At Tiny Planet our mission is to promote messages that matter and tiny steps that make life better, hopefully with a sense of humor that matches our sense of responsibility. To keep up with these turbulent times we have added Face Masks and other new products to our store.
This past Saturday, May 18, I attended a new annual event in Frederick County, Maryland.
Envision Essentials is a 4 part public workshop from Envision Frederick County. Each of the programs presents how we are impacted by decisions about how our cities and towns are organized and shines a light on how those decisions are made. The one day programs are fun, informative, with lunch included in the fee.
The place you live and everything you love about it, someone had a plan for some or all of it; someone had a hand in creating it.
Today that someone is you.
Where I live, Woodsboro, Maryland, a delightful, tiny town, had to start sometime, beginning with the path, the trail, then the road. At some point someone decided that the location was right for houses and industry. Here it’s farming and limestone quarries.
Over the decades and centuries houses increased, nested into the natural landscape on hills or buffered from the weather by hills. At every stage choices were made according to desires and needs.
Planning serves the same purpose today, to fill our needs, yours and mine and our children. Every town, city, county and state has guidelines and enforceable rules for private and public property and utilities. Each of us, including you, can add your voice to the decisions that affect us all every day.
We have tools of government which may sound dull and be a yawn in party conversation; Planning and zoning, Appeals Process, Comprehensive-Documentation-of-Everything.
But they are not dull. They are tools of action that bring us Clean Water, Efficient Road Systems, Green Spaces in our Urban Landscape.
Envision Essentials aims to give you the opportunity to learn how these things work in Frederick County, MD, and how you fit into the decision process.
Your Elected Officials
Government Office Staff
These people are your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family. Envision Essentials’ first program introduced us to people who do some of this work, who go to work everyday just like you and me and try to make a difference in our lives.
This summer of 2019 you can attend 3 more programs showcasing locations around Frederick County, MD.
Tiny Planet’s mission is to encourage practical, social and environmental actions. In that spirit the objective of this series of posts is to explain some of the confusing components of recycling as it is handled in the world and the USA in general, with examples of recycling in practice in my home base of beautiful Frederick County Maryland. Each post in this series tackles one sub-topic, with permanent information (links to municipal resources, etc.) on our new Recycling Page.
To begin with a word:
Identifying plastic for recycling
Labels follow plastics from the first chemical equation to the landfill or the recycle stream.
Particularly this one, the Chasing Arrows:
We know this as the recycling symbol. However, for plastics, the chasing arrows with a number inside have a different meaning.
Plastics are categorized by their chemical (resin) components. Manufacturers label them with numbers, which are commonly seen on products we use everyday, such as drink bottles and food containers. The numbers range from 1 to 7, and are called Resin Identification Codes (RIC).
Recycling symbols are embossed on a variety of common household items with no other explanation, implying all number 1 items are the same. They are not!
Resin Identification Codes (RIC)
In the 1980’s manufacturers put the chasing arrows around the RIC so that professionals in the plastics industry could use them. They were not originally created to directly aid consumers.
While the base chemistry is the same for all number 1 plastics, the manufacturing process adds other chemicals to aid in the specific use. For example, the same plastic for your water bottle (you aren’t still buying those?) which is recyclable, may be coated with another chemical for the clam shell box holding your strawberries. They may each be labeled number 1 with the chasing arrows but the added chemical on the clam shell makes recycling them a problem for many facilities.
Why and how recyclables are sorted
All recycling facilities have some limit on which materials they can process
The following sample of guidelines for recyclables illustrates that there may be fewer items that can be recycled by your local recycle program than you think, but they also mean your recycling can be more successful and that is the goal. The more success we all have in recycling the more people join in the effort. For other items there are recycle options, which will be covered in a separate post.
Category 1 Plastic, when used for beverage bottles can be recycled; when used for clam shell fruit or vegetable boxes can not, because of the coating used on such food containers.
Your local recycling service has to get these instructions to you in the most efficient way possible. The most practical way is to emphasize “recycle by shape”.
Finer details are often the smaller details, recycle same materials together; different materials separately.
Lids and containers of the same material should be connected. Lids of different material should be thrown away.
Plastic lids should be attached to their plastic bottle; if not screwed on they are too light for the processing stream and can blow off sorting tables, slowing the work flow or causing hazards in the recycling facility.
Glass bottles with metal lids—the glass bottle should be put into the recycle bin; the metal lid put in separately if large, or thrown in the trash if small.
While my writing on municipal recycling is focused on where I live, Frederick County, Maryland, you, dear reader, should have little trouble finding a listing of your local recycling options. A quick search online for “county recycling in your state” is an efficient start to getting answers for your household or business.
Links to Frederick County Recycling information
Frederick County has a great Recycling section on their website.
In Frederick County, Maryland, the rules for plastic bags and packaging are changing. In spring 2019 Frederick Co will no longer collect plastic bags such as grocery bags. The County website will post this decision once it is official.
Styrofoam is on the way out. It is taking its sweet, icky time but as a pretty hopeless, nonredeemable product it is being voting out of use in legislatures around the USA. The Maryland State Legislature has passed a bill on this issue.
It would be hard to overstate the positive effects of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in my family life. Food, water, air, shelter; things we need for survival; daily gifts we each can take for granted. The quality may vary but we live in a place where they exist in abundance. Participating in the CSA system connects me and my family to each of these facets of life, making us less cavalier about what we have.
Food – reduced dependence on automated food production; appreciation for fresh fruits and veggies.
Water – appreciation for the seasons where we live and our CSA food is grown. It rained a lot in Frederick, Maryland this year and we saw the effect on the farm production first hand. We get a better understanding of what it takes to get food from farm to the table.
Air – you may need to dig a little deeper into the connection between clean air and your food on the table to see it. Less shipping from far away farms means cleaner air; effects of weather, humidity, rain vs drought all play a part in healthy plants.
Shelter – this is so general and varied in all its forms that I am not making a farming correlation but I have to say that my home feels better in every way when food is taken care of. Few things satisfy more than making a delicious meal for family and friends and feeling safe in your own home. And few things make people feel more vulnerable anywhere than when they cannot feed themselves or their family.
Buying a share of the produce from a local farm each year is an adventure. The bargain I make with our CSA, Pleasant Hill Produce, is to give them money to invest in their crops and then during the growing season to receive a weekly “share” of the produce. The weekly batch of veggies and fruit changes over the season depending on yield, weather, insects, and other forces of nature.
Right off the bat, investing in a CSA one learns, or is reminded, that there is a lot more to producing food that sustains life than going to the grocery store. One of the cruelest information shams we give to our children is to allow the belief that bargain hunting is the basis for survival. Survival is determined by knowledge and the flexibility to use it well. Sometimes there are bargains; some of them are in grocery stores.
In the USA it is probably safe to say that the majority of the population gives little thought to how we get the things we need for survival. Money is the system we use to exchange goods and services, so that is our focus. But that is a big step away from understanding what it takes to stay alive. CSA is a way of contributing to society at the most basic level; an investment in sustainable food production.
How it works in our house
The weekly budget.
For the 2018 season our CSA purchase was for a household of 2. A small share of vegetables, fruit, and 1 dozen eggs cost $36.24 per week. Most weeks we spent about $15.00 a week to add a few things; eggs, a veggie to round out a recipe or a meal.
Average $50.00 – 55.00 per week
Pick up once a week. Other errands are done at the same time making the driving cost minimal. The few added miles costs less than one dollar in gas and wear and tear on the family car.
The produce will change over the season, you will like some more than others.
What we like, we consume or preserve. We learn what works well in the freezer or small batch canning. We find creative ways to use veggies that are over abundant and what I’ll just call “gamey” ( how much kale is too much? )
All vegetable waste goes into the compost for our own garden.
Resources – nutritious food is grown in healthy, nutrient rich soil.
Better understanding of growing food leads to better resource management. Land and water; composting and balancing nutrients for healthy soil.
Community Supported Agriculture is an investment, right here at home, in future seasons of eating.
Why more than half of America’s healthcare spending goes to five percent of patients T.R. Reid Jun 15, 2017 https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/06/how-we-spend-3400000000000/530355/
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Health Serv Res. 2004 Jun; 39(3): 627–642. The Lifetime Distribution of Health Care Costs Berhanu Alemayehu and Kenneth E Warner Author information ► Copyright and License information ► Disclaimer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361028/
The ‘other’ 1 percent uses the most health care One reason health care costs are such a challenge is that the ‘other’ 1 percent those who spend the most on health care use up more resources than the bottom 75 percent put together. By Marlene Y. Satter | April 07, 2017 at 07:35 AM | Originally published on Benefitspro.Com https://www.benefitspro.com/2017/04/07/the-other-1-percent-uses-the-most-health-care/?slreturn=20180828093233
Analysis of health care spending: Where do the dollars go? Mar 04, 2016 https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/analysis-health-care-spending-where-do-dollars-go
Baylor Hospital history links: https://www.coursehero.com/file/p55fcuh/The-first-group-policy-giving-comprehensive-benefits-was-offered-by/ https://www.bswhealth.com/about/Pages/history.aspx
If you have read this far and wonder… “what is this Tiny Luncheon business?” Well, please send me a query with the Contact Us form and I will send you information. You can come to lunch if you are around on one of the dates this summer and are willing to be part of a focus group conversation about my Tiny Planet items. Oh, and to taste some of the things I have been making with the CSA produce!
I am having one a week through August, 2018, first come first served.
You didn’t think I forgot the eggs and the awesome summer tomatoes, did you?
Nancy Butler’s Green Chile Crustless Quiche10 eggs 1/2 cup butter, melted 1/2 cup flour (for Gluten free, use Brown Rice flour) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 pound large-curd cottage cheese 3 4-ounce cans (12 ounces) diced green chiles Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 pound mozzarella cheese, gratedWhip eggs in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Whisk in the melted butter, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the cottage cheese, chiles, black pepper and half the mozzarella.
Place the mixture in a greased 13 x 9- inch glass baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool a bit and cut into squares.
Dorothea’s Tzatziki Sauce Tzatziki Sauce
First—Make yogurt cheese: Place 1 quart non fat plain yogurt (not Greek style, just the regular yogurt) in fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth lined colander set over a bowl. Let drain for at least one hour, two or more is better. Discard the liquid. Note: I use regular yogurt, rather than Greek Style, because I like the resulting “yogurt cheese” texture better for this dish. All experiments are good, try it often and see what you prefer!
For the tzatziki sauce: ½ recipe yogurt cheese 1 cucumber peeled, halved, seeded and then grated on a medium – holed grater 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste 1 – 5 or more cap fulls of red wine vinegar, Note: I started using the vinegar bottle cap because it was an easy way to add a bit at a time. Measuring by taste is really a better plan with this sauce : )
salt and pepper to taste olive oil for drizzling
Mix all ingredients except the olive oil in a medium bowl; cover and refridgerate. Can be refridgerated over night.
Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Note: it’s only worth drizzling olive oil if you have really good oil, if it does not have much flavor don’t bother.
One of the things I love best about a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture, which we buy through Pleasant Hill Produce) membership is that no matter how discombobulated the tasks of life become, my basic weekly groceries are there waiting for me. Beyond picking them up my only commitment is to the fun of the weekly produce puzzle—what’ll I make with this? So to catch up with the last couple of weeks of veggies here are some fun things we found to make.
Nothing goes with kale like kale!
Ok, so a note about kale. It’s strong, it’s bold, it’s nutritious, and when you have it you have a lot of it. Just run with it—and by that I mean run with it right through your spice cabinet and with oodles of garlic. If you find a dish that you particularly like, see if it freezes well.
Kale and Cheese Puff Pastry
Preheat the oven to 400°. Assemble one box of frozen puff pastry dough, board & rolling pin, grater for cheese, cookie sheet for baking, greens, garlic/other spices, cheese, Dijon mustard.
Other stuff that might come in handy, pastry brush if you want to add an egg wash to the top of pastry before baking.
Friend of Tiny Planet, Janet Salmons, wears her Tiny Planet, Big Dreams, Room for All tee shirt to activist events in Colorado and New Mexico. From Events spring 2018:
Janet’s story of speaking at the Boulder City Council Meeting 04/04/18:
“Boulder is considering an assault weapons and ammunition ban. Just happens gun violence is one of the causes our church has been active with this year. When I saw that there would be an public hearing, I couldn’t help but remember what we heard in one of the meetings: even if you think your elected reps will vote as you want them to, you need to show up because the other side is always there.
So I prepared some comments and away we went. It was terrifying! The hearing room, downstairs room, and library were full of people there for the hearing. The place was full of NRA people– they were handing out hats and talking points. They didn’t look like people we’d see in Boulder! I know I live in a bubble, but seriously! It was uncomfortable being in a room with so many of them– just a few women in their camp. (The tight t-shirt babe types…) The Mayor said, by law they have to allow people in who have concealed carry permits, but please keep guns concealed. Lots of cops! I was sure glad to see them! Testimony did include a number of kids, middle school and high school age, and Moms Demand Gunsense (our group works with them too.) Someone talked about being at Virginia Tech. Another about a sister who was killed at Sandy Hook. I was speaker 72– and there were 149 signed up to speak!
After we were done, we headed right out– get out before it ends, before some crazies follow us to our car! Just outside the door someone called to us and I about jumped out of my skin! She was from the Faith Communities United Against Gun Violence group as well and wanted to introduce herself. Whew!
I couldn’t help but think about those Parkland kids who were brave enough to stand up and speak. In Trumplandia its no small feat. And speaking of courage, the City Council unanimously voted to move the ban to the next stage. One step at a time…”