The Slop Bucket

Years ago, I worked at a Boy Scout camp in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Before being accepted for Staff, a young man would serve as a “trainee” for a month. Trainees would rotate through the various camp areas.  Doing the grunt work.   And spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen peeling potatoes, doing dishes and cleaning up.

After meals in the Mess Hall, Scouts and trainees would bus the tables. We would throw paper garbage into one garbage can. And we would put food waste into another.  The food barrel was called the “slop bucket.”  We were always careful about putting food scraps (no bones, no paper) in the slop bucket because we would give the slop bucket each day to a local farmer who would use it to feed his flock of pigs.  Uneaten food was used. . . . .

I have posted frequently on environmental issues.  And I have touted my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF — a motto that applies to cars, lights, water and energy. 

When I read about how the earth is being inundated with waste, oceans are overflowing with garbage, rivers and lakes turning toxic and how many folks remain heedless of our environment, I get a wee bit steamed.   But then I simmer down — and start thinking about what we can do.  “Just turning off” your water, lights, car, energy – is one thing.  But there is also merit in reusing bags, bottles, containers.  And not polluting.  And then there is recycling. 

But there is also composting. Taking food waste and carefully mixing it with soil.  In the garden.  Or backyard.  You don’t need a slop bucket.  

We ALL really need to get on board with this idea of helping our limping planet along.  Pronto. We live here.  But we also have generations of souls who yet have no voice – who will have to live here too.  And they will have no choice but to take what we give them. . . . .   

Zarfs

Do you believe in conservation?  Do you want to save our planet?  Of course you do.  Think about small steps.  A “zarf” is one of those coffee cup sleeves that baristas slide up the cup to keep your pinkies from getting too hot. Every “take out” coffee cup has a zarf. Heaven help the coffee shop that doesn’t use one. Plaintiff’s lawyers will crawl out of their holes to sue. . . . .

Think of the “take out” coffee that is consumed.  And the zarfs, cups and tops that are bought, used and tossed. Into the trash. Think of all those trees. And the energy to produce millions (billions?) of zarfs.

Some years ago, I got a cup of coffee at Hannah’s Bretzel and carried it to my office. I finished and tossed the cup into the garbage.  I looked down.  And reached into the garbage, fished out the cup and slid off the zarf. And put it the bag I carry around. The next morning when I stopped for coffee, I pulled out my zarf and handed it to the chap behind the counter. He looked at it.   I said “I’m recycling the sleeve.” He smiled, went “ahhhh” and reused it. When I got up to my office and finished the coffee, I slid off the zarf and put it back in my bag.

Would you believe that zarfs can last for months? Three months translates to a hundred zarfs spared.  Reused.  I’m not sure if this makes any difference in the world but I’d bet if each of America’s 150 million coffee drinkers recycled one zarf once each month, the tree population — and the earth — would collectively breathe a sigh of relief.

Zarfs

A “zarf” is one of those coffee cup sleeves that they slide up the cup to keep your pinkies from getting too hot. Every take out coffee cup has a zarf. Heaven help the coffee shop that doesn’t use one. Plaintiff’s lawyers would crawl out of their holes to sue. . . . .

Think of the coffee consumed and the zarfs, cups and tops that are bought, used and tossed. Into the trash. Think of all those trees. All the energy to produce millions (billions?) of zarfs.

Some months ago, I got a cup of coffee at Hannah’s Bretzel and carried it to my office. I finished and tossed the cup into the garbage.  I looked down.  And reached into the garbage, fished out the cup and slid off the zarf. And put it the bag I carry around. The next morning when I stopped for coffee, I pulled out my zarf and handed it to the chap behind the counter. He looked at it.   I said “I’m recycling the sleeve.” He smiled, went “ahhhh” and reused it. When I got up to my office and finished the coffee, I slid off the zarf and put it in my bag.

Would you believe that zarf has now lasted me about 6 weeks? That’s roughly 20 zarfs spared.  Saved.  I’m not sure if this makes any difference in the world but I’d bet if each of America’s 150 million coffee drinkers recycled one zarf once each month, the tree population would breathe a sigh of relief.