Yesterday’s posting about the proper storage of rubber chickens included a photo of the top shelf of my refrigerator. In addition to the aforementioned chicken, the photo also reveals a large Chase & Sanborn coffee can.
The sight of a coffee can in my fridge prompted a raised eyebrow from Z. since she knows that I don’t drink coffee. And it’s true, although Z. and I have occasionally had dinner together, we’ve never once met for coffee. It’s not that I have anything against coffee (some of my closest friends are coffee drinkers), during my wild college days, I even tried drinking coffee once or twice. I’ve simply never acquired a taste for it.
So where did the coffee can come from? My folks have occasionally left a small jar of instant coffee in my fridge so it would be there for their next visit, but I’ve never had ground coffee in my house. (Bleah!)
The answer is that Z. has overlooked my participation in the environmental movement.
When you’re conserving resources, Step 1 is to reduce your resource usage. Dad’s co-workers realized early on that producing a single 2 lb can of ground coffee requires only a fraction of the energy and packaging that would be consumed in creating an equivalent number of single-serving coffee packets. So they team up and buy coffee in bulk. (At the end of the day, Dad of course does his part to make sure no coffee is wastefully poured down the drain.)
Step 2 for conserving resources is to reuse manufactured items. Creating a new metal container requires much more energy than simply reusing an existing one, so Dad occasionally brings home empty coffee cans and Mom uses them to send cookies to me and my brothers.
Step 3 in the conservation cycle is, of course, to recycle the item since that expends fewer resources than finding and refining the raw materials.
What many people overlook however is that Step 2 can be repeated more than once for a single item. Until the item is actually worn out, there’s no reason you can’t reuse it indefinitely. And honestly, barring a particularly brutal trip through the post office, a coffee can full of cookies doesn’t experience a whole lot of additional wear and tear.
And so you see, that coffee can in my refrigerator doesn’t contain coffee. It also doesn’t contain any cookies, I ate that batch a long time ago. It’s currently being used for a third time, now as a sugar cannister.
So the real question is, why do I keep my sugar cannister in the fridge?
Because that way it won’t be found by ants.