My husband’s hometown (in the Salerno province) is a village where thrift reigns. The people there have long been used to making do. The trend toward simplicity and frugality is so normal for them, that they would ask “Is there any other way?”
I’m often amazed at their makeshift contrivances. And their unusual, often ingenious, ways of reusing and up-cycling. Some of the oddest containers employed as plant pots. The strangest objects linked together to form fences. Nothing, it seems, goes to waste, but gets reused for something.
None the less, the packaging of a departing gift from an elderly still paesana surprised me.
An old juice bottle filled with wonderful extra, extra virgin olive oil straight from her trees. And home-cured olives ready to eat!
And who else but these delightful, thrifty people would present them in a used cookie bag, tied with a strip cut from durable plastic? Not me! I’ve always just considered such things trash, not reusable items!
It would undoubtedly mystify her to learn she was green. She probably didn’t even think of trash problems, or the environment. She just saw something that she could eventually find another use for, and thereby save herself a few pennies.
We modern folk often overlook making use of the things we already hold in our hands.
We follow fads and trends, often spending unnecessarily to do so. While trying to be green we buy ready-made items, forgetting that manufacturing processes also add to ecological problems.
All the while overlooking what we already have at our disposal. I’m grateful for the lesson learned from that Green Granny, to put to use that which we already have!
I now view my trash differently.
Before tossing something I ask, “Is it really trash, or could it be used at least once more?” That empty bread bag? Whether paper or plastic, I stick it to the side. Then pack my husband’s sandwich in it. If coworkers give him funny looks, I say, “Tell them you’re saving the planet!”
Actually, we try to buy our food with as little packaging as possible. I have my own nifty, homemade sandwich bags to use over and over. But thanks to Thrifty Granny, I now try to reuse my trash as often as possible.
If you liked the Green Granny’s lesson, please tell us in what ways you reuse trash or plan to reuse it!