We recycled stuff in the old days – old like in the 1950s. Coming out of the war years where almost everything was rationed, Boomers took bottles back to the stores, we wore hand-me-downs to school, we used cotton diapers over and over and we saved aluminum foil for more than one use.
I remember distinctly a TV commercial when a new product – I think it was margarine of some sort – came in a (gasp!) reusable plastic container. This was cutting edge technology!
“Enjoy the margarine and use the container over and over,” the commercial said. “Even save several for a set.” And American moms bought that product primarily to use as a container.
Look in your trash can today and there are probably a half dozen perfectly fine plastic containers that are just tossed aside. Those volume sized cookie dough tubs are as tough as nails and could be used multiple times, like good Tupperware, but they get thrown away. So do ordinary plastic milk containers.
We have a large plastic container in the basement that originally held cheese puffs or something similar. It’s at least a gallon size and we use it and use it over and over for homemade “Trash” – a seasoned blend of Cheerios, Wheat Chex, peanuts, pretzels, and the like. But 99 out of 100 other containers like that simply find their way into trash bins.
As long as we pump oil, there will be no shortage of plastic, but it seems such a waste to throw away so many reusable items.
It would be interesting if a store someday offered only refills – mayonnaise, for example, or orange juice. Bring in the old jar or container and fill ‘er up. Get a quart of Duke’s Mayonnaise in the old container for a buck. The company wouldn’t have to package and ship a gazillion jars. It would save a huge amount of money.
Oh well, maybe someday, but until then, Boomers are still apt to salt away a few old plastic containers. You never know when you might need an old milk jug.