Monday, April 18, 2011

Old School... New again?

(You know, OMG might be appropriate, I nearly forgot to put this up!)

Ok, I will be the first to admit, I am not cutting edge.  I don't have a smart phone, (mine is a phone that WAS cutting edge... 5 or 6 years ago).  My MP3 player is old enough that the gal says they may not have a new battery if it dies.  I like to do things like garden, spin yarn, I even dust with a feather duster, not a dust catching super cloth.  (I do spray the duster with Pledge, if that counts...)

So it stuck me as funny when I was working at the schools, and one of the classes were talking about recycling.  I was an assistant.  The kid looked up at me with one of those expressions that said I was about as wanted as a singer with laryngitis.  So, I asked what the problem was.  He looked at me, and replied, well, you are OLD, and you probably don't even know what recycling is, you guys STARTED the problem. 


The old part was "old hat", with that particular age group any thing over uh, about 22 was dinosaur fodder, so I decided to work on the next part. 

So, I started the problem, and I need to solve it, huh?  No, he said, we KIDS are going to solve it.


So, what are you going to do? 

He thought a minute, and started talking about making things smaller, so we didn't have so much "junk".  I said that was pretty good.  Less junk makes less trash, but there's still trash, what do we do with that? 

We recycle it, duh.

(I really wanted to recycle HIM, but I forged ahead.)

So, we recycle it how?  Some of the things aren't able to be recycled.  You can't always recycle some plastics, or (at the time, in our area) batteries, and let's face it, kid, some things just wear out.  What then? 

(I noticed the teacher hadn't interrupted us during this discussion, just had a Mona Lisa smile, I didn't ask, but I suspected this wasn't the first kid vs. adult argument with this particular carpet rodentia.)

He sort of grumbled, and the answer didn't jump back at me quite as quickly.  Well, he said finally, maybe we can do something with it.  I replied, yeah, I think that would be reusing.  He looked shocked that I would know the term.  I probably looked shocked that he didn't comment. 

So, reuse, we can make something do duty as other things, maybe?  He said yes, and gave me an example that he used oatmeal cans for his Legos. 

Good job, said I, and we started writing some of the items for his assignment.  He came up with some interesting things, but still seemed to think that anyone born before him hadn't a clue. 

I thought about my Grandma that would quilt with scraps from worn out clothes, and make wool rugs with coats and such that had become hole filled.  (And sometimes not, if she could get away with it!)  Saving paper to write on the back, so we didn't have to buy notepads.  Saving drippings for cooking.  Glassware for storage. 

Mom would trade with other kids a bit bigger than my size, so we would have clothing that was new to us, but we would have been in the more common term "hand-me-downs".  Mom did the same for other families. 

Dad saves all sorts of bits and parts, he retired from the phone company, and to this day, if they have a phone part they can't find, they check with him.  Dad and Husband save metal bar stock and parts from projects so that they have a "bank" if they need something for a later breakdown or built something project. 

I save all sorts of junk, and have found that while I don't necessarily use it myself all the time, I have been able to give things to others for sewing/knitting/craft projects.  I use plastic food containers during the summer to freeze berries. I buy at thrift stores to add 'zing' to my wardrobe.  I use things until they just fall apart, or Husband manages to drag it from my clutched fingers to replace.  (I also try to learn how to fix things, if I can, so they last longer before falling apart.)

I am sure there are other things, but my 'dinosaur brain' can't think of anything more at the moment...

Nope, guess the kid is right, the former generations haven't a clue on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Guess we better go catch the next ice flow out to sea... 

Hey, ya know, if I get out the saw, we can cut that thing into chunks for coolers, next trip!  And the shavings, add a little orange flavoring and stevia...

Uh, can we catch the next one?


  1. Your reusing talents are going to come in handy in the next few years as the Fed Gov spends the country into oblivion. Frugality and reusing will be the words of the day, recycling will be scoffed at as being wasteful!

  2. My friend's 11 yr old daughter recently asked what year I was born...
    "Whoa, 1976? What was it like way back then?"
    Translation: When dinosaurs ruled the earth.

    I was flipping through a *green* book of new and exciting ideas to reduce waste. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. I guess our grandmothers and mothers were cutting edge. "Save glass jars for charming vintage-look vases!"
    See? Eye roll!

  3. Lol...that's what I like about kids. They don't sugar coat anything! I was reminded of how I didn't have a choice when it came to diapers on my first born. Cloth was all that was available.

  4. Next time, tell him if you have to take the blame for trash, you also want the credit for inventing television and wiping out smallpox. ;)

  5. Love your post and ya gotta love kids! (And hate them, the same time!!)
    My 89 yo dad saves paper. I get an occasional letter from him printed on the back of some bank letter or junk mail. My boys recently got a brief note from him... since it was so brief, why waste a whole piece of reused paper? He cut the notes - I think they were about 3" in length - but at first it was hard to tell what side was the important side. Baby son's suggested that he file some form with the IRS if he had more that a certain amount of income. Baby son looked a little puzzled when he first read that side! I laugh. I know he has at least 3 reams of new paper - but he's saving that!
    Thanks for the amusing look at life from a kid's (somewhat self-centered) brain!

  6. i rewash freezer bags and reuse them 8-12 times before they tear or lose their seal. i prop them upside-down on the stack of drying silverware. just to screw with me, one day my oldest said, "it's like you were born during the great depression".

    plus, i don't even own a cell, and wouldn't have a clue how to text. i'm just gonna wait for phone chips to be implanted in your brains. "call cat." dialing...

  7. Funny what kids classify as old kids always tell me about the old ladies at the restaurant and when I dig deeper into what age they were the answer is always ...probably yours lol...


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