Why didn’t we recycle in our day?


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older
woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags
weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing
back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.
Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future
generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to
the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and
over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we
reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags,
was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.
This was to ensure that public property, (the books
provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our
scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown
paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every
store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two
blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the
throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry
our clothes back in our early days.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every
room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In
the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have
electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail,
we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it,
not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then,
we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.
We used a push mower that ran on human power.
We exercised by working so we didn’t need to
go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled
writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the
razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just
because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour
taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire
bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a
computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites
23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old
folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a
lesson in conservation from aknow-it-all young person…

We don’t like being old in the first place,
so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.

This was sent to me by a dear ‘old’ friend (smile)

Star

4 thoughts on “Why didn’t we recycle in our day?

  1. That’s pretty good. Yes, I remember cloth diapers, that’s all I used. And we we so much less wasteful in those days. In Seattle and Bellingham, plastic bags are being banned, and people will need to bring their own or pay for paper bags. I think it’s a good idea.

    • I also used cloth nappies for all three of mine. I remember when I had the first baby, they were in short supply for some reason. I had to buy some slightly inferior ones to start with. We only used throw away nappies if we went out for the day and that wasn’t very often. The trouble with the throwaways is that they must be taking up so much space and stinking to high heaven! On the other hand, all that washing of the cloth ones used a lot of soap powder and machine energy, didn’t it.

  2. Such a great post. I was just remarking the other day to my Mother, that things have come full circle in the grocery bag standoff. In the 70’s we were encouraged to “save a tree, use plastic”.

    • Yeah, I remember that! Over here in England the supermarkets started giving out plastic bags and they were very useful for putting the rubbish into at the end of the day. Then there was a hoo hah and they had to bio-degradable. That lasted for a while. Now we have to buy a sturdier bag in the shop and keep reusing it. That’s fine but they are quite big and ever so heavy to lift. There is no easy answer and now I have to buy my own bin bags and guess what, they are plastic too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s