Currently you would think that it is impossible to live without single-use plastic. The reality is that in the middle of the 20th century, plastic barely existed and our parents and grandparents lived without it, without any problems.
The vast majority of waste generated by single-use plastic ends up in the sea, damaging marine ecosystems. Believe it or not, it is possible to live without plastic, our grandparents did.
How to replace plastic.
When we have a problem, we usually look for solutions in the future. Solutions to the plastic problem are currently being sought by creating substitutes, using technology and creativity..
What if we looked for the solution in the past?
Our parents and grandparents lived without plastic, they did not need technology or inventions like disposable plastic. Like many people today, they have directed their lives to live plastic-free. In our current society, it is difficult but it is possible.
Mark Blackburn from the blog A brown planet, asked her mother about her plastic-free life and she told him about her habits in 1950. Popular wisdom that must not be lost.
How was the food packaged?
Fresh vegetables and food were locally grown and they were available seasonally. Imported fruits and vegetables were also found for most of the year, but to a lesser extent than today.
Vegetables that were not in season were bought in boxes and there was a variety of dry foods. These foods were sold in large containers or in paper bags.
Milk was sold in glass jars that the slag recovered the next day and reused. Likewise for beer and soft drink bottles, if you brought them back to the store they would give you money for them.
The butcher sold the meat wrapped in paper. There was less variety of sandwiches, sweets and desserts, which were sold in large containers or paper bags. Jams and preserves were bought in glass jars or made at home.
Where Blackburn’s mother lived, there was only the pub and the Fish & Chips shop. Anything sold locally was wrapped in parchment paper with newspaper on the outside.
If you bring the newspaper to the store at the end of each week, you receive a free bag of potatoes.
Was the food prepared at home?
Clothing and food were mostly made at home. Very little new clothes were bought and only the shoes needed once a year and if they broke they were fixed.
The jams and preserves were made with seasonal fruits and were stored in recycled glass jars.
Cleaning and products for personal use.
The products came in glass bottles or cardboard boxes. The lacquer was sold in a refillable bottle.
What was done with the garbage?
The paper was burning in the fireplace during the winter and to heat the water heater for the bath. The glass bottles were returned in exchange for money.
Bags were reused for weekly shopping. Leftover food was used to make broths and the bones were given to the dogs.
Cans were crushed and transported in the container as they could not be recycled and the paper was used to wrap the sandwiches and then burnt.
Ask your parents and grandparents and tell us in the comments about other alternatives.