The Plaint of a Venerable Recycler

photo of the work of a venerable recycler: old red boots and pail repurposed as planters

By Gladys Considine

I learned to be a recycler, saving at my mother’s knee:

  • String from the grocery box became crochet thread.
  • Flour and sugar sacks with tiny flowers were blouses.
  • Lard buckets were water pails for the chickens, and lunch boxes.
  • Tuna cans and walnut shells became Christmas decorations.
  • “I think I’ll just pick this up—I might need it sometime.”

I learned to be a recycler, saving as a Home Economist:

  • Saran, foil, plastic bags, cottage cheese containers; all washed and reused.
  • Saving for a really good appliance might pay off in the long run.
  • Just follow directions to replace a toilet or repair a washing machine.
  • A good cut of beef can be a dinner roast, sandwiches, Stroganoff and soup.
  • Items that have only one use are of questionable value.

I learned to be a recycler, saving in my first house:

  • Sledge hammered walls opened tiny rooms to useable spaces.
  • Curtains and a basinet cover were once a crinoline-supported skirt.
  • Careful color selection of Ace Hardware gallons covered many walls.
  • Goodwill furniture became chic with a little time, thread and remnant fabric.
  • Juice cans in a garage shelf transformed into an ever-expanding wine closet.

Now, I am a venerable recycler in my old age:

  • A plain vanilla Grandparent car holds us all, with multiple lists to save trips.
  • Paper, aluminum, plastic are recycled with an old paid-for, gas-guzzling pickup just to make sure it still runs.
  • Compostable coffee grounds and kitchen peels cause the garage to reek and drip.
  • F-150 4-wheel drive, fifth-wheel camping trailer-pulling kin think I am an eco-fanatic.
  • My friends, on their year-round bicycles, think I am ruining the planet. MSN