Where we Greener 50 Years Ago?

Got an email this week that gave me cause to pause. Here are a few of the thoughts about how we lived 50 years ago that were included in the viral note titled "The Green Thing":
  • 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 recycled.
  • 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 school books.
  • We washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away 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.
  • 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 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 replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
  • 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
I am not really advocating a return to the 50s but it does make me wonder if we are not really our worst green enemy. Of course, as the email says, "we didn't have the green thing back then". But we did seem a bit greener.


  1. First of all I adore the watercolor, and want to borrow it for an article I must write about my mother's clothes line.

    I'm glad I am a 50's gal, and could relate to each of those items. However I did have disposal diapers with or last child, but that was the end of 1970.

    1. I had a clothesline until 1975 when we moved to Houston Wanda. Never had cloth diapers though. :)

  2. I remember taking soda bottles back to the store when I was a kid. I'm almost 40, I wonder when that stopped?

    1. I remember scrounging around for pop bottles in the late 50s Ma. I think I got 2 cents for each when I brought them to the corner store.

  3. I knew you were offline for lent and sure missed you. Glad you are back. Blog looks great! Good to see you.

    1. Enjoying reading blogs like yours Gregg. Thanks for the blog feedback!

  4. I remember some of those things. I remember the milkman leaving milk and the bread man coming down the street in truck with fresh baked bread to buy. We NEVER watched TV during the day (not even if we were home sick) and we played outside 75% of the time. I also remember full service gas stations where not only did they pump the gas for you but washed the windows and checked the air in the tires and the oil! As teen girls we'd frequent the gas station where the cute guys worked, get a dollar or two at a time so we could go often :)

  5. Full service gas stations Barbara? I think I remember them. :)

    Self service gas stations are unlawful in NJ but the professional gas pumpers are not interested in checking tires or cleaning windshields. :(

  6. Ah yes, full service gas stations. That was the best.
    The bread truck, the milk truck and a local produce truck all came by our house when I was young.
    Drying clothes on the line and having one phone in the house that had a short cord. No wandering around while talking.
    Never had much soda growing up so I really don't remember recycling the bottles.
    I remember nickle comic books and after saving my money finally springing for an expensive 25 cent Classic Comic Book.
    Wow, what a walk down memory lane.
    I think we definitely were "greener" in the 50"s, not by choice but that was the way life was lived.


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