One of the topics of conversation at the potluck last week was which store had the most delicious "cold case"...portion of the deli that has ready-to-go salads, cooked entrees, etc. And while, we gals may be used to turning over dinner dishes and bowls to see what the pattern is or who the artist is, we (at least I) don't look often enough on the flip side of those plastic deli containers and other plastic food bottles and jars. I need a refresher course. Below is a handy by the numbers guide to plastic containers...and I was shocked in a store recently by some of the 3's and 6's I found, even on children's food containers!!
I am going to do two things with "by the numbers"...
1. Pay closer attention to the numbers on the bottom of containers.
2. Pay closer attention to the number of plastic containers I use and use less.*
When I am with Mom, one of the truly great things is that each household has to sort and schlep its own garbage and take it to the island dump. There is no garbage pick-up service, ever. Sounds gross and it can be, but it really makes you see and feel your "load" of waste. And so, when I have to do the dump run, and the car is full mid-week, I know to cut back and rearrange some of Mom's shopping (I'll talk about that later). At home, our garbage is in the alley...a little bit out of sight, out of mind, and picked up every Tuesday like clockwork. I am not nearly as aware of the trash I create as I should be. But, I am on it and getting better.
Here is the cheat sheet, current as of the latest info:
#1: Safe to drink out of once. Do not reuse. Recyclable. (Water bottles)
#2: Safe. Do not reuse. Recyclable. (Milk jugs, juice bottles, butter tubs)
#3: Avoid. It is vinyl or PVC!! Not recyclable. (Be careful here...think phthalates: some peanut butter jars, baby bottle nipples, shrink wrap, coffee containers)
#4: Safe. Recyclable. (frozen food bags, sandwich bags, squeeze bottles)
#5: Safe. Recyclable. (yogurt, syrup, catsup, straws)
#6: Avoid. Some can be recycled. (This is the Styrofoam, classic take-out, clam shell group.)
#7:Other=questionable. Bisphenol A included here labeled as PC, and is not recyclable. I would label as a must avoid. Plastics made from sugarcane, corn and potato starch (PLA) are also in this category, safe but not recyclable. They are compostable and used in smart delis! But, this #7 is a landmine because it is labeled "other"; it can be a mixture of good and bad!
* The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation estimates that more than 1,000,000 birds and over 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die from eating plastic cast-offs and an untold number get tangled up and are severely injured...like an omnipresent oil spill.
Now, if all this has you bug-eyed with bags under your eyes, relax and chill out with this soothing eye mask. Then, have a look at your "numbers".
Cucumber and Chamomile Eye Soother
2 slices cucumber (use big ones here and munch on a mini...delicious!)
2 chamomile tea bags
Make 2 cups of tea the way you like it, remove tea bags and chill them down in 'fridge. Sip on relaxing tea while bags are chilling, then place chilled tea bags on eyes for 10 luxurious minutes.
Now, take 2 slices of chilled cucumbers and place them over closed eyes for another 10 minutes. Twenty minutes of heaven!