Thanks for all the responses about recycling in the old days! They were fun to peruse and here are some samples:
1. “Newspapers, especially comics, were reused for gift wrapping.”
2. “Crayon shavings were melted and poured into small glass containers with a wick and became candles.”
3. “Catalogue pictures of furniture were cut out to provide the furnishings for my dollhouse.”
4. “Old tires became flower planters.”
5. “Long sleeved shirts with worn-out elbows became short sleeved shirts.”
6. “When the soles of my knee-high socks wore out, they were cut off and transformed into ankle high crew socks. When the soles of those wore out, they were often changed into booties.”
7. “When one leg of pantyhose had a run, the damaged leg was cut off and paired with another pair that was missing a leg, so two were worn at once but with two good legs.”
8. “Charcoal starters were made from used paper egg cartons and wax or bacon grease.”
9. “There was no need to buy note pads when you could use junk mail envelopes!”
10. “Rain barrels and composting were common. This is old technology.”
You certainly get the picture that recycling was a way of life. How can you judge your recycling today? The best indicator is to watch the garbage that you take to the curb.
Remember Larman’s manufacturing team? (reference blogs http://frontlinefocus.us/?p=1298 and http://frontlinefocus.us/?p=1060). They are a great benchmark, where over 200 people generate less than 50 gallons of waste per week going to the landfill, without burning! This includes manufacturing waste, paper towels from the rest rooms, potato chip bags, bottles, paper, cardboard, yarn …everything is Reduced, Reused, or Recycled, except for 50 gallons. The team worked for months analyzing the pile of waste, driving the root causes to zero. They segregated everything and worked with suppliers to find alternatives. Tina and her Waste Stream Team dug until they found the right channels for the recyclables. Larman explained to the teams that Styrofoam containers were not friendly to the environment or the business, so “just don’t bring them into the plant, even if it means buying your favorite drink at another establishment.”
America’s national recycling rate is 34 percent and growing! Zero Waste is not rocket science, and in reality, is only common sense and common science. It takes Belief in Zero, Leadership, and Teamwork.
As a leader, you can influence an entire team and their families on America Recycles Day, November 15, to increase this rate. This is a leader’s opportunity, and responsibility.
…Only then, can we Pass It On!
Quote of the week from Mother Teresa: “I only feel angry when I see waste, when I see people throwing away things we could use.”
For more about “America Recycles Day,” click here: http://americarecyclesday.org
5. Beverage Cans
6. Food Cans
7. Glass Bottles
10. Plastic Bottles & Caps
“Put More Into the World than You Take Out” is a message that can stick with your children and grandchildren on America Recycles Day, this November 15. Over the years, my wife, Nancy, and I repeated this message through words and actions to our children that dovetails nicely into the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” theme.
Reflecting further back, my parents were raised in the Great Depression. My mother’s family lost their farm and possessions during the dust bowl. My father’s parents lived day-to-day feeding eleven children in a humble farm setting. They lived the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” lifestyle out of necessity, and hence, it was a way of life as well as an expectation that was firmly communicated.
Then, as the economic growth engines in America kicked in, my family benefited from the technologies and economics that improved the quality of life. And yet, the tradeoffs took more out of the world than was realized. Now society is arguably playing catch-up to find better practices and find new technologies to deal with the “Third Wave”. So, here we are, knowing all is not hopeless, but knowing our critical situation is one where we all must collaborate and cooperate to have a sustainable society and planet.
To have a little fun this past week, I asked my siblings and children to recall some of the recycling practices we learned from earlier days on the farm, some examples listed here:
• Sleeping pillows were made from cloth flour bags and chicken or duck feathers.
• Cloth diapers, rather than disposable, were used for infants.
• With almost 50 cousins, we always recycled and patched clothes as the kids grew up.
• Worn clothes and rags were transformed into rag rugs.
• Washable handkerchiefs were used instead of tissues! (my sister’s favorite “yuk” item now)
• Rainwater was collected in barrels and recycled.
• Everything possible was composted, from apple cores to egg shells.
To include you in the fun, please email me some of the more memorable recycling practices from your upbringing at firstname.lastname@example.org, which I will summarize here next week. …and thanks for your input!
One individual or company cannot save the world, but as we proliferate the message and actions to “Put More Into the World than You Take Out,” the environmental sustainability of our planet improves.
“America Recycles Day” is November 15, so you have time to tune recycling practices to make a difference. …Only then, can we Pass It On!
Quote from Ecologist and Scientist Adolph Murie: “Let us be guardians rather than gardeners.”
To learn more about “America Recycles Day,” click here: http://americarecyclesday.org
…and I encourage you to then pledge to recycle more by clicking the link on the left side.