Our Throwaway Society

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It always amazes me how much other people throw away. I did not grow up with much, and I always took very good care of whatever I had, as I knew my parents worked very hard for it. I thought I set an excellent example for my children, until the other day.

I babysat my granddaughter, and saw one of her cardboard peekaboo books in the trash can because some of the pages were ripped. I knew it was one of her favorite books, and I offered to fix it with clear strapping tape. Her parents told me not to bother, and they would buy another one. However, being the frugal person I am, I did fix the book, and my granddaughter is getting just as much pleasure out of it as she did before it got ripped.

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It got me thinking how people think it is easier to just get rid of something than to try and fix it. However, making something last longer is not just about saving money. It's about using less of our natural resources, having less garbage to add to our landfills, blessing others who may be able to use that item, and, most importantly, giving our children a feeling of pride in acquiring the skills to maintain items.

Most people would agree with me that it is preferable to compost vegetable scraps or make stock with them than throw them away, but many of us say we don't have time to do that. In my opinion, it takes more time to get in your car or walk to the store, get the item, stand in line to pay, and go home. People who have a mindset to save what is salvageable realize that it often takes less time!

I have learned a lot from the posts on this website. I want to leave this earth in better shape than I found it. So, if you see someone taking a broken item off the curb, it's probably me!

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January 12, 20181 found this helpful

One of your very best!

Thanks, Judy

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January 12, 20182 found this helpful

Great post. I agree. It's too much of a throw away society.

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I'd like to add, too many people spend money on items they could borrow from the library.

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January 12, 20182 found this helpful

Well said, Judy! One of the things I wish we'd learn from Germany is that each household has a certain weight allotment for trash. Anything over that is taxed fairly heavily. We also seem to have forgotten how many hours go into earning the money we bring home. That calculations applied to - as you say - making vs. buying basic stock might help those of us who claim to be too busy to re-evaluate?

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January 12, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks for the kind words. I know someone who lived in Germany and he said how tiny their garbage cans were. The garbage was collected every two weeks and the cans werent even full!

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January 12, 20183 found this helpful

My mom was from the Ozark's and they were very poor. My mom used to say "Use it up and wear it out".

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Being a rabid recycler, I always think "what could I make out of that". So yes Judy, your words ring true.

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Anonymous
January 12, 20184 found this helpful

I was raised by poor grandparents, but I didn't know we were poor until I was in my early teens. I didn't have a 'store bought" dress until I was, probably, 14 years old. Most of my clothing, I believe, was made from other dresses that my great aunt brought to us from southern California. Who knows where she got them. But grandma didn't care where they came from. She could find a use for them. She wasn't wasteful, and she taught me to be frugal. To this day, I cannot stand to see someone fill their plate to the brim, eat a bit of it, and throw the remainder in the garbage. My family goes to a buffet once-in-awhile, and I would like to stop going with them. Most of them, from my granddaughter (adult) on down through the teenagers waste more food than they eat. It embarrasses me, and I am the "bad person" if I say anything about it. Wake up people. It may not be there forever.

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January 21, 20181 found this helpful

I went to an all you could eat buffet once. There were signs saying, "Take all you want but, eat all you take.

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This keeps our costs down so we are able to offer you quality food at a lower price"

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March 11, 20180 found this helpful

But let's please not resurrect the "clean plate club." I believe that is one of the root causes of the obesity epidemic in this country.

It's hard for me, but I'm trying to always leave a bit of food on my plate, rather than thinking I have to eat it all. Better it go to waste than to my waist.

I seldom eat at all-you-can eat buffets for that very reason.

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Anonymous
January 14, 20182 found this helpful

thank you. I feel the same way . I had very little when growing up and many unpleasant events in my life. I didn't have family to show the way so I decided that I would teach my self. It was trail and errors but I kept trying. I had so much fun with my "failures" that my children gained from them. This year I will be a tree hugger as my 200 yr. old tree made it. I saved it and very proud.

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Anonymous
January 20, 20180 found this helpful

In my book, toss is a four-letter-word.

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Anonymous
January 21, 20181 found this helpful

Judy, your setting a great example for grand daughter now. Keep doing it ! I fold and save the tissue paper after unwrapping Christmas gifts.

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My daughters come over often to get tissue for their gift bags. Try saving a couple of paper towels holders for toddlers, they can use them like drum sticks, a horn or look through them.

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March 11, 20180 found this helpful

It's true we had family to learn from many living near by. I was from a poor family and didn't know I was poor till I was told at 74 years old. I laughed and thought here was a person who's family she rarely see and only gives NEW presents at holidays. My tribe shares tools, cars, food and everything else with family and friends. Why buy ask first who has one they no longer need. I'm using a son's old computer to make these remakes.

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March 13, 20181 found this helpful

No longer have little ones around but I still save the
best cardboard holders (wax paper) out of habit and

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have occasionally used them.

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Anonymous
March 11, 20181 found this helpful

My younger years were not restrained but we did not waste things. Then in the late 50's my father a bricklayer hurt his back the last time and he had to leave bricklaying to work for the local school system. They say teachers don't make much money but the people who do the cleaning at the schools make even less. My mother would make big batches of chicken noodle soup from the Sunday Chicken carcass and put it in the freezer. We would eat that all winter. My husbands family made vegetable soup and his mom would can it. If she did not have enough they ate it till it was gone. But even the scraps did not go to waste in my husbands family. They lived in the country and they gave what they could to the chickens and the rest went to the pigs. The chickens gave eggs and wonderful chicken broth at the end of their laying years and the pigs were butchered and smoked each fall.
I make a chicken each Sunday and use the chicken for several meals during the week and my husband takes the bones after I boil them for broth (although nothing compares to the broth made from those old laying hens) and scrapes off everything that the dogs can eat off the bones and gives the rest to the dogs. If something rips and can't be fixed they are use for rags.
I was taught by my maternal grandparents and my mother to some extent "Waste not Want not" and as one person said "use it up, made do or do without". I remember when my grandparents died they found a closet filled with newspaper. They wet them down and rolled them up and used them in the fireplace and heat stove (which in winter was used to cook on).

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March 11, 20180 found this helpful

My younger years were not restrained but we did not waste things. Then in the late 50's my father a bricklayer hurt his back the last time and he had to leave bricklaying to work for the local school system. They say teachers don't make much money but the people who do the cleaning at the schools make even less. My mother would make big batches of chicken noodle soup from the Sunday Chicken carcass and put it in the freezer. We would eat that all winter. My husbands family made vegetable soup and his mom would can it. If she did not have enough they ate it till it was gone. But even the scraps did not go to waste in my husbands family. They lived in the country and they gave what they could to the chickens and the rest went to the pigs. The chickens gave eggs and wonderful chicken broth at the end of their laying years and the pigs were butchered and smoked each fall.
I make a chicken each Sunday and use the chicken for several meals during the week and my husband takes the bones after I boil them for broth (although nothing compares to the broth made from those old laying hens) and scrapes off everything that the dogs can eat off the bones and gives the rest to the dogs. If something rips and can't be fixed they are use for rags.
I was taught by my maternal grandparents and my mother to some extent "Waste not Want not" and as one person said "use it up, made do or do without". I remember when my grandparents died they found a closet filled with newspaper. They wet them down and rolled them up and used them in the fireplace and heat stove (which in winter was used to cook on).

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March 12, 20181 found this helpful

I believe that one reason we are such a throwaway society is because things are now made with such poor quality. My parents had the same furniture, made out of maple, the entire time they were married (1951) and I now use the same furniture in my living and dining room. It has, of course, been recovered more than once, but it is such good quality that it has lasted all these years. The furniture today is made from particle board and doesn't last even 5 years. No wonder people replace rather than repair!

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March 13, 20180 found this helpful

Yes, planned obsolescence! And, we should refuse to buy that stuff. Just as we should give up all you can eat buffets, which are just a way to sell us low quality food wrapped in the pretense of abundance. We (all) can, and should, only eat so much anyway. better to order a good quality dish, and bring the leftovers home for a second meal to eat while we are reinforcing the bindings of our Great Classics library or repairing the pages of Goodnight Moon"....

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March 13, 20181 found this helpful

I agree with you. I had a large dresser from my in-laws for the first 15 years of marriage. It was a bit dated looking but it was very sturdy and the drawers were made of solid wood. We replaced it a few years ago with a more modern looking set from Ikea. Now, all the drawers are warped and the bottoms get pushed out if I overfill them. I've had to tighten the bolts that hold everything together regularly. I'm putting up with it until I can find a more stable replacement, maybe at a thrift store or garage sale.

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April 8, 20180 found this helpful

I am super frugal now and I have learned to waste very little even if it means freezing longer. But I am not able to save everything. I do share as much as I can. But I am not able to store stuff it reminds me of hoarding which would just about kill me.

So I actually don't buy much that I would need to toss out.

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April 8, 20180 found this helpful

I agree I often give my coffee or tea grounds to family members for their bushes or flower beds. I often take the cedar shavings from pet beds and put around my own flowers. I often take unused paper pencils pens anything I think kids will use and give to my neighborhood children in need. I often recycle clothing or furniture by donating to my neighborhood then goodwill or salvation army. It is amazing of all the things you can do with products we use every day if you put your mind to it. I also feed my flower beds and trees soil vegetable felt overs. Sometimes they get it sometimes the birds or rabbits get it. I'm just happy I find a use for so many things I use to not mind throwing in the trash and just hope it leaves our world a little better off

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April 8, 20180 found this helpful

Ditto.

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April 9, 20180 found this helpful

Our Throwaway Society was one of the best pieces Ive read here.

I, too, grew up without much, and as a single mother much of my adult life, that didnt change.

One of my habits that people laugh at is to save the containers in which many products are packed. I reason that a portion of what I pay for many products is for the container. Why throw away a plastic margarine container, then buy a similar container in which to store a food item?

So, let them laugh. I believe I am saving money and protecting our environment all at one time.

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April 10, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you for your kind words. I also reuse plastic containers.

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April 11, 20180 found this helpful

I am the same way BUT my husband is totally opposite. He even resents my recycling efforts. I try to be neat & take things immediately to my car trunk to hide/transport. Im constantly digging things out of the trash obviously without his knowing. Any ideas how I can change his attitude & get him onboard? Revenge ideas welcome too(hes stubborn)!

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Anonymous
April 12, 20180 found this helpful

Good one! Thanks! I am a big recycler and I repurpose things in ways that some may not think of! Also, I cannot stand the way the US has gone to using plastic way more than glass!!Ick!

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May 18, 20180 found this helpful

Bravo!!!! I like what you say about our natural resources. We must think about the cost to the planet. We, older people, must think about how the newer generations will live. How we are affecting their chances for survival. Please, think!

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