This is the first installment of what will be an irregular series of reflections on the waste stream we find flowing all around us. More than any other place we have lived, there is an enormous percentage of the trash that other people in our neighborhood throw out that consists of damaged and perfectly usable Ikea products. Sometimes we take them directly from the trash and use as is. Other times we put them to uses they were not intended for like the banana peel drying racks below. We even cut them up and reconfigure them for other purposes too. This is useful and saves us money and keeps this stuff from being incinerated or turned into yet even more disposable, poorly made home furnishings.

Our daughter eats a lot of bananas and I wanted to figure out something to do with the peels as we have no place to compost food waste. We often take things from our waste stream and generate new things with them when we can. I have long wanted to make banana fiber paper. It is a beautiful color and can be used for making covers for artists books or making really nice prints. Perhaps we will do both with the paper we make. To that end, we will be drying a lot of banana peels using these wire drawers that came out of a demolished Ikea cabinet. It is perfect for this task. I took the peels, laid them on top of one drawer, and then firmly pressed the other drawer on top. It locks the peels in place and circulates a lot air around them.

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