Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For your next potluck, instead of plastic...try CORN!!

I was racing through Costco late this morning, made possible only by the food vendors offering J(2) an array of yummy samples of food she’d never get at home. I mean really, that is what makes the trip so much fun. Other than the satisfying feeling I enjoy, when I see my cart loaded up with food that I know will last longer than 2 days….there’s just something frustrating about how quickly an ordinary box of anything goes in our house. When I buy milk, eggs, cereal, or lettuce at Costco however…it can last a whole week.

Once, a nice, elderly man, while waiting for one of these delectable samples, said, “you know, you could practically have lunch here.” I thought, you know, you’re right! Not that I would actually try doing that, but he was being witty and it was a funny thought. The rest of that particular shopping trip, the kids and I kept running into him at the different sampling areas. He’d just wink and say, “See?” It got pretty funny, to the point where I’d begin laughing right away whenever I saw him. I felt, actually, a little sad when it was time to leave. We talked a bit in the parking lot and that was that. I am more and more thankful these days for those random, friendly moments ….

Anyway, I realized at the end of the trip that I needed to get plastic cups for A’s(8) girl scout meeting. Well, I was not buying 1000 plastic cups…I already felt guilty enough for all the diapers we send to the landfill. I decided to stop at our local health food store hoping to find some recyclable paper cups. They're not very sturdy but definitely eased my conscious and made me feel I was still doing my part for the environment, even though I do still leave my van running at times and even drive while talking on my cell phone!!!

Imagine my surprise when the sales clerk informed me they didn’t carry paper, only plastic cups. “Really!!” I said with humor. I thought it was with humor, she just looked annoyed and defensive, saying they were tight on shelf space.

So I pick up the package of 16 oz. cups and what do you think they were made of?? Not plastic but CORN!! They looked like ordinary, sturdy, clear plastic cups. Plus, get this…100% compostable! I had never heard of such a thing, how can that be? Actually, I have found lately, that you can find recycled or sustainably produced almost anything!

Evidently, according to my highly dependable internet search, these cups break down completely in commercial compost in about 45 days!! (Is a landfill kind of like a commercial compost bin…seems like it would be, but I’m far from an expert.) It takes about a year for them to degrade completely in a homemade compost bin. Now, I don’t really know where my old compost pile is, it’s been that long since I’ve worked on my garden, but I think I’m going to start one back up.

And the first thing that’s going in, is the cup I’m drinking out of right now! Next year, this time…it’ll be compost! Now, how cool is that???!!!

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