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Good news for popcorn lovers

Good news for popcorn lovers

A little over two years ago I blogged about our favorite brand of microwave popcorn being discontinued. B.K. Heuermann’s was a small popcorn company that had bred a unique popcorn that had almost no hull—the hard crunchy part—resulting in a really soft fluffy popcorn. They were bought out by ConAgra and shut down.

Fast forward two years, and we’ve just come across Orville Redenbacher’s “Natural 100% Whole Grain” microwave popping corn. This stuff tastes and feels almost the same as the old B.K.H. popcorn (and Orville’s is owned by ConAgra, so who knows?). As for the name of the popcorn, maybe I’m crazy but I figured all corn was 100% whole grain. All I care about is that it’s good! It comes in a few flavors, though we’ve only tried the “butter” flavor.

  • on June 26, 2010 -
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This final followup to Thoughts on Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling focuses on recycling—the last option before heading for a landfill, and the one people think about most frequently.

Since recycling receives the most attention, most people have a pretty good idea of what should be done. The hard part then becomes doing it, all the time.

What can we easily recycle, and how do we do it? Unfortunately, this varies significantly from county to county and state to state. Here in Fairfax County, VA, we are lucky – we dump paper, plastic, glass, and cans into our cubside pick-up bins once a week. In other places, these items need to be kept separate, and sometimes even glass needs to be separated by color.

The things we recycle through our weekly curb-site pick-up include:

  • Paper mail and envelopes. If it has personal info, it goes through the shredder first.
  • All cardboard boxes, whether food (cereal, crackers, etc.) or shipping (corrugated cardboard, etc.)
  • Phone books, newspapers, and any other paper that comes along. No paper goes in our trash unless it’s contaminated with food.
  • Glass bottles, glass jars (from jams, ketchup, etc. — more and more are plastic now though), aluminum soda cans, metal food cans (soup, corn, etc.).
  • Plastic bottles and jugs. The interesting twist here is that only bottles with a neck narrower than the bottle are allowed—i.e. soda bottles and gallon milk jugs are good, but sour cream containers are not.

After these basics, there are a couple other things we regularly recycle that require a little extra attention:

  • Yard waste like weeds, branches, and brush has to be tied or placed in specific types of bags (check your county) and left at the curb on certain days.
  • Electronics recycling has gained attention in recent years. A few times a year we make a trip to a monthly PC Recycler, Inc. free residential collection event. We drop off any old or broken electronics such as computer equipment, DVD players, stereo equipment, etc. “Anything with a plug” is their motto.

Something we don’t currently do is composting food scraps. This is probably because the majority of our leftover food scraps end up inside our dogs! However, I’ve heard from friends who do it that it’s good way to reduce the need for purchasing fertilizer.

Have any other recycling suggestions? Click through to the web site and leave a comment on the post!

Click the Fairfax County recycling guidelines image below for a full-sized PDF version:

  • on May 24, 2010 -
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This second followup to Thoughts on Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling focuses on re-use. We’ve found there’s a lot of options here, and all it takes is a little thought before throwing something in the trash or recycle bin. Here’s some examples:

  • After getting take-out food, delivery, or taking home half our meal in a “doggie bag”, we often hang on to the “box” from the restaurant. Many are surprisingly high quality, and we use them to send food home with family after big meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) or to hold any leftovers from our meals at home.
  • When buying groceries, we select plastic bags (read: Paper or Plastic?). The ones that meet our quality assurance standard after use get taken with us on dog walks, to clean up after our dogs. The ones that don’t pass QA get taken back to the supermarket for recycling.

  • Kathie has a Tassimo single-cup coffee machine. These are convenient but can be pretty environmentally unfriendly. She takes the extra effort to take apart each T-Disc after use. The foil top goes in the trash, the plastic container gets recycled, and the coffee goes into our fridge to absorb odors (no need to buy baking soda!). After a while in the fridge the coffee goes into the garden as fertilizer.
  • Any single-sided printouts or papers go into my “scrap paper” stack which I use continuously for brainstorming and outlining when I’m developing software. Kathie also uses them to print out needlework (stitching and knitting) patterns until she’s finished. Then it goes into the recycle bin.
  • We rarely use paper plates, plastic forks and knives and cups. Use the real thing, wash it, and use it again. We have a great set of unbreakable cups we can use when kids are around.
  • When we buy things from Amazon (or wherever), we hang on to many of the delivery boxes, the styrofoam peanuts, bags of air, and other packing materials. We sometimes sell things on Ebay and are able to give these disposables a second life.
  • Speaking of Ebay, selling unwanted things is the ultimate in re-use, and makes us money! Mostly we sell Xbox 360 video games we’ve completed, and electronics like iPods when we upgrade to newer models.

We thought of a bunch of other things we re-use, but aren’t looking to make an exhaustive list—just some ideas to get the brain thinking. As before, feel free to click through to the article and leave a comment at the bottom with other ideas. Next up: recycling…