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I have had a strange fascination with aluminum lately, so why not talk about it here. Aluminum, a silvery white and ductile member of the boron group of chemical elements. It’s nonmagnetic and non-sparking. It has the symbol Al; its atomic number is 13 (I did not know that till today. 13 is the day I was born and my lucky number.).  Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element therein, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. Aluminum is too reactive chemically to occur in nature as the free metal. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief source of aluminum is bauxite ore.

Aluminum is remarkable for its ability to resist corrosion (due to the phenomenon of passivation) and its low density. Aluminum is one of the few metals that retain full silvery reflectance in finely powdered form. Global production of aluminum in 2005 was 31.9 million tonnes. It exceeded that of any other metal except iron (837.5 million tonnes).

* Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.

* 350,000 aluminum cans are produced every minute!

* More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product.

* Once an aluminum can is recycled, it can be part of a new can within six weeks.

* Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.

* During the time it takes you to read this sentence, 50,000 12-ounce aluminum cans are made.

* An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!

* There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can can be recycled.

* Aluminum can manufacturers have been making cans lighter — in 1972 each pound of aluminum produced 22 cans; today it yields 29 cans.

* We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum pop cans every year.

* At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold! (Before the Hall-Héroult process was developed, aluminum was exceedingly difficult to extract from its various ores. This made pure aluminum more valuable than gold. Bars of aluminum were exhibited alongside the French crown jewels at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, and Napoleon III was said to have reserved a set of aluminum dinner plates for his most honored guests. [source:Wikipedia])

[Source: Recycling Fun Facts]

Aluminum never dies!!!

-Cara

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OK, so right now I am more or less self-employed, but I will probably have a job at some point where I’ll be able to bring my lunch with me. This is a good thing as I love cooking and we always seem to have leftovers, so I’ll eat good food and save money!

I do make lunches most days for my significant other, like today what I did was wrap up a slice of this meatless meatloaf I made last night. Which was soooo good. I found the recipe yesterday on-line [I used organic, free-range eggs, not the vegan version, but I will try it that way as well.]. What inspired me to look was I am attempting to eat more green after writing the green calculator entry on Saturday. Which you know…not only does that mean not eating animal products, but you must also buy food from local farmers/distributors. The best I could do yesterday for jelly was to buy the one non-Italian made product, but for the produce I did alright. I realize I should make it a habit, at least once or twice a week, to go to Union Square Farmer’s Market, Greenmarket, and get my cheese, bread, produce, etc., since I am blessed to have one so conveniently located.

Back to the point, when I put together lunch-to-go today, I wrapped the meatloaf and bread in aluminum, put the mayo in a cleaned, recycled, plastic, delivery container and then put the lunch into a plastic bag that I use to put said lunch in everyday. On Global Stewards’ website they give some tips and information on how to pack a waste-free lunch. Let’s see how I did today….

Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

A waste-free lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits. The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it. (source: Environmental Forum of Marin)

Five Simple Ways to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

YES
NO
REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunch box)
NO throw-away bags
REUSABLE containers
NO plastic wrap, foil or Styrofoam
THERMOS for drinks
NO single-use cartons or cans
CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use
NO paper napkins
SILVERWARE to wash and re-use
NO plastic forks and spoons

Lunch Waste Facts

ALUMINUM FOIL More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day
ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 50,000 12-oz. aluminum cans were made
BANANA AND ORANGE PEELS Food debris in a landfill decompose only 25% in the first 15 years (try composting or vermiculture!)
JUICE BOXES Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades
PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper
PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP U.S. citizens discard 2-1/2 million plastic bottles EVERY HOUR
STYROFOAM U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR

My big mistake was the aluminum foil! I always think about that. :) Tupperware is the solution. I realize aluminum seems much easier because you can throw it away with no clean-up, but what a waste for a few minutes of manual labor or a few seconds if you own a dishwasher. Plus for me, I just remembered I have a super-fresh lunch box I got as a gift awhile back, now all I need is a job to go to!!!

My Super-Fresh Lunch Box

My Lunch Box

Another tip I read somewhere is when you are ordering delivery make sure to tell them you don’t need any disposable utensils. No one ever uses them really and then they end up either in the garbage or in a drawer for a few months until you finally decide to clean that drawer where you keep all your unwanted plastic utensils…or is that just me?

Waste Free!!!

-Cara

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