Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Recycling Used to Look Like, This Is True, I'm Not Making This Up, Seriously....

And it was simpler and I wish, sometimes, we could all agree to be that way again - but not always.

Okay, what made me think of this - today - when I was emptying my small trash cans and I began to think -   Is everyone that way - activities lead you to thoughts about other things, other times, other places - things people have said.....?

Emptying small trash cans in individual rooms always makes me think of a conversation I had with a college roommate - actually, we shared an apartment  - my friend, Martha - and we were both from our small town of Evergreen and our moms were friends and same agish....  so we were discussing, way back then, the task of emptying small trash cans - and how we didn't get it done until they were full to overflowing - at which point Martha talked about how her mother had done the task daily when Martha was living at home - how her mom, Addy, would never let the trash cans get out of hand - or so it seemed.  I remarked, with a smile, my mom either!!!  What a difference in their generation and ours... what's happened to us, we wondered - and continued to let the trash cans fill up.  I have no clue what we did about the larger "kitchen garbage can".

So I'm 61 now and my mind aimlessly goes back, on cue, to that conversation each time I empty my small trash cans - only.... today I thought more about it and how I think about it on cue - but I also thought about how we didn't have the small trash can liners back then.  No one had the liners when our mothers were doing that daily task nor when Martha and I were doing that in 1973 and 1974.  And.... on top of that they didn't have the liners for the kitchen garbage cans.

So here we come to my comments on recyclling and how it was done.

1.  Before Milk Cartons there were Glass Milk Bottles and the full bottles were left at our side door - to be returned, empty, on the requested schedule.  Replaced by more full bottles of milk.  We did the same with glass coke bottles.  Returning them wasn't required, as the cokes were not left at our door, but we didn't drink so much coke - only on special occasions - and - the motivation was that if we returned them to the designated location - usually the local grocery store - we'd get 2 cents per empty bottle.  You better believe my mother returned our glass coke bottles - as well as saving her S&H Green stamps which she got from the grocery store - to be redeemed for selected products at the S&H Green Stamp Store.

2.  Some innovative someone thought of the milk cartons and soon, no more glass milk bottles.  Then, of course, there were no plastic grocery bags, only the large brown paper bags which Mother definitely saved from her Thursday trips to the grocery store, doing her weekly grocery shopping - Thursday afternoons, coming in from school, were wonderful - I knew definitely that Mom had been to the grocery store and couldn't wait to see what I would have to snack on after school.  Okay - back to the brown bags.  Those were mother's garbage can liners - with a layer of saved newspapers beneath the brown bag to catch any yukky moisture - BUT - to cut down on yukky moisture - and we did not have garbage disposals yet - not in our house - Mother saved her cartons, opened them up to a square opening and she put her food scraps and coffee grinds in the empty milk carton.  If she'd had a garden, she could have composted that - but she didn't have a garden.  I'm small town, but I wasn't raised on a  farm, nor were Mom or Dad garden oriented.  Mother got fresh vegetables from curb markets and the local A&P.  Or from friends who gifted her with their overflow.  I definitely grew up eating fresh vegetables.  My grandmother didn't even grow her own garden - but there were always fresh vegetables to eat at her house.

That's really all I have to say about recycling.  We just had less to throw out, I think.  I like liners.  I love liners.  I do not like yukky garbage which leads to yukky garbage cans.  Let's keep that liner up and over the can.

Still - I have a fondness for brown grocery bags.  I prefer them, actually, but I don't request them.  I just always take the plastic bags which are not at all aesthetically pleasing.  Not at all.  Yet, with babies back in my world, the plastic grocery bags are perfect for dirty diapers - but when I had babies, I disposed of my dirty diapers in all of my saved bread bags.

Which takes us to cloth diapers vs. disposable - now there's a whole other way to recycle.  I totally went with disposable diapers.  Completely.

I succumb to all the conveniences, but if we could all agree to go back - all of us - I would, maybe.


Mary Ann said...


fifa-coin said...
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