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Chelsea Green Blog

5 Ways to Reuse Your Old Nalgene Bottles

The water bottle that (kind of) defined a generation…is really a killer. Last year, toxic plastic struck close to home. In April 2008, the FDA deemed Nalgene water bottles—those awesome, never-break, never-leak containers you had come to depend on—as unsafe for use, due to dangerous levels of toxicity in the plastic. Durability, in other words, came at a higher price than ten bucks. Most of us tossed our bottles out with the trash, and went for the stainless steel varieties deemed safe. But many stubbornly continued to use their Nalgenes anyway; what doesn’t have chemicals, right? Well, according to Mark Schapiro, author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, you really don’t want to mess around with this stuff. What the FDA found in these old Nalgenes is enough to make you run for the hills. Bisphenol A (BPA), a highly toxic chemical and plastic additive, “makes plastic more rigid and unbreakable,” according to Schapiro. But this should not be considered a dream product for the outdoors enthusiast. In fact, he adds, “BPA has been linked to the development of prostate and breast cancer in adults,” and in regard to the latter, “mimicking estrogen and being carcinogenic.” Case closed. Nalgene stopped making bottles with BPA at the price of super-durability, and now we’re safe. To the burn pile! But not so fast—throwing them out doesn’t really do the environment any good either, and the last thing we want to do is create more toxic waste to clog the dumps. So what do we do with all our old Nalgenes? I’ve heard some nutty ideas, the best of which include detailed plans for a canine flotation device, lobster trap buoys, and a time capsule. But this isn’t MacGyver. Here are five easy ways you can make the most of yours: Convert them into solar lanterns: All you need is a solar-powered LED Light Cap200 to replace your old top, and voila. This water bottle cap is good for any bottle, actually, with a 2″ mouth. All you have to do is fill your Nalgene with water (for weight against wind) and use for nighttime picnics or beside your bed. The brighter the color, the better. Make your own toothbrush holder: Get your art on! Glue or tape a weird family photo on the bottle, and impress your guests. If your toothbrush isn’t long enough to clear the lip, fill the bottom of the bottle with gravel, sand, or marbles. Just remember not to store your brush upside down… Use for a flower vase: Considering you’re going to cut them anyway, there’s no harm keeping them in BPA plastic, unless you’re planning on eating them as well (do I hate myself for saying this? Are flowers people, too?) Fashion a hot water bottle: I know a guy who fills his old Nalgene with boiling water, wraps it in a ripped sock he can’t wear anymore, and brings to bed come winter. Handy picnic weights: How many times has your picnic been ruined by a blown over blanket? Never again, if you bring a nalgene filled with sand and weight down the corners. Think about it. Reclaim toxicity.

A Thanksgiving Hit: Apple Pie with Cider Jelly

The Thanksgiving season means a barrage of holiday recipes that overflow your inbox and social media feeds. Some of these are new and innovative, meant to impress guests and sure to fade away from the culinary canon. However, there’s a reason that certain other recipes stand the test of time: they just work. We’ve had […] Read More..

Release Your Inner Viking With New Book on Mead

Unlock the mead brewing secrets of the ancient Norse with homesteader and fermentation enthusiast Jereme Zimmerman’s new book Make Mead Like a Viking. Whether you’re new to homebrewing or looking to expand your current brewing and fermentation practices, Zimmerman’s welcoming style and spirit will usher you into an exciting new territory of wildcrafted experimentations, including more than 20 recipes to try.The fermentation […] Read More..

For a Very Viking Thanksgiving, Try Homemade Mead

The people who lived the Viking lifestyle a thousand years ago enjoyed myriad foods and beverages and throwing feasts that lasted several days to show off what they had stockpiled throughout the harvest season. Bring the Viking spirit of celebration to your Thanksgiving table this year with a traditional batch of spiced orange mead. Brew up the following recipe […] Read More..

Brew Outside the Box: Making Mushroom-Infused Beer

When thinking about drinking a nice cold beer, the flavor of mushrooms doesn’t exactly spring to mind. But for the adventurous brewer – and drinker – infusing mushrooms into brews is a great way to combine the medicinal benefits of fungi with one of the world’s most consumed beverages.The best part? You can grow mushrooms […] Read More..

Recipe: How To Make Your Own Chèvre Using Natural Ingredients

Making cheese at home may seem like a time and labor-intensive process, but what if you could make a delicious, high-quality cheese that practically “sits and takes care of itself”? According to David Asher, author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, you can.Asher is an organic farmer and goatherd, so his recipe for chèvre, or goat […] Read More..
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