Respect Your Things

The other day, while I listened to Laura Knoy discuss Zero Waste with her guests, the panelists talked about the important Rs – reduce, reuse, refuse and recycle. They also introduced two new ones that I hadn’t heard – repair and rot (compost). Well today I’d like to add one more – respect.

My husband and I received a beautiful wooden salad bowl when we got married. I loved the bowl and used it often, cleaning it with water and soap and letting it air-dry. After a few too many washes, the bowl began to crack and I became angry. I thought, “this bowl comes from a fancy store, it shouldn’t fall apart so quickly.” So I went to the store and politely, yet firmly, asked them to exchange it. The people behind the counter gave me a strange look but honored my wish, followed by a small tutorial. They taught me that there was nothing wrong with the bowl; there was something wrong with the way I was treating it. They showed me that you need to moisturize your wooden products on a regular basis, in order to protect them. With a little bit of “respect,” your kitchen tools will thank you in return. I sheepishly purchased some wood oil (for under $10) and went home.

Fast forward to over a decade later and my bowl is still thriving. I am so glad to still have it in my rotation, and have transferred that lesson to my wooden spoons and cutting boards as well. Not only does this “respect,” or maintenance, prevent items from hitting the landfill, it also saves money because I don’t need to replace them. Learn from my mistakes and do the same. – Rachel

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