Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of Cutting Boards and Sealing Wax, Of Cabbages and Kings

One of the things that I've been loving recently, is that all the mountains and mountains of reading I've been doing have allowed me to articulate a lot of the ideas I've felt but was unsure how to express. And once I've figured out how to express it, I can express it on this blog and get feedback before turning it into some sort of presentation or dissertation.

That's right. All y'all are my little guinea pigs for papers I write for school. Don't like it? Too bad! It's my blog!! Haha!!

But seriously, my brain is starting to hurt now, so no Malthusian debates today. But maybe tomorrow if you're really lucky! Instead, I want to talk about cutting boards. Or rather my lack thereof.

Here's the deal. All the people I know who have attempted non-consumer lifestyles have always started from a position of being pretty well settled. This was true for me last year too. I already had a cutting board. And pots and pans. And a wine bottle opener.

When I moved to London, I came with two big bags, a carry-on and a laptop bag. So, basically, I came with almost nothing but clothes.

Now, I've managed to do pretty well all things considered in terms of not buying new stuff. I got a used TV and digital box. I got used wooden hangers, used plates and cutlery, a used pot, pan, and wok. I borrowed a towel and a set of sheets from my aunt. In fact, the only new thing I've gotten in London are the pillows on my bed.


I'm reaching a point where I'm having trouble. I don't have a cutting board. I haven't been able to find a used cutting board. And frankly, I don't have TIME what with all the reading and crap, to run around London to purchase a used cutting board.

And I desperately need a cutting board. You try cutting a loaf of sourdough bread without one. It sucks.

At what point is buying used a waste of resources and energy? At what point do you throw in the towel, and say, "Hello, Ikea!"

I'd *like* a DVD player. But you won't catch me buying that new. Because it's not essential. I can wait until I find a used DVD player near to me. If it takes a few months, well, I need to be reading anyway. But I can't wait a few months for a cutting board. I can barely wait a couple weeks.

This is where it's hard. When you don't have a history of shopping to back you up. When you're a non-consumer starting from scratch. Last year was a piece of cake, comparatively.

Who knew how complicated a cutting board would be?


hgg said...

Get a nice big wooden cutting board and you have a multipurpose thing; cutting board, serving plate, tray... and more environment friendly than a plastic one.

Anonymous said...

I second hypoglycemiagirl. Get a nice wooden one. If you can find one made from a single piece of wood, that's best. Plastic cutting boards actually breed bacteria more readily than wooden ones. Wooden cutting boards made with lots of pieces will probably contain questionable glues.

I, on the other hand, did not buy a wooden cutting board, but a Preserve cutting board made from recycled paper. So, if you want to save a tree...

Just skip the plastic is all I'm saying.

Burbanmom said...

I agree. At some point, all the running around and searching becomes a greater personal waste. My opinion? Grab a new bamboo cutting board. Hopefully you can find one with zero plastic packaging (they have them here at Krogers with nothing but a paper wrapper around them).

And once you make that decision to buy new. Just do it and don't think about it again. Being an environmentalist does not mean making yourself crazy trying to be perfect!

Good luck!

pink dogwood said...

as burbanmom said - don't drive yourself crazy and go and buy that cutting board :)

Farmer's Daughter said...

There's something to be said for buying new, high quality items that will last, as opposed to the waste of time and energy running around looking for a used one.

I've been holding on to my old plastic one until my hubby can make me a big wooden one, like Beth said, out of one piece. Then I'll retire the plastic one for emergency use only.

ruchi said...

HGG, good idea. I'll try and find a nice big wooden cuting board. :)

Beth, yeah I prefer wood cutting boards myself, but they are hard to find used! People tend to hold on to them. ;)But you are right. Maybe I will try and find a nice wood cutting board.

Burbs, good idea. I'm off to google bamboo cutting boards!

PD, thanks! Yes, musn't drive myself crazy.

Abbie, hey, after your husband makes you a wooden cutting board, maybe he can make one for me?! Huh, huh? ;)

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Do you have a nice big Oxfam shop anywhere near you? I'm sure they used to have fair trade wooden goods, possibly including cutting boards!

ruchi said...

The Oxfam shop near me only sells clothes! Booo. I'll try and see if there's another one near by,

EcoGeoFemme said...

I'm really not up on the pros and cons of all sorts of items like you guys are, but my initial reaction to a big board made out of a single piece of wood is, isn't that a grand old tree that got whacked for it? Bamboo sounds interesting though.

Jerry Critter said...

How about one that is made out of recycled material? But,do they even make such a thing?

Oh wait! I just saw fake plastic fish's comment about a Preserve cutting board. So, this has already been covered.

ruchi said...

EGF, well I think you could get one that was forest certified or whatever the certification is, but yeah that would be a concern with wood. But sometimes you can find them made out of reclaimed wood. And of course bamboo being really a grass would be sustainable as well.

Jerry Critter, yes Preserve does have them but I would prefer to buy from the UK or Europe if I could rather than have something imported from the US. So let's see if I can find something here like Preserve!

Stephanie said...

Yes! Someone else has picked up on how hard it is to attempt non-consumerism when not settled (like in a dorm situation)! I'm not alone!

I got no tips. I really don't know how to be non-consumerist while in college and moving around all the time.

Green Bean said...

Great point. I never thought about it but it is a heck of a lot easier to go all non-consumer when you already own alot.

ruchi said...

Stephanie, I am not going to lie. It is not easy. I wish college campuses had a sale where graduating seniors/grad students could like get rid of the stuff they didn't need and poor freshman/new grad students could buy it off them. That's my fantasy.

GB, heh. Yup! It's interesting. It's easy to be a non-consumer with most of the big ticket items. People are always selling furniture and TVs and DVD players. But very few people are out there selling their cutting boards or their hangers or all the small useful every day items you take for granted. Because they're not worth so they're too much trouble to sell, and anyway, why would you sell your cutting board? You actually use that!

Rose of Sharon said...

I've had my bamboo one for years and I love it! And bamboo is completely renewable.

That said, people don't think to sell them because they take up so little space, but if you put an ad asking for one, someone might just pull out one they haven't used in a while for you... I do that every once in a while, when people ask for things on Freecycle that I'd forgotten I had lying around.

JessTrev said...

Yes, do be sure to ask on freecycle - I just handed off some old plastic cooking utensils to a group house of young people. Sure, they should upgrade to metal some time but now is not when that is going to happen for them. I kept them cause I couldn't bear just to throw them out and the freecycle ad just caught my eye. I just got rid of old IKEA cutting boards myself (no one wanted them on FC but in my nhood we leave boxes marked "free" on our sidewalks and it all gets used!) -- and am thinking over bamboo. Would love to hear what you decide to do. I actually bought a really big glass one. It was affordable and an alternative to plastic that I didn't have to research to death (I'm thinking sustainability of wood, issues swirling around bamboo). But I do tend to overthink!

Farmer's Daughter said...

Nope, sorry. I snagged him first :)

Donna said...

I've got an extra wooden cutting board just sitting in a cabinet. It's very nice and you're welcome to it! But the postage from Oregon to the UK would be ridiculous, so I guess you better buy your own. Too bad!

ruchi said...

Empress Juju, yeah you're right. It wouldn't hurt to ask.

Jess, I'm intrigued. What are the issues with bamboo? As far as I knew it was renewable and actually better classified as a grass, not a tree.

Abbie, aw darn!

Donna, sigh. Oh well. ;)

Anonymous said...

It was different for me because I am from the Midwest where lots of people do garage sales/tag sales (wait, did you try the boot sales? I remember there being big boot sale gatherings in London every weekend...) so every time I moved I just chucked everything that didn't fit into my car, and bought it over at a tag sale or the thrift store.

But I'm with everybody else - the point where you do not have *time* is the point to get something new, and just try to get the least bad choice you can find. In fact, my Ikea couch - my first new couch ever! - is arriving any day now.

ruchi said...

Rosa, I don't know why but I can't seem to find big boot sales. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. I don't know. :(

Anonymous said...

You probably just have less free time & spend less time randomly wandering around. I was a nanny in SW London & then I quit and just wandered around for a few weeks because I couldn't afford an immediate ticket home. So I saw a lot of random stuff.