We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in our earlier days 247



View Profile

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.
The woman apologised to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days”.

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations”.

The older lady said that she was right – our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

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. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then 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 back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Sydney. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, 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 exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

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 refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 4WD or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing”. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?


Share your thoughts below.


This writer has chosen to remain anonymous.

  1. We need to start returning glass and plastic bottles again. The people that invented all these things, that we supposedly need because we’re time poor should be held accountable for the amount of rubbish there is today.

    5 REPLY
    • You need to follow South Aust example we have been doing that for decades and getting 10c depsoit in return. We caneven recylce all the pop tops and small drink cartons for 10c each. We are not even offered plastic bags in stores, you have to ask for one if you want one. South Australia the progressive state

    • I’ve been returning my bottles and plastics to the recycled bin for some yrs now … If they’re not recycled where do they go

    • The only problem I have with the refund on bottles and cans is that kids might get a needle stick injury by shoving hands into bins.

    • Recycling bottles: Why it was ever taken out of the NSW system and other states is bewildering. It worked well, there were never empty bottles laying around, us kids would swoop on any we found and cash it in. A great source of pocket money. NT has introduced it and has had teething problems, not sure how it is now. Bring it back, yes a costly exercise too set up, but just maybe we would not have so much broken glass on our streets.

    • You don’t see plastic bottles, tetra packs, drink cans here in Adelaide. And what is disposed of into rubbish bins, there is an army of people who go through the bins remove them and get the 10 cents for them. What could work better…come on the rest of Australia follow our lead!

  2. How true is that. I still rinse out plastic bags to reuse in the kitchen, and use old rags for dusting, and wash them for reuse.

    2 REPLY
    • We also used to cut up old sheets for rags to blow our noses on when we had colds as they could be cut larger than the hankies!

    • old sheets cut up into strips pinned to a piece of elastic for female personals then washed in salt water and vinigar then reused next time

  3. Gee we were recycling the best way befire the word was invented so ITS TIME TO BRING RETURNABLES BACK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *