Your Place: Protecting food, the environment and yourself

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Iím reaching into the drawer that holds information rather than questions this week, and the first item I retrieve concerns refrigerator food spoilage when the power goes out for a long period.

From appliance protection plan company Protect Your Bubble comes word that the average value of food that spoils if a refrigerator stops working is $173.37.

In 2014, January was the month with the highest number of food spoilage claims, followed by May, July, June, and April.

Items people are concerned about the most when power goes out are meats, milk and vegetables. Peopleís favorite items in their fridge, however, include, in order, desserts, cheese and alcohol.

Make that spoon a fork.

Hometalk, a do-it-yourself sharing site, informs me that the average American generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day.

While Iím actually looking into this, the site offers some ideas to "repurpose" waste into something useful.

You can check all of these out on

Among them:

Toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls can be repurposed as an iPhone speaker.

Magazines/books make for great coasters.

Cardboard boxes turn into a diaper box.

Leftover egg shells make a great compost.

For me ó and I am saying for me ó eggshells have never composted as quickly as everything else in the bin, but Iím not everybody, of course.

Another is "plastic bags take on a whole new life as decorative pillows," but this idea sort of worries me, if you know what I mean, but you have to check out the site.

Protect yourself.

Finally, March 15 to March 21 is "Poison Prevention Week," which began in 1962 by act of Congress the previous year.

While you should check out the full story at , here are two things of which you should be mindful:

Keep medicines, which you never call "candy," out of the reach of children.

Call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison control center, anywhere in the United States.