I do love to cook — and unfortunately, I love to eat, too — but one of my least favorite household chores is cleaning up the kitchen after a meal. It has taken me close to 20 years, but I finally have convinced my husband that cleaning up after a meal is a joint responsibility.
Husband training is a never-ending responsibility. It is always funny how two people can approach the same task in different ways. We certainly do with kitchen cleanup.
I have to say that I actually have learned some good tips from him that help protect our own water system as well as our local water quality in general.
Being the dutiful wife that I am, I did not just take his word for it — not that I did not believe him. I just wanted to make sure.
I have verified his ideas through several water information sources on the internet, so the following ideas are not just the “gospel of Lindsay” but are recommended ideas for protecting water quality from the Environmental Protection Agency and other water advocacy sources.
These are ideas we all can incorporate in our own homes to make a difference. These tips also help minimize plumbing repairs as well as reduce the need for frequent community sewer maintenance repairs in our local towns. That is, if all residents and businesses incorporate these pointers on a regular basis.
• Do recycle or dispose of used cooking oil properly. Place used oil in a sealable container and throw it away with regular garbage.
If you have a fairly large amount, you might need to borrow some cat litter from your favorite feline friend and slowly mix it with the oil in the sealable container. Once the oil has been absorbed, seal the container and toss it with your regular garbage.
Interestingly, some people are finding innovative uses for cooking oil as a fuel source! Just think, you could cook and eat your fries and then use the oil to drive around one day!
• Do empty food scraps into the garbage — not the sink. The sink is not a trash can.
• Do wipe leftover food from soiled pots, pans and dishes with dry paper towels before rinsing or putting them in the dishwasher.
I know many dishwashers now promote the idea of no rinse needed before putting in dishes, but where do you think all that food and grime is going once it washes down the drain? Dispose of the paper towels in the garbage can.
• Do place a strainer or a catch basket in the sink when peeling or trimming foods. The strainer will catch the food remnants that can be put in the garbage. If they are appropriate food items, they can be used in composting.
• Do use disposable paper towels when removing food waste and not cloth towels. The grease, etc., on cloth towels once again would end up in the water supply when they are laundered. So use disposable towels for these types of chores.
Don’t use a garbage disposal. For many years, my husband and I discussed (aka argued) about getting a garbage disposal. I now understand why he was reluctant to do so.
Grinding up foods does not remove the oils and grease. It just makes the food pieces smaller. All of it — grease and all — ends up going through the sewer system.
• Don’t pour old cooking oil, pan drippings, salad dressings and bacon grease down the sink drain.
• Don’t pour used cooking oil — or motor oil, for that matter — down a storm drain, either. Yes, believe it or not, some people do this.
Anything going down a storm drain ends up unfiltered in our local waterways — creeks, streams, rivers and the ocean.
I love bacon grease as much as any true Southern girl does. But as much as I love it, I never have had the desire to swim in it, so let’s keep it out of our local waters!
I hope you will consider using some of these tips. Protecting our water quality should be an important issue for all of us.
By the way, if you run into my husband, please don’t mention that I said he was right about something. It is already challenging enough to make him think I am always right.
Upcoming KLB activities you should know about
• iWin: Convert CDs/DVDs into educational tools for students at First Presbyterian Christian Academy. The school will collect CDs and DVDs all year to trade them in for new technology for its classrooms. Call Maria Reed at FPCA at 876-0441 or email email@example.com to contribute to this beneficial project.
• Progress Through People luncheon: Aug. 18 at noon at First Baptist Church in Hinesville. Keep Liberty Beautiful is hosting the August luncheon sponsored by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. If you are interested in learning about LEED construction and certification, call Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or make a reservation through the chamber office by calling 368-4445.
• Recycle It! Fair: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 27. The fair is a quarterly collection of electronics and other household items for recycling. For more information, call 880-4888 or email email@example.com.