There are some who think recycling and “environment consciousness” are new
“things,” but as far back as I can remember, people always recycled something or
seemed to be conscious of the environment. When I was growing up, people
recycled just about everything. Only when an item was absolutely no longer
usable was it disposed of. Most people just didn’t have money (as we do today)
to be wasteful. They were always looking for ways to get by with the bare
minimum, and anything that could be re-used was.
relatives. There was no such thing as a thrift store back then.
with cloth wound up in Grandma’s beautiful homemade quilts.
We recycled bath and dish water then tossed it onto the yard or flowers as
an additional “fertilizer.” to help them grow.
Today, we have cardboard containers, but when I was a child, we used glass,
and empty soda and milk bottles were returned to our school or to the milk man
to be washed and used again.
We used old cans, jars and bottles for toting water, potting plants, and
for flower vases
And, of course, (BP) before Pampers, mothers used cotton diapers that were
always rewashed. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember my Mother ever using
throw-away diapers, even when my last brother was born during the late
So, consumers, homemaker and homeowners (back then) were quite resourceful.
They knew that waste would lead to deeper poverty, and grinding poverty was
certainly not something that anyone wanted more of.
Last but not least, my Dad was always looking for items that he could
salvage and sell. Uptown, there was a…I’m not sure what they called it, but
the place bought scrap iron and metal. I remember my Dad stopping along the road
and picking up pieces of iron, metal, tin, aluminum, or whatever that stuff
was that someone had thrown away. There was also a “junk” yard just outside the
city that he frequented to look for cast-offs. He took these items to this
“whatever-they-called it” shop and sold them. I’m sure he only received small
amounts of money, but at least that was his version of recycling. He didn’t do
that all the time, but it was frequent enough that I do still remember (in my
mind) where the place was and what it looked like. I thought of what he did as a
hobby, but it was actually his “side