Thursday, January 5, 2017


Kathy and Bess
It was really cold here last night -- +2 or +4 or something like that. Mike let the dogs sleep inside, and they were glad. Taking a clue from the little girl that used to live at my house, I pulled a soft crocheted shawl around my shoulder and neck and slept quite comfortably.

Here's a new blog topic that Daughter Hallie provided. She writes:
I've recently been giving a lot of thought to plastic. Mostly just carrying around guilt about it. I'd like to be mindful of reducing my plastic footprint, which sparks the question, "how did our ancestors do it without plastic?"

- Buying in bulk: I know we've talked about flour sacks before. Do you suppose people would use fabric sacks to purchase flour, nuts, or other items that you can typically get in bulk? Perhaps they would put things into small paper bags rather than plastic?

- Liquids: liquids were probably entirely in glass. What about shampoo and cosmetics? Also glass? What were the options for reusing glass bottles? What was happening before the "buy bottled water" craze? Were drinking fountains more prevalent? Did people carry around canteens?

- Cereal: How did people keep cereal from going stale? Was it purchased in bulk in a sack and then transferred to a glass canister with a gasket?

- What kind of packaging were plants kept in? If you were to buy a tree or small plant, was it kept in burlap or something made of wood? Were nurseries not a thing? Did people have to order seeds and plant everything from seed?

I just wish we could go back in time and never discover plastic. Plastic is practically forced upon the consumer. Could I be a plastic-free consumer? Hmmmm....

[My first thought is that the consumer doesn't have a lot of options unless government and corporate entities are behind the program. I'm not an expert in the subject, but I do remember a little about how it was mid-century. We'll have several installments on this subject, so join in the discussion. Till next time . . . KW]


Chuck said...

Would you include as a starter, where plastic comes from. There are different kinds, such as biodegradable or permanent. I think tree roots were generally encased in burlap. Flour came in linen bags. I don't remember about sugar. Cereal has been in cardboard cylinders for as far back as I can remember.

Chris said...

I remember lots of glass--ketchup, mayonaise, etc, all game in glass. Cereal in cardboard with waxed paper liners, bread in waxed paper with seals on the ends, sugar seems to have come in paper as long as I remember. Mom wrapped my sandwiches in wax paper when I took a lunch in first grade. No saran wrap, just a plate on top of a bowl or wax paper. Ooo, and chipped beef and pimento spreads came in little glasses with metal seals that we pried off with a bottle opener and then we used the glasses for juice glasses! Thanks for the memories! :-)

Hallie said...

What an adoring look from Bess? I imagine her saying, "Is that hot cocoa on your breath?"

Plastic: yes, there are biodegradable versions now, but that's relatively new, is it not? I just recently heard about using wax paper as a replacement for sandwich baggies! With a little research I learned that there are different kinds of wax paper, and for the Earth conscious, you want to make sure you get the version that is not a petroleum product. Since I don't want the extra burden of research when buying, I now just take my muffin to work wrapped in cloth.

What about bulk items? When I buy from the bulk bins (nuts, cereal, dried fruit, flour, etc) there are plastic bags to contain the product. Where there bulk bins before the advent of plastic?

Chuck said...

In my earlier years, I don't remember any bulk bins. You just bought the amount of what you needed in the linen, paper, or whatever, as they came.