Well, you don’t need me to tell you that the holiday rush is on.
Sure, it used to get rolling after we’d finished washing the turkey roasting pan, snatched a post-feast snooze and awakened all refreshed for that venerable consumer tradition known as Black Friday.
No more. As you probably know, it’s not necessary to squander precious shopportunities by lollygagging around the dinner table with loved ones. How silly is that, when we can be jammed into lines with perfect strangers by 9 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, eager for those doorbusters?
(Forgive me for appearing to judge; I’m just goofy and sentimental about holiday traditions. And besides, we columnists are known to be uppity and judgmental sorts. It’s in the job description).
And anyway, you’ve probably noticed that most major retailers display no discernible compunction when it comes to setting out the displays of tinsel and inflatable Santas around Labor Day or thereabouts.
So it’s probably time to start making lists. You might want to add this one to your errands on the Saturday after that big upcoming turkey feast: degrease.
Yep, there is yet another way to shrink that carbon footprint, and it involves proper disposal of cooking oil. What will they think of next?
Glen Ellyn’s awesome environmental crusading nonprofit, School & Community Assistance for Recycling & Composting Education (nobody really calls it that; just say SCARCE), has launched a new project that enables people to take that huge vat of peanut oil from deep-frying the holiday bird — or the liquid in the fryer that makes those God-help-me delicious homemade French fries — and divert it from the waste stream.
It turns out the other stream’s not a good plan B.
“Cooking oil sticks to sewer pipes, causing clogs and breaks that are costly for homeowners and cities to fix,” SCARCE points out on a flyer detailing the new options. “Grease can interfere with water treatment at our sanitary facilities.”
The collected fluids, which need to be brought in plastic jugs or buckets if you didn’t save the containers they came in, will be converted into biofuels. Drop-off will be from 9 a.m. until noon Nov. 30 at an assortment of locations. Naperville is one of several town that haven’t yet confirmed their participation, so the closest one as of my deadline is 4930 Lincoln Ave. in Lisle. Wheaton, West Chicago, Downers Grove also have drop sites; you can find all dozen of them listed at www.scarceecoed.org (go to the bottom of the page, under “What’s new at SCARCE?”).
“I am crossing my fingers for Naperville joining us — since they are the largest town,” Kay McKeen, founder and executive director at SCARCE, told me in an email Thursday.
There’s a whole lot more you can recycle these days than you could in the past: electronics, gym shoes, prescription drugs, paint, textiles, food scraps, wine corks and of course, holiday lights — to name just a few. And now, the oil in the deep fryer has a green final resting place, too.
It’s hard not to feel optimistic that one day we’ll put the garbage dumps out of business, that a time will come when people shake their heads and wonder if it’s really true that humans once packed up their refuse and trucked it off to be entombed underground, sheltered from the decompositional skills of oxygen and sunlight, for all of eternity.
As I always tell my kids, dream big.
On another note, now that our friends with federal jobs are back at work, and the economy licks the $24 billion wound left by this most recent and ridiculous and utterly avoidable government shutdown, I hope we’ll all take a moment or two to shut out the noise and spin and bluster, and think about what really happened here. Let’s think about what we saw in elementary school, that way in which one or two bad kids can ruin things for the whole class, and how that phenomenon is alive and well in our nation’s capital.
And then, let’s take a look closer to home. The tea party is clearly alive and well, with new power and might it gained right here in our communities last April 9, when so few of us showed up at the polling place. Let’s pay attention, and speak up when we find things amiss, and vote the next time we get the chance.
It matters. A lot.