Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tiny Tip: Repurpose Your Credit Card

I thought it would be appropriate to mention this tiny tip this month, since February's Alternative Action Item is to bake bread. And many people out there are getting rid of credit cards or having the accounts close on them. That little piece of plastic may have been the bane of your existence, a temptation as potent as a drug, that has gotten you into a financial mess. It's a good thing to retire a credit card or two. But that doesn't mean the card itself is worthless to you. It need not end up in a landfill.

Instead, you can repurpose that stiff little piece of plastic into a baking tool. Bakers often need something to scrape dough off a wooden work surface, or off the inside of a container. The tool is called, appropriately enough, a dough scraper. Baker's supply catalogs will sell you specially made ones with extra features for $10. But really, all that's needed is a stiff, but somewhat flexible piece of plastic, curved on one side and straight on the other. The ones you can buy are bigger than a credit card, but there's no reason you can't work with a smaller version that fits neatly in your hand. And because you can make as many as you want from old membership cards and credit cards, it's possible to have a very large supply of them for baking day. An ordinary but sharp pair of scissors is all that's needed to make these hacked scrapers.

Using a homemade dough scraper made from retired spending enablers to bake your own bread is a great way to triple up your savings while increasing your self-sufficiency. It's a nice feeling to know that I can be a proficient baker without needing to spend money on specialized equipment. And it's feels good to keep another piece of plastic out of the landfill too.

Got any other tool hacks or repurposing stories you'd like to share?

More tiny tips: More Sunlight in Your Garden, Parboil Your Pasta, Make the Most of Old Man Winter, Broccoli Stalk, Scallions


Anonymous said...

We've got loads of reuses for old credit cards on our site How Can I Recycle This?:

As someone suggests on Recycle This, I personally use them as a grouting/filling tool but I love the idea of using them as a dough scrapper too - I usually end up doing that with my fingernails and boy, that's no fun at all!

-louisa :)

Louisa Parry said...

oh, the direct link to the credit card page didn't autolink so here's a tinyurl of it instead

Amy on Track said...

I keep an old card in my car to scrap ice and frost off the windows.

Sadge said...

Plus, scraping up that leftover flour and dough and dumping it into the chicken or compost bucket will save you the plumbing bills
to get that gluey mass out of your kitchen sink drain.

Anonymous said...

There's something poetic in that.

Most people use credit cards to lose lots of dough. You're using them to scrape up some dough and make sure it's not wasted.


Kate said...

Great suggestions at that site, Louisa. And yours is a good one too, Amy. Good point about the plumbing, Sadge, and the chickens love any carbs they can get. I think you're right about the poetry of the situation, Darren.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and leaving your calling cards.


LynnS said...

Plastics have toxins. I would never consider using a plastic in contact with consumables. I use wooden utensils for my dough scrapers. If you are farming organically, eating organically, get rid of the plastics in the kitchen, especially those that would come in contact with foods and drinks!

Anonymous said...

And to think I have been on the lookout for dough scrapers everywhere ! Didn't find them but didn't need to! Thanks for the idea.

Sally Michelle said...

Any hints on how to make bread less crumbly or is it all in the recipe? Every recipe I seem to make gets crumbly and bothers my husband.

Kate said...

Mama Bear, I'm far from an expert baker, so I can't say for sure. The best answer is that it probably does come down to the recipe. In winter time though I find that I often have to add a little extra water to compensate for the lack of humidity in the air. Overproofing is another way of making very crumby bread, so you may want to double check that that's not happening. Other than that, just practice, practice, practice.