Archive for the "kitchen" category

How can I recycled/pass on an old, working electric oven?

We’ve had an email from Richard:

We have 4-year-old electric oven in good working order which we would like to donate to a Charity. Any ideas?

We’ll actually in a similar position soon – our (15+ year old) oven works for general cooking but not for the precise/high temperatures we need from it for baking etc, so we’ll be getting a new one in the new year.

It might be hard to find a charity that would accept an oven – due to both its size and for safety reasons. Our plan was to offer it on Freecycle/Freegle, or via our local Gumtree (we’ve had more success with the latter) – passing it directly on to someone who could use it rather than going through a charity.

If you definitely want to pass it through a charity though, my only suggestion would be checking with any local charities that provide furniture or household items for people moving on from homelessness or other precarious situations. I don’t know if they’d take it but Emmaus train formerly homeless people to test & refurbish household items before selling them on, so they might be in a position to take, test and pass it/sell it on.

Does anyone else have any other suggestions for how it can be passed on?

(Photo by MrDeeds

How can I reuse or recycle an hand coffee mill/grinder?

We’ve had an email from good friend of Recycle This Petra:

When cleaning some cupboards, I found an old hand coffee mill. I never use it for coffee beans, but could you think of another purpose for this mill. Something to grind for kitchen use? Or something totally different?

All ideas are welcome.

My ex had a very basic hand grinder for coffee and it took *forever* to grind enough beans for a single cup of coffee so if it’s anything like that one, I wouldn’t advocate using it to grind any large quantities of things or anything that needs to be very fine. I suspect more modern/expensive grinders are more efficient though and probably give more control over the final ground size – I’ve never tried it but could they be used for making rice flour or chickpea (gram) flour?

(If you’re not going to make use of it, the usual “pass it on” rule & routes apply: someone might want it for grinding coffee. I regularly see this type of thing on the “household” shelves of local charity/thrift shops or at car boot sales etc – they’re often sold without original packaging/instructions as long as they’re in good, clean condition.)

Any other suggestions for things to grind in it aside from coffee? Or other reuses/recycling ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle parts of a slow cooker/crock pot?

Sorry for the downtime, I’ve had the flu. It has been so much fun.

While I was ill, we had a bit of a frugal-living tragedy in the home: the ceramic bowl from the slow cooker (aka crock pot) was dropped and smashed into two pieces. Noooooo!

We bought it cheaply a few years ago now – I wanted to see if I’d use it enough to warrant investing in a better quality item – and it’s cheap manufacture is probably why it broke so easily now. It’ll also be nigh-on impossible to get a replacement part because it was a cheap shop own-brand item rather than a set model from a well-known manufacturer.

(I do use it so will replace it in some way or another – but not with another cheapy. I will also get a bigger capacity one – I originally bought the slow cooker for making stews etc but it wasn’t big enough for batch cooking. I mostly have used it for making stock. Any recommendations will be gratefully received.)

So anyway, I’ve essentially got a broken heavy ceramic pot (which will probably be broken up further into crocks for big outdoor planters), a metal-rimmed glass lid (which will probably be used as a generic pan lid) and the heater-housing, a bowl-shaped (but not sealed) electrical device that heats things slowly and cheaply over a long time. The heating bit won’t be anywhere near as efficient now – the thick bowl helped maintain the temperature and the lid fits the bowl, not the housing – but my first thought was using it with a different bowl to heat things for craft pursuits – like wax for candlemaking or oil for soap making.

Even on “low”, it’ll be a bit too warm to use as a bread dough incubator and while it might be useful to keep milk at a steady temperature for cheese-making, it just isn’t big enough to be worthwhile.

If I do want to actually get rid of it, I should recycle the heating unit according to WEEE regulations – for me, that means taking it to the electronic goods pile at our local tip, although some councils do doorstep collections. I’d probably offer it on Freecycle or similar first in case anyone is in the opposite situation – a pot & lid with a broken heater.

Any other reuse suggestions though?

(Stock photo by Kowloonese but mine is similar, just not a proper Crockpot. And with a broken dish ;) )

How can I reuse or recycle crême brulée/dessert ramekins?

We’ve had an email from Jeroen:

We designed a lid for the Bonne Maman crême brulée cup that we usually through away.

Here you can see a short movie about it:

While I’ll admit the lid is very cute and well made, it didn’t occur to me that it needed one before reusing — my boyfriend John’s mum used to buy us frozen crême brulées from a door-to-door dessert salesman (…really) and the ceramic dishes have been part of our kitchenware ever since – one is currently employed as tea-bag dish and the others are in regular circulation as dipping sauce or olive stone bowls. We’ve also had similar glass ramekins from Gu desserts in the past: they’re my go-to bowl for making small amounts of marinade or spice mixes, or cornflour paste. And from a REDUCE point of view, which is the most important of the 3Rs, they’re great for refilling with homemade mousse or what-have-you.

Do you reuse glass or ceramic shop-bought dessert cups for anything special?

How can I reuse or recycle little pudding pots?

We’ve had an email from Debbie:

Any ideas what we can do with individual microwave pudding pots from the supermarket? They’re plastic.

First up, as always, reduce if you can – I know those puddings are convenient but it doesn’t take that much longer to make your own with a microwave (for example, a syrup pudding only takes about five minutes from scratch and there are plenty of “chocolate pudding in a mug” recipes out there). Or, if there is more than one of you puddinging and you *have* to buy one, getting a bigger single pudding instead of lots of little ones – the overall amount of packaging will be slightly less, and the bigger pot will be more reusable.

Bringing us neatly onto reuses: any suggestions? I suspect there will be considerable overlap with yoghurt pots – but the ones I’ve seen are a little more shapely than those so that may allow other reuses.

The little ones are fine as seedling starter pots (make holes in the bottom for drainage), or as little paint pots. They’d make dome-shaped jelly moulds for individual jellies – or for making your own microwave puddings! You could also cross the plant pot/dessert mould ideas over and make dirt puddings ;) Any other ideas?

As for actual recycling, does anyone know what number plastic they are? From a bit of Googling around, I think they’ll be number 5, polypropylene – but I’ll check next time I’m at the supermarket.