Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ice Station Freebie - A Lenten Carbon Fast Challenge

Today's Change The World Wedneday/Lenten Carbon Fast challenge: (courtesy of my bloggy friend Small Footprints): 
bottle of ice
Bottle of ice is very useful
And very cheap!
"Defrost your freezer to reduce ice buildup and maintain efficiency. Allowing space for air to circulate will also help it run more efficiently. Place jugs of water in your fridge to help retain cold temperatures and scrub down the coils on the back of your fridge for higher efficiency."
One of my favorite cheap-but-responsible things to do is keep a couple of bottles of water in the freezer. I simply re-use plastic soda bottles, filling them almost all the way up, but leaving a little airspace for the water to expand into when it freezes - and giving myself the opportunity to use the word ullage!
This accomplishes several purposes. First, as per the challenge, it improves the efficiency of the freezer by eliminating a couple of liters of cold air that rushes out whenever I open the freezer door. Second, whenever I'm going on a picnic, I grab these prefrozen bottles for instant icepacks. (Actually, they're better than icepacks, because after they thaw, they provide drinking water for the ride home.) Third, these bottles are part of our resilience program; in a disaster, they would keep our food frozen for a little bit longer, and then function as a water reserve.

The bottle system is very flexible. When I need to use more space to freeze food, I just move the bottles out; if there's room in the fridge, I let them thaw there for an extra bit of efficiency, but they're otherwise content to sit with the other collection of water bottles in our emergency supply. As I draw down the stock of frozen food, I can slip in bottles a liter or so at a time! You really can't get much more convenient than that.
Let me also endorse the defrosting idea, if only because it can bring to the surface forgotten things in the back of the freezer. Last week I pulled out some apple slices I'd frozen last fall, when we had more then we could eat fresh. They made an excellent pie! Who knows what you'll find in the back of your freezer?

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