hopes up that we had a meter reading so low it would actually raise a red flag in Meridian's system.

Shopping, shopping, shopping

We went to see Wall*E yesterday (didn't enjoy it as much as, say, Ratatouille, in fact I piled up the z's at times) and while I was in town I checked Briscoe's spring sale for coffee plungers, to replace the one that broke.  I was happy to find a stainless steel one (i.e. appears unbreakable!) marked down from $70 to $15.  It wasn't overpackaged either, coming in a plastic bag (trash) inside a cardboard box (compost).  The bus trip home used up the last section on my 10-trip card and I let the driver add it to his rubbish bin.  DD remarked that this was cheating, so I went back up to the driver and retrieved it for my worm bin.  For some reason this totally embarrassed DD.

Today we went to the new Powerstore opening sale - DD was going to look at their mobiles.  I'd wandered off to look at whiteware when she came and told me she'd seen a camera that looked like a good buy to replace my broken Powershot.  It is another Powershot, the A470, which is 7 MP and comes with a 1GB memory card upgrade and a free camera case (supposedly worth $70, wtf!).  It cost $149.  The worst thing about the camera packaging is the clamshell packaging** for the memory card, and that it came with 2 AA alkaline batteries.

** UPDATE: Requested by a reader for re-use, so no longer trash... yay!

I remember those days, myself

Confessions of a Former Snob at The West Virginia Surf Report.  Hat tip to 20dollarsaday .

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February 2009

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