Editor’s note: Beverly Stoddart is a writer, author, and speaker. After 42 years of working at newspapers, she retired to write books and a blog. She is on the Board of Trustees of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project and is a member of the Winning Speakers Toastmasters group in Windham and the Ohio Writers’ Association. Her latest book is Stories from the Rolodex, mini-memoirs of journalists from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. A prized accomplishment was winning Carl Kassel’s voice for her voice mail when she won the National Public Radio game, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! She has been married for 45 years to her husband, Michael, and has one son and two rescue dogs.
By BEVERLY STODDART, A NH Life
First, just reduce, reuse, and recycle were the watchwords for those who want to help save the planet.
Do you recycle? Do you care about the earth? Are you tired of plastic destroying our oceans? Do you just like going to the transfer station? Whatever your reasons for pursuing sustainability, those three ideas have been replaced with rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle and rot.
I have always been a crazy recycler and accept the identification. I do not want any plastic bags for my purchases and use cloth bags that are easily washed for cleanliness. Yes, my husband cringes a bit when I pull out my collapsible containers for food leftover from our favorite restaurants. And yes, the transfer station is the equivalent of a marijuana dispensary for those who like to have a toke, for me and my recycling needs. The guys at my local station are friendly, helpful, and hardworking. The next time you are there, say hello to them.
To continue on my path to earthly enlightenment, I have strayed into some new territory. I have written in this column in the past about my dental regimen using multiple brushes, my WaterPik, and flossing. However, my regular floss is plastic, and we all know plastic is killing the oceans. The UN tells us, “Plastics in the ocean kill or harm more than 300,000 marine animals every year.”
I recently ran across a social media post about silk floss. Since my regular floss is plastic and will not go away, I turned to TreeBird Pure Silk Eco Floss, which will biodegrade, and placed an order on Amazon.com. The floss came in a glass jar in a recycled paper container. I knew right away we were soul mates. The spool of elaborately turned floss pulled easily from the jar and cut with the perforated lid. As I made my way around my teeth, sawing back and forth to insert the floss in the spaces, I knew I was doing something good. Until. I have some of the tightest packed teeth, never having had my wisdom teeth pulled. And when I reached a cramped molar and a wisdom, the delicate and beautiful silk floss not only snapped but became wedged between the two teeth. With a silky string hanging from my mouth, I finally freed the string and ended my delight with the product. My regular plastic ribbon of floss will have to do until a better, stronger, silky one can be had.
The next great idea I found was reusable swabs. Once again, I turned to Amazon.com. You can’t call what I ordered cotton swabs. They aren’t cotton. They are made of medical silicone. Q-Tips is, of course, a brand name, but you get the idea. A bullet selling point read:
“Portable cotton swabs: Which are small enough to fit easily into your wallet or pocket so that you can use a cotton swab anytime, anywhere.”
Please, if I saw someone using a plastic cotton swab or even a regular cotton swab anywhere, anytime, I would gasp and run from the room. The silicone tips just didn’t give the warm and fuzzy satisfaction a real cotton swab provides. This was another well-intentioned idea that didn’t pan out. I must say the packaging is beautiful and reminds me of the elegance of Apple products. My iPhone works. The silicone swabs do not. Don’t just don’t get them.
Finally, I have embarked on composting. Rather than throw scraps into my trash and have it eventually ended up being burned, I have bought, through Amazon, a Miracle-Gro small single chamber composter. The directions and reviews promised it was a breeze to put together, and that was spot on. Within 40 minutes, my composter was ready for greens and browns and spinning. So on Wednesday, June 16, I began with eggshells, green bean leftovers, coffee grounds and filters, cut grass, and melons for my greens. Maple leaves are my browns. They are supposed to have a better composition as compared to oak leaves. I don’t know. There’s a lot of information about composting, and the advice I’ve landed on is just keeping it simple. Put the ingredients in the composter and turn it, which my new composter spins easily.
The kit came with some nifty water-resistant, no-slip, original Buffalo Nitrile gloves with black plastic palm. I’ve had a hankering to get some of these and was delighted when the gloves came with my new composter. Also included was an official Miracle-Gro stick-on insignia.
I’m excited that I will have rich, fertile compost, “garden gold,” according to the website, in four to six weeks. We’ll see. I stuck my Miracle-Gro button on my composter for more than one reason, mainly to remind me of the miracle that it will be if I do get compost.