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3 Hours

Photo credit: Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.

Your mission

Learn about how your elders maximized their resources before the deluge of “disposables”.

Time Commitment: 3 Hours

Range of Impact: Home

Why this Action is impactful

Many years ago, before plastics were everywhere in our lives, people were exceptional at reusing what they had to stretch resources and save money. We can learn a lot from our grandparents, elders and those who still remember a time before “disposable” was a common word.

What to know before getting started

Plastics as we know them today only became commonly used household materials in the 1960s and 1970s. Before then, compostable and recyclable materials like wood, metal, and glass were used in products and packaging. Clothing was also made out of natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk. Many of our elders today, still remember a time during their youth before the onset of the “Plastic Age.” Many cultures and communities around the world, particularly indigenous cultures have sustained traditions of reusing and returning materials to the earth.

What to do

  1. Have a conversation with someone from an older generation about what they remember about a time with less plastic and how they reused things.
  2. Record your conversation (with permission) or take notes.
  3. Summarize what you learned.
  4. Try one of their reuse ways that you haven’t tried before.

Tips and suggestions

  • Show your respect and curiosity when having any conversation. This will help you both connect, trust, and learn from each other. 
  • In many cultures, reuse is or was a way of life, often deeply connected to traditions, history of the community, and to people’s identity. 
  • Be sure to acknowledge the person you talked with in your short story. But make sure to get their permission to use their name or any other personal information.  
  • Ideas for questions to ask:
    • How often did you buy clothes, did you learn how to mend things?
    • Did you ever go on a picnick, go camping or on a road trip? What did you take with, and how did you pack food?
    • How did you store leftovers at home?
    • How did packaging at the store look different from now?
    • How did you reuse things at home?
    • What was it like to go out to eat when you were young?

Track your contribution

To submit your work and get recognized for your contribution to the movement, complete the form below. If we approve your submission, you’ll be awarded 3 Action Hours.

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