Soft plastic: one of the few products that is truly, completely recyclable

Recycling is a good thing to do.  But it surprises most people to learn that most of what we put into our recycling bins is not actually recycled, it’s downcycled: that means it’s turned into products of lesser quality or reduced functionality.  (Example: water bottles are downcycled into carpet, not recycled into new water bottles.)

Not so for soft plastic – it can be truly, completely recycled.  As long as it’s clean, it can be remanufactured into identical products over and over.

So what’s ‘soft plastic’?

  • Grocery and shopping bags
  • Bread bags
  • Milk bags, including the inner bags (as long as they are clean)
  • Anything identified with the recycling logo and “LDPE” or the number 4
  • Most non-crinkly plastic, as long as it’s clean

(Note: cling wrap used on food products is not recyclable; but stretch wrap used in warehouses for pallets is)

Plastic is made from petroleum, so every bit recycled means less oil consumed.  Please do your part, and recycle all your soft plastic.

Is preheating the oven before baking really necessary?

I’m no expert on baking, but this I do know: those huge elements in most kitchen ovens take a lot of power.  And they create a lot of heat, which can make a kitchen uncomfortably hot.  Plus, if you have air conditioning, that heat has a double impact on your energy bill because it makes your air conditioner work harder.

So what can you do?

  • Only preheat your oven when truly necessary for recipe success (cakes, pies and breads, according to my cookbook), and try baking other types of food without preheating.  (You’ll likely need to experiment and adjust baking times a little, as ovens vary.)
  • If preheating is necessary, do it “just in time”: turn the oven on just a few minutes before you need it.  If you turn it on when you start to prepare ingredients (as many recipes instruct), it will likely be hot long before you need it, and that’s a waste.
  • Finally, for further savings, turn off your oven 15 minutes or so early, and let it ‘coast’ the rest of the way.  As long as you don’t open the door, it should complete the cooking just fine.

Read more here.  Happy – and efficient – baking!