Did you ever wonder where those little bits of plastic that are punched out of the hang-up holes go? Packagers don't. They know exactly where they go — into the trash containers of the folks who purchase the packages after they're finished with whatever was held inside.
Check it out for yourself. You see how it's not punched all the way around? How there's just enough to flap out of the way when it's time to hang.
It's an elegant solution to an annoying little waste disposal problem, comparable to siphoning fractional cents over to dummy accounts without anyone noticing, as some unsavory bankers have been rumored to do (http://rbi.ims.ca/4917-531). Can you imagine sweeping up all those little holes in the packaging room? What are the odds one would wind up in someone's food? Did somebody just say "lawyer?"
Well, this week I solved an annoying little waste disposal problem of my own. Packagers would be proud of me.
After five years of owning this place I call home, a rack of spare fence sections, which had been sitting behind the shed collecting a spongy detritus, turned into a perfect mechanism for rotting the walls. So, I finally pulled it all out.
Now, in addition to replacing the blown-through walls, I've got six or eight sections of scrap fence to deal with.
I can't throw it out without hacking it into sections small enough to fit into garbage bags and hoping the refuse collector doesn't notice and leave it for me to drag back. After replacing four windows in the place, I've grown tired of that exercise.
I'd been toying with the idea of installing a fireplace indoors anyway, but always trip over the decision of gas or wood.
So I bought a little outdoor chiminea at Lowe's for 79 bucks (http://rbi.ims.ca/4917-532) and burn a little at a time, doing my part for romance with my girl, while releasing that CO2 which would wind up in the atmosphere anyway when the stuff rots.
If you do any camping, you note that the cleanest places are where the campers go — ain't a bit of scrap wood to be found. That's how my yard's gonna look soon.
True, the sanctimonious environmentalists are going to get after me for burning wood. But, I figure, if burning is good enough for former New Yorker Editor Bill McKibben, who warned of global warming back in 1989 in his "The End of Nature" (http://www.billmckibben.com/books.html) and who just penned a short piece in the March 2006 House & Garden magazine (http://www.houseandgarden.com) on buying wood stoves, I figure it's good enough for me, a lowly tech editor who hasn't yet had the chance to run away to grid-free, solar living in Vermont.
McKibben does mention calculating the cost of heating with wood versus other fuels, using a calculator (http://rbi.ims.ca/4917-533). He finds wood heating costs about a third of what heating with fossil fuels costs. Later on, he says heating with wood does not contribute to global climate change, that, while burning it releases greenhouse gases, growing it absorbs them.
Really? I'd like to hear an engineer weigh in on this. I'm pretty sure that my neighbors aren't going to be too happy with my smokey little chiminea once winter ends and they open their windows — no matter how much it warms my heart or solves my scrap problem.
Reach Senior Editor Paul Sharke at email@example.com.