Have you ever wondered what people did before plastic rubbish bags?
I’ll let you in on a dirty secret of mine – I’m awful when it comes to remembering re-usable bags at the supermarket. So are most Kiwis. We re-use the bags for our rubbish, and figure that gives us a free pass to not bring re-usables to the supermarket.
But plastic bags are a problem. And I wondered what people did before they arrived on the scene. So I did the logical thing. I asked my Mum 🙂
The world before Da Bag
Here are Mum’s answers. Although we can’t burn rubbish any more, some of her tips are great ones, and ideal for getting our rubbish down, even in this day and age when some of the food tastes like plastic!
- The inside bin (kitchen bin) was lined in newspaper. When full, its contents were thrown into the metal rubbish bin. If she was short on newspaper, she bypassed this step completely, but it meant the bin needed washing more regularly.
- Peelings and food scraps were put on the compost pile, or given to the chickens. Did you know that if you can’t keep chickens in your suburb or city, keeping quails might be an option? You can even keep them in a small cage on an apartment balcony!
- Dust and cobwebs etc. from cleaning was wrapped in newspaper (again) and put in the metal rubbish bin. Did you know that dust can be composted or just buried in the garden?
- Soft drink and milk came in glass bottles (not that Mum ever bought soft drink as it was too expensive!) and were collected at the doorstep and re-used. Most milk cartons and bottles can be recycled. Just rinse them out first!
- As much as possible was put in the incinerator in the back yard. This included plastic wrappings (which she remembers starting to come in) and cardboard too big to go in the rubbish bin outside. These days, we know better – cardboard and junk mail can give off very toxic chemicals when burned, and the particulates will fall very close to your own chimney i.e. around your house. So unless you’re into poisoning yourself and your family, this is NOT a good idea.
These days, most municipalities have great recycling programmes. While they’re only a small part of the solution, they are a part.
So – ready to quit single use bags?
I’ve been reading up on this issue, and I’m ready to turn over a new leaf and quit my plastic bags for good. I’m going to try my mother’s old technique of just putting rubbish straight in the bin, no bag required. I’ll let you know how it goes.
You might not be as awful as I am when it comes to plastic bags. But if you are, maybe you’d like to think about having a plastic bag free rubbish bin too?
Whatever you decide, wish me luck! 🙂