Recycle Less: The Elastic Band Hack

The elastic band hack for twisty lids on jars you can’t open! 

Sometimes twisty lids are so tight on jars they won’t open with cloth or a towel over the lid for grip. I’ve no idea how this idea came to me. Maybe from ads years ago for silicone discs placed over lids for extra grip to open. Place a 5mm wide elastic band over the outside of the lid, twist, viola 9/10 the lid opens. 

Lids for beans, chickpeas etc I give the lid a tap/bang on the side of the counter. Lids like peanut butter, kombucha bottles that have more groove twists (is that the right terminology for those lids?!) an elastic band works better. It also works on under the sink plumping when you have to clean out all the gunk, shudder. The trap deposit thing can be on there tight.

Elastic bands can be free too. Save the ones that come on vegetable bundles. While I don’t eat asparagus anymore after reading how much of a water intensive crop it is, diverting water from the locals who need it (I chose avocados instead. I know just as bad for water. I decided I could only have one of the two. I don’t miss asparagus), most of the wider elastic bands I have stashed are from asparagus. I understand how elastic bands for farms to bundle lettuces, kale, more leafy vegetables together quickly and easily for sale, but I’d wish they’d find a more eco alternative. I have heaps of thin elastic bands from those kale bundles I don’t know what to do with. When you see how elastic bands are made, you think twice before throwing them out. You can’t put them in the recycling and while it’s made from a sustainable source, rubber, the plantations or new plantations contribute to tropical deforestation as it’s a quick cash crop due to the demand for rubber for tyres. For something so small and throwaway it has a huge environmental cost. Birds can mistake them for worms feeding them to their young, animals can choke on them, the bands can get wrapped around beaks, mouths, legs, paws and end up in the sea where they’re mistaken for food again.

Do you throw out elastic bands, reuse, repurpose them or just keep them in that kitchen drawer like me?

What I Learnt Hand Washing For 6 Weeks

Leave it to my washing machine to have a breakdown in a lockdown. For various reasons I didn’t via the landlord get a new machine until a few weeks ago, making in about 6-7 weeks of hand washing. With my 6-7 weeks experience of hand washing I’m sharing what I learnt manually washing clothes, towels and linen. Exciting huh?!

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Washing machines revolutionised the world. They free up time. They do the dirty hard work. All you have to do is pop the load in the machine, press a few buttons, leave it to do it’s thing, you go do other stuff until it bleeps all done, either air dry every thing or tumble dry. Done. I line dry which requires:

Timing. I couldn’t wring all the water out. It’s physically impossible. Not even a washing machine can unless it tumble dries too. I had to check the weather a few days ahead to plan laundry days for drying on the balcony. Thankfully I have a bath and the washing rack fitted in the bath to catch the run off. However leaving like that overnight nothing dried. I could have put a towel underneath the rack and let it air dry in the living room, but that would result in parquet water damage. Thankfully there were only a couple of stormy days and I wasn’t wearing much. Clothes were on repeat in lockdown and it was mostly lounge clothes. No pretty outfits. 

I already hand wash my bras so I thought I had how to hand wash down. Nope. You need buckets. A few buckets. I already had a bucket and salad spinner for help drying my bras (trust me. It’s a game changer!) but soon realised I need another. Thankfully my local big supermarket, the cleaning bucket isle wasn’t tapped off out of bounds. With 3 buckets, bowls I learnt:

You have to run an little bath with liquid (preferably environmentally friendly laundry detergent. I use magnesium balls (I use another brand) learning buying the gentlest for sensitive skin liquid detergent again is expensive) then add the clothes. Rather than dump them all in, each individual item you swish around a little, rub fabric together to start to lift dirt, repeat a few times like how a machine does. When all the items are in, swish them around some more. I found with towels I had, dump the water and start again with the detergent. One ‘wash’ wasn’t enough. I then left them overnight for the detergent to I dunno, lift anything else with enzymes. That was the easy part.

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Rinsing is the harder part. I’m dreading the next water bill. Although it’ll be interesting to see if hand washing vs washing machine uses more water. To ensure all the detergent is removed you have to rinse, rinse, rinse baby. I found the easiest way again was individually as each item and type of fabric holds the detergent at different rates. Cotton Continue reading “What I Learnt Hand Washing For 6 Weeks”