GREEN QUESTIONS FROM READERS


Plastic wrap on top of a vessel.

Image via Wikipedia

Some of my readers emailed me with questions, which hopefully will be pertinent to you too.

Question:  Several of my colleagues microwave their lunches with plastic wrap.  I’ve heard this isn’t a good idea, but these people are intelligent professionals.  What do you think?

Answer: Intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with it.  It’s a matter of being informed.  Both the plastics industry and government health industries maintain that plastic wrap is safe to use, though consumer and environmental groups say otherwise.  Some plastic wraps could contain PVC or other chlorinated substances that can release dioxin, a known toxin and health hazard.  Saran Wrap has been reformulated to remove PVC and I imagine others have too.  But, who knows what’s in the new compounds? I always err on the side of caution and prefer to cover the food with a paper towel (unbleached) or natural wax paper. I also use glass microwave containers instead of plastic.  It is always important to use cookware specially manufactured for microwave use, and if you do cover with plastic wrap, the plastic should not touch the food.  Otherwise it could melt on your food.  You don’t want that!

Question:  I am a textile artist and wonder what to do with my leftover fabric scraps.

Many Ukrainian Christmas decorations are home ...

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Also, how do I recycle wood and cardboard with paint on it?  Good for you for not throwing them away!  Every seamstress has the same problem I imagine.  One obvious solution is to reuse them for other projects such as fabric flower cards, bookmarks, pillowcases, beanbags, or gift-wrap.  There are endless suggestions online.  But you could also donate them to a preschool, kindergarten or arts school for their craft projects or contact a sewing shop to see if anyone needs fabric scraps for quilting, for example.  What about putting a notice on craigslist for an artist who might want fabric scarps? As far as recycling wood and cardboard with paint on them, it’s not a good idea to recycle painted wood.  Recycled wood is usually used for fuel or chipped for mulch.  Either way you wouldn’t want the paint toxins leaching into the soil or the air.  You can dispose of wood with latex or water-based paint in your trash, but wood with lead or oil based paints should be taken to hazardous waste collection.

Readers, send me your questions!  I’d love to answer them.

 

Information compiled from:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0706a.shtml

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/cooking_safely_in_the_microwave/index.asp#3; http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by nancy yardley on November 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Those are great questions— always good to learn someting new that is green!!!!!!!– and from Betsy!

    Reply

  2. Thank you Nancy! I’m glad you are learning something green!!! Keep reading…

    Reply

  3. Posted by amy on November 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    boy, your readers have really good questions …keep ’em coming !!!!

    Reply

  4. They do. I hope more readers will write in and ask questions. Spread the word….

    Reply

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