Do you remember how exciting it was to find a tin of Danish butter cookies at grandma’s house? Our little fingers would struggle to pry open the shiny blue Royal Dansk container, but once we finally managed to get the lid off – our hopes and dreams of stuffing our faces with crispy cookies were shattered by the presence of a sewing kit.
That’s probably where our trust issues stemmed from (along with the other unpleasant surprises we’d find in different food containers), but it was also, most likely, our first introduction to sustainability.
According to the United Nations Brundtland Commission (1987), sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. So when grandma needed a place to store her raw seasoned chicken – reusing a Neapolitan ice cream tub was her way of reducing waste and protecting the environment.
We might have laughed and even rolled our eyes as they hoarded plastic items, but now their methods of reusing and recycling are considered admirable and are highly encouraged. This makes them the true pioneers of the low waste movement. Here are a few familiar throwbacks to their sustainable living:
- Must. Reuse. Every. Container.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter might be the name of a margarine brand, but it’s exactly how we felt every time we opened a tub of butter to find last night’s leftovers instead of a spread for our toast. We did not enjoy that guessing game!
- Triangular Plastic Bags
These were more enjoyable to do – we’d help fold plastic bags into triangles after grocery shopping and then store them in another plastic bag for future use. Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable, so this helped prevent them from ending up in landfills, waterways or the ocean.
- The Plastic Drawer
There was always that one drawer filled with, what seemed to be, the most random things from McDonald’s sauces and Domino’s chili flakes to plastic cutlery, straws and bread ties that were ready to be reused. Maybe hoarding had some points.
It has become our responsibility to protect the planet from further harm. Take a page from grandma’s book and reduce your waste by reusing single-use items (if you can). Through waste prevention and simple waste management, you’ll be able to reduce your negative environmental impact and help conserve the earth’s resources!