Tag Archives: recycling

August, Fly She Must



Hurricane preparedness. Anything preparedness, all year long, from brush fires to tsunami, depending on where you live. Here, hurricanes, dock strikes, and tsunami, as well as the periodic black-outs from HECO ineptitude or sabotage (Army runs tall equipment into wires; someone in Waipahu throws a chain across the lines).

•    Emergency light sources in every room, because there’s nothing like being stuck on the toilet in your pajamas when the neighborhood goes dark. Mini LED flashlights are good, tucked in drawers or hung on little plastic hooks. After that you break out the wind-up-to-charge lantern, the candles, the oil lamps, whatever else you plan ahead on. Learn how to make “water candles,” jars of water with cooking oil floated on top and a wick. These are one of the safest forms of flame lighting because if they spill the water usually douses the flame. The others require people be careful around them.
•    Food that will store without refrigeration. MREs only keep about a year, so plan on restocking when you can use the old ones, either when camping, or hiking, or you don’t want to heat up the kitchen with cooking. They’re a different form of brown-bagging. Freeze-dried foods can be great (I’ll eat some brands as treats), but pricey. Canned and bottled foods are the default. Because its shelf life is limited, usually 12-16 months, get things you will use up in ordinary cooking, or give the old stock to the local food drive (they won’t have it but a couple of weeks, and the recipient needs it right then). This includes pet food. Make sure a decent proportion are things you can eat without heating them. The local canned survival kit is vegetables, Spam, corned beef, sardines, pork and beans, chili (w/wo meat).
•    A manual rotary can opener to open canned food. It’s terrifying/hilarious how many people forget this, and only have an electric can opener when there’s no power. You may be the hero of the neighborhood if they can bring their cans to you. Let no one borrow it. It’s too likely you won’t see it again.
•    Metal pans, dishes, and utensils. Ceramics break. Plastics can’t take heat. Eating equipment may have to double as cooking equipment if you have to evacuate. Buy some 4/$1 stainless steel flatware to keep with the other emergency gear rather than taking and losing the good stuff.

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Thank Your Local Scavengers


Somewhere in the latter half of the 20th C. we got out of the habit of recycling. Recycling was positively normal before WW2. It’s just that the poor did it for the better off, or lazier.

Today, we’re expected to do it ourselves. But after two in the morning, through this bar zone come the fellows with their shopping carts, or just carrying a trash bag, the latter maybe on a bike. They look for plastic and glass bottles and aluminum drink cans left on the curb (or my building’s lawns) by drinkers, and smokers on break. They check the outside trash cans. Some brave souls flip open the lids on the dumpster in front of the karaoke joints, and climb in to see what’s been tossed there. There’s three or four that work the trash cans at Waipahu Transit Center, different nights or different times. (In Hawaii, there’s a deposit on beverage containers, to boot.)

This is an ancient task.

Sure, it’s never been a high-class activity, but it was always an honest buck (or shilling). Some working-class Victorians did it as a sideline, just keeping their eyes open on their walk to and from regular work, for scrap paper, rags, bottles, dog’s dropped teeth.

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