Monthly Archives: June 2013

We Didn’t Have the Green Thing Back Then

I pissed off a lot of people with the “Please Leave My Plastic Bags Alone” post.  I was even asked not to write anything more about the subject (democracy, free speech anyone??), so, at least for now, technically I won’t.

This has been making the rounds on the internet for months and months and months (the source unfortunately is unknown – wish I knew!!), so if you haven’t seen it…

We Didn’t Have the Green Thing Back Then

“Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Milk Bottles, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Milk Bottles, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?”

Please Leave My Plastic Bags Alone

There is stuff afoot that would have our Newburyport City Government pass legislation banning plastic bags.  I’m not for this.

Yesterday I emailed the Mayor and the Newburyport City Councilors.  The email was pretty simple:

“Dear Mayor Holaday and Newburyport City Councilors,

Please leave my plastic bags alone.  I recycle and reuse faithfully. (And I fully understand the arguments for this anti-platic bag piece of potential legislation.)  (I also don’t like being lectured to, in places like the supermarket, by folks who feel differently than I do.)”

I also sent in the questionnaire, basically about how I would like legislation passed banning plastic bags, that came with the recent recycling information.  Since there was nothing about recycling and reusing plastic bags, I crossed the entire questionnaire out with a big  X and wrote, “Please leave my plastic bags alone.”  I think I also wrote something about being displeased about being lectured to at the supermarket.

So far I’ve been polite when being lectured to at the supermarket, because I think, “Is it worth alienating this acquaintance who I like very much?”  But since they are alienating moi, next time, I may very well lose it.

And I thought I was alone in my dislike of this potential piece of legislation, but apparently not so.  I’ve been surprised how many folks feel the same way I do. So if you are one of those folks, and are feeling energetic, you can find the information on the City of Newburyport’s website on how to contact the Mayor and the Newburyport City Council.

The City’s website is here.

Email information for the City Councilors is here:

The information on how to contact the Mayor is here:

Recycling plastic bags

Recycling plastic bags

Now that I’ve written this, I may now get lectured to on the street.  I hope not.  And for those who may feel tempted, education, yes, lecture – no, and even require information on the plastic bags themselves about not letting them float away into the environment, but recycle and reuse.

The container to recycle plastic bags can be found at your grocery store.