Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In The Trenches - Recycling

This story is a little off-season but still fun.

As Christmas approaches the excitement of the children grows. The tree is up and the simple presents are being purchased. It’s time to start the wrapping. Mom gets on the stepladder and to the top shelf to get one of our favorite boxes. The wrapping paper box. From this we carefully select from the beautiful papers that were on the gifts we received the previous year and the years before that. The tape has been carefully removed and the paper folded for just this time. We sort though them to find just the perfect piece to fit our gift for this year. Some of the paper has been used for the last 10 years and we are able to remember what it originally covered. Then we pick the right ribbon from the ribbon box.

Sound familiar? Probably not. To this day I still cringe when the paper is ripped off the packages, wadded up and thrown in a garbage bag. Maybe a special ribbon or bag is kept but probably never used again. And, it makes me a little sad. Somehow some of the preciousness of the moment is gone.

You’ll enjoy reading some of the things we used to recycle:

Twisty Ties.
Bread Bags.
Diapers – We washed them and used them again.
Milk Bottles – They were either delivered to the house or we went to the Milk Barn.
Cool Whip Containers - For leftovers.
Pants – Most kids had patches on their knees.
Pie and TV tins.
Mayonnaise Jars – Used for canning peaches, pears, and beans. (Modern jars are not the same quality.)
Socks – When they got a hole they were darned with a light bulb. Huh?
Small jars – All these were used for jam.
Shoes – When the heels wore out we got a new one put on.
Lunch Sacks – I think you can actually use these 10 to 20 times before they are worn out and we got in trouble if we forgot to bring them home from school.
Leaves – Compost.
Christmas Cards – Kids ornament and craft making projects at school.
Scrap Fabric – Quilts.
Old Jeans – Cut out the good parts and make quilts. Pockets just make it better.
Zip lock bags – Washed and put in the dish drainer for reuse.
Chop Sticks – When the restaurant gave the disposable ones we kept them.
Bacon Grease – Always a cup in the frig for frying eggs, etc.
Buttons – Before a worn off piece of clothing was discarded all the buttons were cut off for reuse.
Zippers – Same as above.
Meat Trays – Mom used to wash and keep all these but I sure can’t remember why.

Adds new meaning to the term Frugal Living, doesn’t it?

I sound so old as I list all this but this was in the 50’s and 60’s and not only poor people did this. This was a time when “Waste not, Want not” was king and almost everybody lived within their means and prospered in the process.

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