Saturday, December 10, 2005

Thinking Like a Pioneer

I admit it, I'm a tree hugger, or at least a hugger to the extent that I think it's stupid and irresponsible for people to chop down the forests that supply the oxygen that you breath, those very forests that probably have a huge impact on these strange and violent weather patterns that folks are suddenly so worried about. But I'm a tree hugger without much opportunity to practice doing my share of recycling since there is nowhere close enough to accept the fruits of my labor other than a scrap yard that'll take aluminum cans. I think there are places in NW Arkansas but I'd be wasting about a barrel or 2 or oil on that round trip drive and that kinda makes you feel like you're defeating the purpose,,ya know?

So what I do is save boxes, bubble wrap, plastic shopping bags, gift boxes, bows and ribbon, etc,,, reuse what I can, and eventually, after I can't see the forest for the stacks and hills of boxes and stuff, toss or burn it (hanging head in defeated shame). This a very difficult thing for me to do because I come from a combination of old European and Native American stock, and not of the aristocratic kind, so being wasteful, if there is even the remotest possibility that something can be useful to someone else,. is sort of like committing an unforgivable sin. My Grandmother is probably shaking her head over me in Heaven right now,,,for sure.

My Grandmother had a back room (that's what she called it, "the back room") that served as a storage area for anything remotely recycleable. She saved all the scraps of cotton fabric from our clothes, every button, and scrap of ribbon, piece of lace, and if and when time allowed, she'd make quilts or blankets from the scraps. My sisters and I even wore dresses she'd decorated with a few of these leftovers and felt as fasionably attired as anyone wearing those store bought duds. My kids had the best time sorting and playing with her collection of saved buttons during many a visit. Paper grocery bags (I'm old remember) were used for wrapping packages, covering school books, drawing surfaces, and even for making out the shopping list before going to town.

A pencil was never thrown away as long as there was enough left of it to hold on to, Grandpa would whittle that lead point as good as any manual pencil sharpener could. I remember how he used to tuck those little pencil stubs behind his ear when he was out in the barn designing something from left over scrap metal or wood.

We live in a land of plenty and there is plenty of overflow so I don't understand why it's so difficult for us to make good use of the leftovers. Is there anyone out there who wouldn't sort and recycle if there were places that wouldn't take 2 days and 3 tanks of gas to take it to?

Raise your hands.

And remember, a 3ft. high stack of newspapers = 1 whole tree.


mark said...

I agree about such waste, especially trees, although the whole global warming bit is a complete political lie.

The earth, after all, is 4.5 thousand million years old. That's one year of recorded human history for every one thousand, thousand years of the planet's existence.

I don't think we're going to matter very much.

John Strain said...

I quit hugging trees because the pines got so much sap on my chest hairs.

Leslie said...

I'm a keeper of bits 'n' pieces, too, and recycle all our paper, cardboard, glass, and tin. The only thing we don't have is a compost bin though there are certainly tons of them around in people's back yards.

I have this thing about me that I absolutely cannot open a new whatever until the very last dregs of the old one are used up.

There's a running joke around here that every leftover container can be used for nuts, bolts and screws. After 21 years, Carl is wondering just how the hell many nuts, bolts, and screws I think he has.

Well, apparently only one nut 'cause I've mortgaged the other one a hundred times. ; )

Holly said...

we actually have recycling pickup now. i've even got a lovely little blue box to put it in. i'm going to assign one of the kids to be in charge of recycling.

i cringe whenever i drive past those clearcut woods that are all too popular here in alabama. if you own land it's very in vogue to chop every stick of wood down to sell to make paper towels and plates.

but, i buy paper towels and plates. i'm such a hypocrite.

Piggy and Tazzy said...

We recycle almost everything we use (see, told you we were good boys!).

Thankfully, our local authority provide recycling places all over the place, so bottles, cans, newspapers and magazines (none of which are pervy, thank you) and all sorts of other stuff finds its way weekly to the appropriate place.

America really puzzles me though - as one of the biggest consumers of stuff on the planet, the waste is astonishing.

No wonder we're in the mess we're in.

We think you're fab (as you know) for even attempting do do something. If only everyone else thought the same way.

At this time of the year, I blame that bloody Santa guy.

Mary Lou said...

I widh our county had recycle bins right at the driveway. I would do it then, actually the recycle center is right over there<<<<< but they are soooo picky. newspapers have to tied with string, no glossy pages, etc,. SO I burn them.

Sally said...

I used to be so good about recycling; thanks for the reminder Ms. Brenda. I'll try to do better, honest!

I have about 150 boxes in my garage right now, (head hung in shame)but W/D was going to throw them out anyway and I had to pack. What's a girl to do? Wish I could turn them back into trees like the ones they cut down to build this house, darned shame, that's what it is!

wanda said...

Oh girlfriend you know I recycle! Especially leftovers. Just ask my family.
Fortunately even though Podunt is a small town we have several locations where we can drop off our old newspapers (including the newspaper office itself), and several of our grocers offer recyle bins for cans and jars. I suspect they have found a way to make money off the many 'donations' they receive, but what the heck, it's for a good cause.

Phyllis said...

Well I don't get newspapers, so I am doing my part on that, and I don't drink pop, so that is good, and I wash out the jars to use for salad dressings I make. I was going to invest in three recycle bins for the disposal company but I would get charged for three cans, so I just throw things away in one can and let the sorters keep their jobs.

Cal said...

We recycle what we can. The local council provides bins and collects them once a fortnight and it really annoys me how few people use them.

David said...

I do my part all the time. My wife does more and my garage shows it. So many empty boxes to store....

You have to love those old grandmothers and their old fashioned ideas and ways.

Brent said...

We recycle like mad at hour house, I'm glad to say. And we've reused all sorts of stuff until it's just too broken down to be of any use. I think, Brenda, that our generation is the last that doesn't consider everything to be throw-away.