We’re all becoming more aware of the global warming scare that floods our consciences every day, berating us about waste, sustainability, and delivering a multitude of mediums with our wheel bin in a bid for us to spend time trekking through our trash to recycle plastic, cardboard paper and tin.
Most of us by now have caught up, and use our waste paper bin for books, pour little buckets for tin and our bags for plastic. We take hours each week peeling off labels, rinsing out milk bottles and removing the clear plastic windows from envelopes making them fit for the recycling bin.
However although this seems like a modern phenomenon, recycling has always been a part of everyone’s lives. For hundreds of years generations have been clued in to the benefits of sustainability without the fuss. It’s only now, as we let our waste disposal habits slide that we feel the effects of recycling, and because our habits have become quite lazy, we find it an effort to dispose of our waste in an environmentally friendly way.
The supermarkets of course are to blame for this generation’s wasteful attitude, their packaging being non-biodegradable but covering everything from cabbage to cars, leave us with little option but to throw the unwanted material away.
Yet think back to the days of the milkman. As he delivered fresh milk to the door in clear glass bottles, and parents would remove the silver lid, whilst you begged for a finger full of cream off the top. Without thinking or moaning, your parents would wash the bottles when empty ready to return to whence they came, recycling without a fuss.
Dandelion and burdock would be bought from the shop with pennies an incentive to return them.
Newspapers would have a variety of purposes from lighting the fire, to lining the drawers.
Whilst rationing would ensure that the whole of the meat was used, a chicken would create at least three meals, a roast, a stew a soup, and the vegetable peelings would feed the birds or the compost.
Brown paper bags would encase our groceries, only to be used to house our children’s packed lunches the next day, whilst old shoelaces were used for conker fights, and toilet roll holders for blue peter projects.
Nappies were terry towelling, steeped in buckets of bleach ready to be used again the next day. Dad’s razors would come in a paper packet of blades and when used would be used to carve wood, remove splinters, take paint off windows, and a myriad of magical methods.
It’s only recently with the bombardment of packaging that recycling has become a chore, it used to be fun, and played a part in many an idyllic childhood. So if you adapt your mind set and see what else you can make with your waste disposal, you can bring out the child in you and protect the environment all at the same time!
Martina Mercer was invited to join the panel of experts at the Brand Summit, Packaging Fair. You can find out more about this here.