Posts Tagged ‘disposable cups’

Change the World Wednesday – 2nd Jul

I have been M.I.A. for the day.

A belated start to my blogging.

My guava are doing well, I have four waiting in the fruit bowl, and have managed to keep the neighbourhood kids happy along the way. You may think that the national passion here in Brazil is football, well it is. But Brazilian kids are just like kids the world over, they love to raid the orchard.

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On with the show.

This week CTWW is about single use stuff.

This week, avoid the use of any single-use or disposable items. This includes paper towels, paper plates & cups, plastic utensils, plastic water bottles, aluminum cooking trays, etc. Instead, make the effort to use real plates, towels, etc. The idea is to eliminate waste.


OR … If you’ve already eliminated ALL single-use and disposable items, please reduce other waste. For example, plan meals this week so that no food is wasted. Before tossing an item out, try reusing it or offer it on Freecycle. The goal is to achieve zero waste this week.


There is more, but you’ll have to check Small’s post.

I have no disposable stuff in the house, at the moment. Although when I do a BBQ, I get some, simply because I don’t have enough plates and utensils. Glasses, I have plenty; recycled from cheese spreads, jams,  etc, as well as my booze glasses. So we never use disposable cups.

I do, however, have a confession…

Yes, I know this isn’t church.

The last three weeks I have used my paper towels a lot, for more than just my delicious juicy hamburgers, which is normally their only use to protect shirt fronts.

Clorinha being a book under the lppy table

Clorinha being a book under the lappy table

Clorinha has taken to pooping under the kitchen sink. Don’t ask me why; her dirt box is only six feet way. But I use paper towels to clean up, there is no way I am using cloths and then washing the kitty poop from them.

Sorry trees, but this time I feel justified.

Oh, and I threw out a banana tonight… but ate the more edible one. It was too far gone even for a smoothie.



Change the World Wednesday – 12th Mar

Cloro was a great one for licking his, apparently, he kept them in good working order

Cloro was a great one for licking his nuts, apparently, he kept them in good working order…

I am crazy. It’s 2am and I’m at the keyboard with a tankard of iced sparkling mineral water, it’s too early for coffee; and too hot (I’m sweating). But don’t expect me to stay up and finish this, it’s just until I get sleepy again… then it will be crash until coffee.

I am still catless, but apparently not for long. You’ll have to read Legacy to find out why.

Carnaval is well in the past, back to work. The garis (street sweepers) and council have reached an agreement and are back to work.

My PC is still behaving like a PC should, so it seems as though my troubles are over for the present, despite the fact that it looks like a gutted box beside me with its blinking lights.

I like the lights blinking on and in the PC, they’re a comfort, they indicate that things are as they should be.

I had an interesting conversation with a fregües (regular) at the bar during the week. He uses disposable cups for his beer, which I think is totally crass.

Blue Plastic Cup

The terrible convenience

The bar has them for the kids who buy soda to drink in the praça (park) and some of the regulars have taken to using them for beer.

I challenged him on it. He just considered a convenience. When I asked him how many barrels of oil would be wasted in his lifetime just for his convenience, he replied, “guilty as charged.” Now this guy is no fool, he’s a maritime engineer, but even for educated Brazilian, it’s hard to get the message across. The next time I saw him at the bar… yes, he was still using a disposable cup.

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On with this week’s CTWW. It’s a good one and I can get right into it.

If you haven’t already done so, replace at least one incandescent light bulb with a CFL or LED bulb.


OR … If you have switched all your bulbs to Eco-friendly varieties, please conduct a brief analysis of your home furnishings. Are items sustainable and Eco-friendly, made from materials like bamboo, cork, or recycled content? Were they made locally? How many pieces are second hand? Do any items contain foam (cushions, pads, etc.) which typically are treated with fire retardants (toxic chemicals)? Has anything been varnished or finished with lacquers (both contain harmful pollutants)? Do you have wood furniture? If so, do you know where the wood came from and whether or not the trees were sustainably grown? The idea, here, is to start thinking about the sustainability of our furnishings and raise our awareness on the types of items we should both support and avoid.

Part One I am in the process of changing over, as much as I was against CFLs initially, because of disposal and breakage problems, I have had to toe the line, because in Brazil this year incandescent light bulbs will become illegal, to make and to sell.

I would prefer LEDs, but I haven’t found them in our part of town yet, we do live out in the styx a bit when it comes to innovation. You see people think that Rio stops after you have passed the posh suburbs of Barra da Tijuca and Recreio, once you go over the hill Grota Funda (now you can go through it, we’ve got a tunnel) the world ends. But I will keep looking.

Part Two (This will have to wait until the real morning, you know with coffee and daylight)



Okay, we’re ready to continue…

At the start of summer I made a big purchase; not a thing I do often. I bought two new fans.

ana_pesquisa__17_Now fans here in Brazil, and probably everywhere, are big on plastic.

You can see them in all the stores.

In my efforts to avoid plastic, it was a criteria that I set myself.

ventidelta-coluna-premium-60cm-pretoI found what I was looking for a nearly all metal model.

One was an upright, the other on a tube base for a table.

The only visible plastic is the name plate on the front, the blades and the small clips to hold the front grill in place.

So yes, I consider the environment when I buy.

Now as for the rest of my furnishings.

In the living room, I have two new items, a coffee table and a bookcase stand; both are made of wood. But the wood is a composite type, which I consider more ecological that real wood because it is usually made from recycled wood.

beerboxEverything else is second hand and some is just boxes, like my beer box.

Oh, there is another one on the other side of the TV for my wine bottle candle holders.

My sofas, 3 & 2 seat, were rescued from the street as discards by a neighbour, they have foam in them, actually they had foam in them, there is not as much as there should be. But to compensate for this, the one I use most is covered by a camp mattress and a blanket and the cushion is an old doubled over pillow.

So rather than rushing out and buying new stuff, I make do with what’s available. When I do, I do consider the environment as well as the cost, because I can be a real Scrooge.

Change the World Wednesday – 27th June

Sometime later on Wednesday… I began this post (the AA spoof below) at 5:50am. My alarm went off at 5:30, and nothing, but NOTHING happens before that first cup of coffee.

I did participate in last week’s challenge, by NOT driving anywhere. The results are not as spectacular as one might think, because I don’t go anywhere apart from work, the supermarket and on Sunday I treated myself to dinner out, oh and a walk to the local market.

Big donk!

So, I didn’t drive 141 miles, I didn’t spend $61.88 and I didn’t emit 14lbs of pollutants.

Because I don’t have a car, I chose a model from my past. It was suggested I should use a Hummer at 12 miles to the gallon, but I figured that would be stretching the imagination a bit, so I chose my old favourite, 1956 De Soto with a gas gobbling 380 cubic inches (that equals about 6 cars with a 1,000cc engine) doing 18miles/gallon on a good day.

Just for your interest, the median price for gasoline here in Brazil is $6.82/gal.

On with Wednesday. I just had a break for lunch. Living alone one doesn’t just have lunch appear magically on the table; there needs to be a certain amount of physical effort, and then there’s the dishes…

Change the World Wednesday from Reduce Footprints.

For the next two weeks refuse to use (or buy) paper towels. Yep, 14 days … no paper towels. And … to make things just a bit more interesting … let’s include paper plates and single-use utensils, cups, etc.

Or …If you never use paper towels or single-use utensils, please share how you avoid them. We’d like to know how you handle “messy” messes (like pet “accidents”, cooking oil splatters & spills, etc.) … and what you use instead of single-use products for picnics, entertaining, etc. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with tips and ideas to help us all live without these products and reduce waste.


Those old evils disposable stuff…

Paper towels are an evil, addictive waste of trees

Hello, my name is Argentum…

“Hello, Argentum”

I am addicted to paper towels, but I haven’t used one in four days.

*Pause for effect while audience claps*

I had to, you see I was making a white sauce and my nose began to run, it was an emergency! I couldn’t abandon the white sauce and run through the house for my old T-shirt rag. I have the ‘flu! I know I shouldn’t have them in the house, they are such a temptation. The roll has been sitting on the kitchen shelf for months, almost a year. I look at it, I hanker for the days when I could use one without guilt. But, I have resisted, each time my trembling hand reached out for that soft white dimpled chlorine bleached absorbent texture, I would catch myself and use the cold damp cloth from the kitchen sink instead and I would feel so ashamed that I had nearly succumbed to temptation, then I would make fresh Brazilian coffee and the world would be safe from the evils of paper towels; at least until the next spill, the next crisis.

It’s true. I do have a roll of paper towels in the kitchen. It has been there since the last similar ‘paper’ challenge and does get used for timely emergencies. But the life of a single roll of paper towels in my kitchen is about a year. They do get used for draining the lard from a deep fry, there is nothing like paper for that. If I have a paper bag (‘sack’ for our American cousins) I use that instead.

I don’t entertain, I don’t go on picnics, so I don’t have disposable stuff in the house. I don’t usually use paper towels, except for the odd emergency listed above.

da Meow survey his kingdom (The praça)

The last time I had a ‘pet’ emergency, was when da Meow, my previous moggy, decided to play ‘Chuck Chunder’ under the bedroom table. I simply got the kitchen shovel and swept the oubliette with the yard broom and hosed it off into the outside drain. Apart from a serious gag myself, no damage. The same thing happened when he presented me with a huge dead rat in front of the backdoor; cats do like to show off their prizes. da Meow was no different, he was a good ratter, at least one a day sometimes two from the canal along the street. I just swept it up and buried it in the compost heap, three months later, no rat and good quality compost.

Splatters and spills are always wiped up with a floor cloth with a little kitchen detergent for the greasy ones. My floor cloths are old clothes saved for the purpose.

So truly, I have little use for disposable stuff; the challenge will be easy.

Change the World Wednesday – 7 Sep

Evil disposable cups

Last weeks challenge was to participate in Zero waste week 2011!  on My Zero Waste. An interesting challenge because it was all about not using/refuse to use disposable cups, etc when away from home.

This initiative was all part of the National Zero Waste Week, which we are smack dab in the middle of.

This week’s Change the World Wednesday is to update how you met the challenge:

This week we want to know how it’s going. Please visit the National Zero Waste Week site HERE and leave a comment about how your committed efforts have worked out. If you write an article about it, be sure to leave the link. Once you’re done, come back here and tell us as well. The idea, here, is to talk about what worked, what didn’t, etc. so that everyone can learn the most effective ways to reduce waste away from home.

NB: See what a clever little boy I am… I disovered how to make colours in WordPress (last week I was having a bitch about it). It wasn’t very difficult, I just need more experience.

Mess & Disorder

Well, I pretty much outlined the problem and wrote about the specific problems that we have in Brazil where legislation is against us in our efforts to have access to anything non-disposable. The real motto in Brazil’s flag reads “Order & Progress.’ This flag, when we are discussing Brazil’s attitude to waste and pollution is far more appropriate. Mind you, the government does have some facilities in place, but the general education and the will of the people to change, just isn’t there.

However,  I have made a discovery. You can get non-plastic biodegradable cups and drinking straws. I didn’t know that. They are made from corn. So my part of this week’s challenge/update is to spread the word.

You can find out more on Let’s Go Green. biz

But they have cups too, in many sizes. This is what they say:

“These compostable/biodegradable cold cups from Eco Products™ are made from corn! With the same look and feel as clear plastic cups, these cups are an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. These cups are designed to compost in 45-60 days. Regular drink size, beer size and super big slushy size are emblazoned with a printed green stripe that says “100% COMPOSTABLE” and “MADE FROM CORN” so you can let the world know you’re going green!”

So it looks like there are some solutions around, it just needs one to poke around the nooks and crannies of the blogosphere to find them.


7th September - Independence Day in Brazil

Apart from what I have written in the past two weeks on CTWW, today I went to a restaurant that I have frequented for the last three years with my stepson for lunch. It is under new management, who have decided that dessert will be served on plastic disposable plates with plastic spoons.

Because of my association with the restaurant, I had previously had conversations with the new manager. Today, we had another conversation in which I refused to eat dessert unless we had a ‘real’ plate and metal spoon. He tried to explain the necessity for the measure in relation to rising prices; to which I suggested that customer satisfaction and environmental concerns were not on his agenda. He was flabbergasted at my complaint (because Brazilians do not complain like this, they just accept) and embarrassed because the surrounding tables had been listening to the exchange.

The result was that we got ceramic plates and real spoons for our dessert; and, satisfyingly,  my complaint was the subject of two of the surrounding tables, because I did get quite stroppy (Aust & NZ slang for obstreperous) and that surprised them as much as anything. A Brazilian is not used to someone standing up for their rights.

Torta de Limão (Lemon Meringue Pie)

On leaving I met the manager again at the door, I suggested to him that if he is going to offer plastic plates, he should also provide the option of ceramic plates for those who prefer them. A compromise that he agreed to and we parted amicably.

BTW, I had a great meal of tongue and gravy and a decadent torta de limão, it was delicious.

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