Sharing some of what I'm thinking-disposable items.

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by SurviveNthrive, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    Making a case for using paper plates, bowls, cups, forks and spoons...I'm sure some will agree and some disagree.

    I've seen this discussion before, I'm sure others have their opinions and I've made up my mind: I'm going to buy a lot of plastic cups, paper plates and bowls, and tons of disposable forks, spoons and knives. I'm going to buy a mix of cheapie and higher quality items from a resturant supply place. I'm even going to go as far as buy lots of those flimsy disposable cake, loaf and pie pans.

    Here's my rationale:

    To properly clean glasses, bowls, plates, forks and spoons I need water, lots of water, some of it hot and some of it warm and all of it potable. That's a waste of energy to heat the water and that uses a considerable amount of water that could better be used drinking and hygiene. I'm not one of those folks who half asses cleaning dishes, and I'm not going to do silly unnecessarily and inadequate stuff like use sand. If there's pouring rain outside, I'll take advantage of that to do some cleaning, but for the most part, I'm going with throwaway. Down the road I might have to resort to other items, but for the most part, when water is cut off and the power is down, I'm going to rely upon some cooking vessels that need cleaning but for the most part, I'm going with disposable stuff.

    It's cheap and widely available now. I've got room for storage and it doesn't take much to buy a variety of items. If someone has the opinion that he or she would rather spend the money buying more food and the nominal cost of buying for preps disposable cups, plates, bowls, forks and spoons is so burdensome then he or she has the wrong focus because that person isn't making it now and perhaps the focus should be on the here and now.

    As for disposing of the resulting garbage from this practice, I'm planning on burning most of it, and I'm doing it outside...again, if there's any officials available to enforce burn bans, well, then it's not an emergency and we're not there yet and order will be restored so there's no problem there.

    The last consideration:

    It's not eco sustainable. So what! I'm not eco silly. I'm not living my life to recycle and sweating the sustainable. I'm living. I'm living my life with pragmatic considerations and a focus on what I wish to focus upon. My recycling will be when it's utterly practical. For example, some canned food items like french cut green beans, corn and beets leave little residue and the cans can be quickly rinsed and then placed on the fire to 'sanitize' with heat that's still there. I can use those cans for cooking some odd items like various breads that can be scooped out of there, improvised soups, expanding portions of dried beans and soaking grains, etc. In fact, this is how I'm considering cooking my whole wheat berries and bulgur wheat when used as a hot cereal.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  2. nj_m715


    I plan to do a little of both. Boiling a large pot of water over a wood fire to sanitize metal cookware is cheap and easy, but I also have some paper/plastic products too. I also have plenty of bleach on hand to clean cookware.
    I like the idea of cooking in old cans to reduce the pot scrubbing.

  3. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

    We do a mix as well. The paper stuff worked out great durin the flood a '08, saved us lots a water.

    If a long term disaster the paper stuff will run out an we got pots, pans, plates an such fer that to.

    Bout all a feller can do is try ta cover all the bases.
  4. ajsmith

    ajsmith Well-Known Member

    Seems like good sound logic to me! One thing I hadn't thought about yet, thanks for the great ideas. The cheaper stuff I can get lots of at the dollar store.
  5. dulcimerlady

    dulcimerlady Member

    Agreed. :2thumb:
  6. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    The disposibles are a great way to save water if nessicary , and if you get paper where possible you can use the "waste" to generate heat
    I never though about disposibles in this way.:2thumb:
  7. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    I'm not a fan of plastic anything ... I been working on getting it out of my kitchen for years.... but that is just me ...

    Now if you have no place to get water to wash your dishes ... well ... I guess you must plan for the furture ... but disposibles are not in my plan ...

    I do see what you are talking about ( I do ) ... and if it fits for you ... go for it... but I have my own water plans ... where I can wash dishes ... best wishes ...
  8. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    We keep enough disposable dishes and silverware on hand for emergencies or company, so we don't have to worry about washing dishes.

    But for the long term we plan to use our regular dishes. Heating water is free for us. We use the woodstove. It it's summer I collect a bucket of pine cones from the woods around our cabin and by the time those burn out, a kettle of dish water is just the right temperature.

    Our water? We have a rainwater collection system, but during dry spells we haul it from the neighbor's always-flowing artesian spring. We usually have close to 100 gallons in the house in tanks.

    Only makes sense to wash our own. But it's really nice to NOT have to during emergencies, etc., of short-term duration.
  9. SaskBound

    SaskBound Well-Known Member

    i like the idea of having at least a few disposables around, but i tend toward paper as much as possible - that way, you can burn the garbage without worrying about fumes...which means you can use it for firestarter inside.
  10. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    I'm single...

    So it's a no brainier for me.. also the paper plates make good fire starters.. as for plastic forks etc..I prefer the real thing.. I call the plate " the Good China" also I use paper towels instead of napkins..

    As a Marine Grunt I can assure you the two things you need after your rifle is your towel and a spoon... with those your good to go..

    If I'm eating something that's not wet or sticky I use a paper towel as a plate.. easy clean up.. If it's not to messed up I leave it on the table for wiping up spills or as a nose blower.. I get a lot of mileage out of one paper towel !!!

    Of course for company I use real dish's... gotta be civilized yanno...
  11. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    Semper Fi.

    Well, heck, back in college we used regular typing, copying and printing paper for some items that we nuked. For example, wrapping a buritto in paper instead of using a plate when you don't have a napkin or paper towel.

    What really struck me today was how much water is wasted in just washing a pot! Wow! Definitely working on more disposable options.
  12. Kathryn

    Kathryn Active Member

    I do not mind using water to clean dishes, because after all the dishes are cleaned the gray water is used to water the garden. Water is a precious commodity here in Arizona, so the majority of the water I will be using to clean my dishes will be from the local lake, and rinse them with potable water. As for the energy needed to heat the water, that has been resolved by putting the hot water tank next to the wood burning stove, and while it may not be super hot, it will be warm and if I want it warmer I'll just put a pot of water on the stove. As for paper products, they would take up too much room for our homestead, but it would cut down on water use and dish pan hands.
  13. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    I'm very concerned about health and standards when it comes to washing dishes, perhaps that took me on this track.

    For washing dishes, water needs to be HOT, not just very warm to meet sanitation requirements, hot enough that the items and water can't be handled. For the majority of folks 'washing' dishes in their kitchen sink, they're not washing them and meeting standards. Someone provided the usual survivalist solution of boiling the items in a pot on a fire and that works, but man, that's also fuel heavy. On the flip side, fire for heating might be needed. This is one temp recommendation: "Water temperature when rinsing dishes is just as important. Rinsing water will ideally be around 170 degrees. This temperature insures that dishes will air dry quickly reducing streaks and spots." To do it properly takes a whole lot of heat and water, and the water must be potable.

    In addition to the water stored for drinking and personal hygiene, I don't think I'd be capable of storing the thousands of gallons needed just for dish washing.

    Now if I could find a ready source of cheap, disposable pots!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  14. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    if things get THAT bad... why not just cook the crap in the can it comes in? :D

    then throw THAT away, instead of making more garbage than you really need to

    then again, paper/cardboard can always be burned in the stove & the ashes mixed into the compost ;)

    is there a company that makes non-plastic disposable utensils?... such as the starch-based 98%(?) biodegradables

    from the patent blurb:

    1. A disposable starch utensil made of a plastic starch mixture comprising: an edible starch obtained from a plant, being a white granule and a high molecular weight carbohydrate and comprising 60-80% of the mixture; a plasticizier comprising a polypropene having plasticity and tractility and comprising 5-10% of the mixture; and a builder comprising: a talcum comprising 5-15% of the mixture, a sorbitol comprising 5-20% of the mixture; and a calcium carbonate comprising 5-20% of the mixture.

    2. The disposable starch utensil as claimed in claim 1, wherein the edible starch is obtained from at least one of corn, sweet potato, potato, tapioca, rice and wheat.

    3. The disposable starch utensil as claimed in claim 1, wherein the disposable starch utensil is a cup.

    4. The disposable starch utensil as claimed in claim 1, wherein the disposable starch utensil is a bowl.

    5. A method for manufacturing the disposable starch utensil as claimed in claim 1 comprising the following steps: preparing materials comprising an edible starch, a plasticizer and a builder according to a formulation ratio; mixing the edible starch and the builder to form an intermediate mixture at a temperature of 120° C. to 140° C. by a high-speed mixer and drying the intermediate mixture at 35° C. to 45° C. to control water content to 1%; polymerizing the intermediate mixture by adding the plasticizer and heating to form a plastic starch mixture; forming a sheet by pressing the plastic starch mixture; and forming a disposable utensil by heating the sheet to 150° C. to 210° C. and molding the heated sheet into a disposable utensil by a high-speed negative pressure forming machine or a high-speed positive pressure thermoforming machine at a temperature of 150° C. to 210° C.
  15. SaskBound

    SaskBound Well-Known Member

    Who sets those standards, and are they standards for basic 'won't make you sick' or standards for Martha Stewart? Because seriously, if TSHTF, I could care less if there are spots or streaks. In fact, I don't care now. I agree that the dishes MUST be washed in potable water, but if you scrape them properly (or let the dog clean up the scraps) you can wash them in very little soapy water, then dip them in a bit of clean hot water or clean water with bleach, and be plenty hygenic.

    Another thought is the question of just how often things really need to be washed. We usually each pick a cup (everybody gets a different color) and use it for a few days. When you are only drinking water, it works fine. We do all our dishes by hand, and try to reduce where we can. We can do all the dishes, plus pots and pans, in a gallon or so of water, if we are trying hard. While they are guaranteed to have streaks and spots, they will be clean enough that no-one gets sick...

    I still agree that a stack of disposables would be a godsend in a short-term emergency, and we do keep some on hand here at our place. However, they will only last so long, so you might consider how you would cope with more extended circumstances.
  16. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    Who sets the standards?

    I figure we could look that up and find out what the guidelines and recommendations are, and many of us took the class to get 'food handler's permits', managed food service places, or supervised food service workers, but the basic standards are you want to remove food residue and kill bacteria. Streaks and spots mean something is left there. Streaks and spots may be soap residue, which isn't exactly what one should accept for food contact items, or it may be residual food, which is a source of bacteria.

    Much of the details aren't needed because of home and commerical dish washers which bring the water up to temp, use appropriate dish soap and air dry eliminating the need to know what steps must be taken.

    I guess the standard is to make sure one doesn't get sick, that means bacteria like Salmonella and e coli must be killed or removed, etc. To do that requires that the food vessels be exposed to the appropriate temps. Now I've seen that listed at 170 degrees but if it takes over 180 to kill e coli in meat, I figure it means 170 for dishes isn't high enough.

    But this brings up some interesting issues, such as whether most folks understand proper cooking temps, avoid cross contamination, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  17. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    Add some bleach to the rinse water if you're concerned about germs. If you don't have that heat the rinse water to boiling and dip the utensils in it to kill the germs. Make some really good 'shine to dip the utensils in then drink the 'shine after dinner. Kind of an external then internal anti-biotic! :eek:

    If things are bad long enough, sooner or later there will not be any "disposables." Learn how to wash dishes with less soap and water and if germs are a big deal for you or you're feeding people commercially dip them (the utensils ... not the people!) for a few seconds in boiling water to sterilize them. It doesn't take a lot of water. Just enough to cover them. It shouldn't take a lot of heat if you don't use excessive water in the first place. Conserve water. Use the gray water for watering plants. Wash dishes only when you need to ... not necessarily after every meal.

    Like gypsysue said, we have some disposable plates, etc. for company and to get us through the "adjustment" phase after a SHTF situation. After that it will be business as usual.

    Did you ever wonder why the people of Mexico can drink their water and most Americans can't without getting sick? The Mexicans have built up an immunity to the nasties in their water and we haven't. People who live in totally sterile environments are weak. I'm not saying we should all go out and be exposed to everything nature has to offer but we shouldn't be so squeemish that we weaken our bodies either.

    After reading this thread I have to wonder how mankind as species ever survived to the present day! Personally, if I have reason to suspect some deadly pathogen is present I'll go to the extra measures to sterilize everything. Otherwise I'll let the dog lick the plate clean and put it back on the shelf. ;) (Anyone want to come over for dinner? :sssh:)
  18. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    I support a charity which provides clean drinking water.

    They don't really have an immunity in Mexico, Africa and other places. They get sick. Some die. They are diminished.
  19. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Yeah...okay. When all of our kids and their spouses and our grandchildren come, such as for holidays or summer get-togethers, there are 21 of us, counting MMM and I. YOU come wash the dishes after all of them! :eek:

    I spend way too much time cooking and baking for everyone, it's nice to not have to add in washing up dozens of dishes and silverware! Yeah, they could pitch in and help, and they do with the pots and pans, but it's nice to be able to visit and enjoy each other while they're here.

    SurviveNthrive...I think we're down to that germaphobe VS whatever you'd call the other side. We never get sick, and I've washed dishes in room temperature water. I've melted snow on the woodstove and washed dishes in them. On camping trips I've washed dishes in creekwater (removed from the creek, not IN the creek) and even wiped them with snow and cooked something else. (Yes, we camp in the snow sometimes...not in a camper, either. On a tarp laid on the snow!) I don't ever use bleach in my dish water, though I'm aware I could. For that matter I don't use dish soap, either. I use baking soda for the wash, vinegar for the rinse.

    Grossed out yet? Perhaps people CAN build up immunities to some things in the water. And perhaps some of us actually DO know how to cook our food thoroughly, and wash our hands after handling raw meat and raw eggs.

    So...we're never sick, and I mean I can't even remember the last time I threw up, and that was probably 20 years ago when I was pregnant with one or the other of my kids, and I have kids in their 20's who have never had more than a cold...yet they grew up with what some of you would call apalling cleanliness standards.

    Many people over-use anti-bacterial products to the point where they probably are too delicate now to fight off normal germs. Good grief, I paged through a Good Housekeeping magazine earlier this year and saw an ad for something you were supposed to wipe down your kids' book bags and stuff with as soon as they come in the door after school, because you never know where germs will be! Holy cow, what has happened to this world! How will people with that kind of life ever survive in the unfavorable conditions of a SHTF situation?

    If so many Mexicans are dying from bad water I guess illegal immigration is a moot point...they'll all be dead soon. :dunno:
  20. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    You gotta be posting that just to gross me out! (I admit I'd sanitize food if I could.)

    I'm sure what flies in some places and some circles is different and OK for them.

    This is just about a difference in life choices and potential illness, and resources that are plentiful now might be in short supply.

    Some folks don't shower daily and that's fine with them. Ew!
    Some folks don't change theri skivvy's every day and that's fine with them. Ew!
    Some folks don't rinse their beans and sort them before cooking them. (Doesn't matter much because of the cooking process but it elminates potential organic waste.)
    Some folks don't wash their veggies and eat berries as they're picking them. Ew!

    But none of that works for me!

    I want CLEAN dishes and such, lots of toilet paper, plenty of water to bathe, etc. I'd prefer to be around folks with the same inclination whether it's during daily life or post TSHTF.

    I figure for a couple of hundred bucks I can have a lot more paper plates, cups, forks and spoons than I'll have corresponding stored food.

    It's a great option for folks like me.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010