I saw a few things online today about general recycling, the kind we do today. It made me start thinking about how it was when I was a kid in the 70s ad 80s. Especially in my younger years it seemed that people did not recycle because they were trying to be green and save the planet, but it was more of a thrifty re-using of items and just practical. I thought this would be a great topic for Throwback Thursday this week.
Heck, brands even marketed items to be re-used. What sticks out in my head most is Welch’s who put their yummy grape jelly into jars that could be used as glasses when we ate all the jelly. Grandma had a bunch of these that my brother and I used to drink out of at her house.
Photo source: Flickr My Lush Life
Baby food jars always had another purpose, especially for crafts and storage. Do you remember your teacher or scout leader putting a call out for baby food jars? How about the handyman in your house using the jars to hold assortments of screws, nuts, bolts, and nails?
When I was a kid peanut butter jars were glass with a metal lid. In the summer we would use an ice pick to puncture holes in the lids and then run around (yes with a glass jar) and collect lightning bugs (fireflies) or other bugs in them.
Egg cartons were always saved too. They were great palettes to keep paint colors separated for the kids at school. Plus we made all sorts of caterpillars, eyeballs, and other creatures with them.
Photo source: Flickr Colemama
Do you remember making candle holder thingies from old Pringles cans with the cut out for a little display at the bottom? Sara vs Sarah has great pics and project instructions even!
Toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, and wrapping paper tubes were all much thicker and stronger when I was a kid. You could use them to keep ropes and extension cords neat and tidy. The kids used them as telescopes, wheels, and tunnels for cars.
Coffee cans were metal back then and served folks well long after the coffee was gone. I think everyone had a coffee can that you poured bacon fat into and stored in your fridge. Great storage for larger items in the garage than what the baby food jars would hold. Painted, kids would make things like flower pots to give to Mom on Mother’s Day. My dad kept a large empty coffee can on his bass boat so that when my mom and I had to go to the bathroom we could squat over it with a blanket for privacy and go – then he dumped it out into the lake and saved the can for future use. Ugh.
Photo source: Flickr Roadsidepictures
I think I could go on and on here. I loved doing the craft stuff – not necessarily the end result, but the process of crafting is fun. Just recently I have started thinking myself and asking Hubby if we have a use for certain glass jars and bottles or other containers before they go into the recycling bin. It isn’t the same though as when I was a kid and it just seems like everything was saved to serve another purpose. I am glad we are more aware of how recycling helps, but I wish the reusing and repurposing was more prevalent than recycling even.
If you happen to visit St. Louis be sure to see City Museum which is primarily created with re-purposed items!
What items to you remember reusing when you were younger and how did you use them?
© 2013, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.