I get a kick out of my new-to-recycling friends, and the grins as they discover uses for stuff they’d otherwise toss in the landfill. I like it especially when kids make the discovery – little Columbus clones finding new functionality for old stuff.
Last century, during the Great Depression and World War II, the message was frugal make-do – material shortages bred creativeness and savvy homemakers who moved from clothesline to assembly line and back because that’s what it took to get on with life.
Toward the end of the 20th Century, with the instant availability of knowledge and news to anyone in any corner of the globe, we have eagle eyes on post-consumer waste percentages, BPA-free, constantly improving recycling processes, conservation issues.
In between was a time of plenty – more than plenty; it was a time of acquisitiveness and lots of stuff. If you kept stuff and found purpose for it, you were “savvy.” If you kept stuff with the intention of finding a purpose for it, you were a “packrat.” I was a savvy packrat.
I am planting seeds and seedlings in “found” containers, reusing plastic butter dishes (use two – poke holes in the bottom of one; fill with soil, add seed, water in), saving aside plastic juice bottles (cut off bottoms and set aside for water basins; use tops to cover outdoor seedlings), rescuing plastic bags from rice cakes (cut in half – use lower half to grab compostables, use upper half to tie errant vines). Twist-ties are golden, as are lengths of yarn too short to crochet or too ugly to put in a hat.
The plants don’t seem to care what they get planted in, so long as it’s cleaned first and has the nutrient-rich potting soil they crave. Sure makes more sense to me to use what’s at hand rather than running to the store for peat pots every time I get the urge to put some seed into some soil.