Opinion & Editorial

The good old days’ of packaging

Dear Editor,
Who’d have thought that I, at 77, would be able to look back on the good old days of glass, paper, wood and foil packaging.
My first recollection of packaging was when my parents offered me a drink of milk from a quart paper container on a late night ride home from somewhere. I had only seen glass milk bottles delivered at our doorstep or from a refrigerator case at the market. What a luxury, they didn’t have to pay a deposit at the little mom and pop grocery and gas station along the two-lane highway on the way home.
We had soda pop rarely from small glass bottles purchased at grocery stores and sent home with us in either paper sacks or shipping boxes recycled at the store. If we were moving, my parents were able to get free boxes from the grocer or use wood boxes Grandpa made from scrap wood. We used a nightstand made from an orange crate covered with white organdy fabric pleated with tacks and the top covered with an embroidered runner.
Vinegar, bleach, hair care products and liquid meds were all sold in glass bottles. Pills came in cute little boxes. My Grandpa used a glass straw to take his pills. I had the luxury of a box of paper straws once in awhile.
My mother used waxed paper to cover bowls in the refrigerator. Grandma had glass containers with glass lids to use in refrigerator. Mama only used foil sparingly in the oven, no aggravating plastic wrap or purchased food storage bags. We lined waste-paper baskets with paper bags folded at the top to make a collar to allow them to stand up. Sloppy garbage like coffee grounds and table scraps was wrapped in newspaper.
Bathroom tissue, facial tissue and feminine products came in paper. We used this kind of paper to start the fire in the wood heater.
When we purchased products we didn’t have to fight our way in through the packaging with a knife, screwdriver and scissors. When we purchased clothing at major department stores they were either put in large, thin paper bags, boxes or wrapped in thin wrapping and tied with string we saved in a wrapped ball and reused.
All in all, we were pretty environmentally conscious without having to think about it.
Sharlene Neff



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