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17 Sustainability Secrets We Can Learn From Our Grandparents

things our grandparents did

I recently came across an article on Mother Nature Network that discussed things our grandparents did that we all could take a lesson from, especially the ones that helped conserve personal and natural resources. It got me thinking about things my grandparents (and parents for that matter) did that I really need to rediscover and recommit to.

When you think about it, our parent and grandparents did many “eco-friendly” things long before we knew our ecosystem even needed a friend! Just one more example of “everything old becomes new again.”

17 Eco-Friendly Things Our Grandparents Used To Do

green things grandparents did

1. Dried Clothes On A Clothesline

Clothes dryers have come a long way in energy efficiency over recent years, but the average dryer is still an energy hog. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “the biggest way to cut the environmental impact of cleaning clothes is to stop using a clothes dryer.”

Clothes last longer when they are consistently air dried, and on top of that, is there anything better than sheets and pillowcases hung in the sun to dry? I rest my case.

green things grandparents did

2. Grew Their Own Food

Not only is there an incredible sense of accomplishment in growing your own fruits and vegetables, but you can also avoid pesticides and control the types of seeds and transplants that you sow and grow, like heirloom varieties. My grandparents ALWAYS grew their own food—all you need to do it is soil, water, and sun!

green things grandparents did

3. Preserved Their Own Food

Canning the food you grow in your garden is a great way to preserve them without having to invest in an enormous freezer. I would love to have a “root cellar” full of home-canned goods like my grandmother did. Very little food was wasted back then, and if people today preserved even a fraction of the food our parents and grandparents did, there would be a lot less food going to waste today.

green things grandparents did

4. Collected Rainwater

A rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. And diverting water from storm drains can alleviate stressed water systems and conserve limited resources, especially if you live in an arid climate like I do.

Related: Save On Your Water Bill With This Easy DIY Rain Barrel

Note: Several states have rainwater collection laws, including Colorado, Illinois, Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Virginia. Most states’ laws outline allowable methods for collecting and using rainwater, while prohibiting people from “diverting water” in large quantities or selling rainwater without proper treatment.

green things grandparents did

5. Cooked At Home

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal, and preparing your own food is good for the environment and your wallet alike. Home cooking typically uses fewer packaged ingredients, which conserves resources like paper and plastic.

And if you buy those ingredients from local farmers or grow your own, you’ll make an even bigger impact on the environment by significantly reducing the number of miles your food has to travel to get to your plate.

green things grandparents did

6. Saved Eating Out for Special Occasions

In the modern era, it’s not uncommon for people to eat out several times each week, but for our grandparents, eating out was saved for special occasions. Even fast food, which wasn’t as common back then, was considered a treat. (I remember my parents used to pack food for our road trips, and we’d stop to eat our meals at roadside picnic tables.)

green things grandparents did

7. Entertained at Home

Today we spend plenty of time and money on going out. Our grandparents spent more time outdoors during the day, and in the evenings were devoted to board games, reading, and other hobbies. Going to the movies or to a concert was considered a rare luxury.

By finding more free activities to do and family activities you can do at home, you can save a lot of money and get more quality time with the people you love!

green things grandparents did

8. Drank Water From The Tap

When our grandparents were thirsty, they got their water from the tap instead a plastic bottle shipped from who knows where. Bottled water would have seemed a ridiculous notion 100 years ago, but today it’s everywhere you go.

green things grandparents did

9. “Brown Bagged” It

When grandpa or grandma went to work, they brought a packed lunch from home, and it’s still a great way to reduce food waste and conserve resources! Fast food and fast casual restaurants often serve meals in single-use packaging that ends up in a landfill. With little effort, taking lunch to work can be easy, inexpensive, healthy, and green.

green things grandparents did

10. Played More Games

Hopscotch, red light/green light, jacks, hide and seek, roller skating, tag—the list of outdoor games goes on and on. Being outdoors helps children connect with nature and the environment around them, and outdoor play develops disposition for the outdoors, for physical activity, and for care of the environment.

green things grandparents did

11. Bought Less

Our grandparents didn’t buy nearly as many new things as we do today. If something had a hole in it, it wasn’t thrown out–it was patched or mended. Christmas and birthday gifts were often homemade, and things were frequently handed down from child to child. These practices not only saved money, but they were eco-friendly too.

green things grandparents did

12. Spent More Time Outdoors

In our grandparents’ day, being indoors meant you were grounded or sick. The outdoors was everyone’s playground from dawn ‘til dusk! Especially in the age of smartphones and tablets, spending time in nature is a great way for everyone in your family to take a break from screens.

green things grandparents did

13. Cultivated Community

Before Facebook, texting, and email, Grandma and Grandpa just talked to people face to face. Research shows that connecting with people around you makes you healthier and boosts your lifespan and gathering on front porches creates a feeling of community and family.

green things grandparents did

14. Used Home Remedies

Many of us have been taught home remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation. Learn how to combat a cold with garlic, ginger, and onions, or soothe a bug bite with lavender essential oil or a plantain poultice.

green things grandparents did

15. Made Their Own Cleaning Products

Our grandparents used basic cleaning agents to keep their homes clean, and they still work just as well today. In fact, baking soda, vinegar, lemon, castile soap, and essential oils can cover most of your cleaning needs.

green things grandparents did

16. Used Public Transportation, Rode Bikes, And Walked

It was common for many of our grandparents to walk or bike to and from work, and more people used public transportation because they didn’t have a car to drive. People took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked, and if we drove less today, we could save money and help the environment.

green things grandparents did

17. Recycled

Our grandparents may not have had a recycling center in town, but they knew how to make something into something else. Dresses became quilts, and milk bottles and soft drink bottles were returned to the store to be washed, sterilized, and reused. Everything had a secondary use and nothing was thrown away until it simply couldn’t be reused again.

Did you pick up any environmentally friendly habits from your parents or grandparents?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Like Corinne, many of these things are normal to me. I don’t have a clothes dryer, bottle (can) produce, make jam (jelly), drink tap water, use vinegar for cleaning, and so on. I live in New Zealand and it seems that more and more people here are going back to the “old” sustainable ways. It’s cheaper too!

  • I recycle/reuse, cook and entertain at home, brown bag meals, wear consignment shop clothes, have a rain barrel, and drink tap water every day. It never occurred to me these things were noteworthy vs simply normal.

  • I enjoyed this entire list and the photos. I remember as a kid sitting on the front porch with my grandmother, my next door neighbor, her rabbit and our family dog (this isn’t a typo.) We’d sit together talking and laughing. It wasn’t unusual for friends and neighbors to stop by and join us.

  • There were no convenience grocery items. We cut our own melons and other produce. We made salads without the 5 small individual ingredient bags. We made our own salad dressings.

  • While these are good ideas, not all of them are practicable, especially with most mothers working outside the home. Housewives who performed the above activities certainly “worked”, although feminists refuse to recognize that fact. In addition, do you know that in some jurisdictions it is illegal to collect rain water? Where we live, rainwater belongs to the state, which considers it necessary for adequate storm sewer drainage.

  • Jillee, you are on target! We have become a consumer driven society. As a whole, we buy something only to throw it away later. It’s not just the landfills that we are filling, it’s the air or water pollution that was generated in creating and shipping those temporary must haves. Think of all the potential retirement money one might have had they resisted an impulse buy over the years!

    • Jo, you are so right. We are all guilty of impulse buys… but hopefully I have offered ways for people to help our environment and bring back some of the traditions our parents had. :-)

  • This is so much fun going back and re-reading comments. Both of my parents grew up during the depression. Mom was born close to the end. She and her siblings when we see them talk about all the games they would play – a lot of them were outside. My Grandpa loved to go hunting. They did and still do in parts of Utah have a few days off school for this. Both families had Gardens. My dads family had a farm. His Dad actually taught school and they didn’t rely on the farm for income. Both of my Grandmas were the type that would mend clothes until they wore out or make a lot of their own clothes. All of our houses we’ve lived we have always had a Garden. The house we grew up in didn’t have much space for one. So they actually had and I think still do in some parts of Denver had community garden areas for gardens. Since many of the houses just don’t have much yard space for one.

    • Sure you can. As they dry a little stir them to keep loose – add fresh grounds the next day and you’re good to go. You can reuse tea bags too – we did when I was a child. People today don’t but it’s not because you can’t.

      • My grandmother re-used teabags. It used to irritate my father because he thought it inferred that my grandmother didn’t think he could afford another teabag for the next cup of tea.

    • I have a small 4 cup coffee maker, and I’m the only one that uses it. When I’m done, I rinse the pot and leave on the counter with the lid open to air dry. I also open the lid where the coffee grounds are to air out. I add more coffee the next day, since I know the original grounds still have a lot of flavor to give off. BTW It’s therefore.

  • I did see this on it’s “original” site (who knows anymore?) and checked all the boxes so I had a good laugh. Here’s where I had my personal ah-ha, though, and it made me a little sad: I hadn’t realized how far our culture had gotten away from these ideals.
    “Community” is way too far down the list, and it belongs at #1. It all starts there.
    Thanks for the lovely community you’ve created, Jillee!

  • Such a great read, thank you. If we would do just a few of these items today, we’d not have to worry about the environment, our diet, our health, our children, or our money, as much as we do now. I remember my Nana and Granddaddy living just like this and wondering when they would, “modernize.” They never did.

  • When I was growing up, my mother saved boxes — cereal boxes I especially remember . . to use as boxes for Christmas presents. No fancy bags or pre fab boxes. We would laugh when opening presents, finding cereal boxes or shoe boxes or whatever she had stashed away. My kids don’t appreciate this. ha ha ha ha

  • I take exception to those who say our life is too busy to be green – that we have to use convenience items. We are too busy because of the choices we make. We have to work 2 jobs in order to afford the house, neighborhood, lifestyle. Our parents lived according to their means. My grandmother raised 7 children, worked on the farm, helped slaughter the food, planted, harvested, canned, and cooked every meal. She cleaned, did laundry in the wash tub, hung it out to dry – for 9 people. She went to church taking the family with her. They all helped and knew it was part of life. Items were save and recycled.

    My parents brought up 4 children and managed to live on my father’s salary. They didn’t use credit. If they didn’t have the money, it didn’t get bought until they did. We played outside and were allowed to watch tv each night after dinner and after homework, if we weren’t sent out to play until dark. Tin foil and plastic bags were washed and reused. Not a twist tie or rubber band was ever thrown away. The grape vine provided dessert. We wore hand me downs and were grateful for the “new” clothes. We had a wringer washer and clothes were hung out. Heavy drapes were hung in doorways to keep the heat in the room and we wore sweaters in the house. We always sat down to dinner as a family.

    It was hard to get my kids to go along with the program because of peer pressure, but we didn’t have much expendable income beyond the basics so they dealt with it. And as I reflect on how they are living as adults, they have also chosen simpler lifestyles. Small, but adequate homes for their families, growing gardens that feed not only them but in the case of my son who is a chef, provides much of the fresh produce he uses at work.

    Thanks, Jillee, for reminding us to keep on protecting our earth and its resources.

  • Love these old time money/economy savers. A few I still use but, mostly because I didn’t have the money to spend frivolously. [and was too cheap to give my hard earned money to others to get rich]. I also use motion detector night lights throughout the house rather than turn on high costing light bulbs. I also found the solar powered lights can be placed in the bathroom for a night time light. Any place really. I also leave one in the kitchen for my 17.5 year old kitty so he can drink from the sink. [he’s losing his sight so a little light helps]

  • I make things out of laundry boxes, coffee cans, pickle bottles. I cook at home most nights. I make jelly and grow a garden. I think everybody in the South does most of these things listed.

  • Loved the simplicity of this article. I’m not sure who audience you’re trying reach is, but I assume it’s not a very diverse one. A simple suggestion I have would’ve been to include people of color in the pictures of “grandparents.” I think the choice of photos makes just as big as a statement as the actual writing content… it truly does make a difference and doesn’t perpetuate a certain narrow-minded narrative of “the good ole days.” Also, many of these suggestions assume that people have leisure time to do these things. I know that sounds dismissive, but I think a reason why we don’t do many of these things is because of convenience and adaption to mostly a demanding work life. But I will assume we know all these things and the format of this was also just for convenience. But nevertheless, I do appreciate these great reminders of how we can all be green in the 21st century!

    • Hi Niq! I provide simple tips everyday – not all of them will be applicable to every single person. If you don’t have the time for these tips, then you’re sure to find other posts on my site that will work for your life. :-)

      I love your suggestion to include more people of color in the photos that I chose, thank you for bringing that to my attention. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  • I like how you referred to your frugal ways as contributing a grain of sand to the welfare of the world. I hope all of us contribute a grain of sand….what a lovely beach that would be!

  • I love this article! And the photos are treasures in and of themselves! My parents were about 20 years older than those of my friends, so I grew up accustomed to frugal habits they picked up during the depression and living on farms. However, my mother was thrilled with the labor saving things available in the 50’s and 60’s because she worked full time. The pressure cooker, the washing machine and dryer, and the supermarket with everything under one roof were her friends. One thing missing: the library! While we had a few permanent items on our bookshelves, most of our reading materials were checked out at the local library. That included records, art works, and periodicals too. While we did get the local paper every day, my dad would either pass it on to a neighbor or relative, or reuse it in many different ways. To this day, I am an avid reader who uses the library constantly, either on line, in person, or by taking classes. I believe the public library is an under appreciated community resource as well as a cornerstone of democracy. Without the written word where would we be?

  • Loved this post. Although I use a few of these (make my own cleaning products, can/feeze foods, love leftovers for work meals) ideas, I wish I/we used them more, if not just for our environment. Thanks for this insightful post & reminders.

  • Yes I remember those good old Days. We need to get back to that. I try by canning and making my potions and cleaning cocktails but I’m one person. We don’t eat out much. My children are raised and on their own. I’ve passed all these good old qualities to them. Pass the word. Amen and I’ll second that notion!

  • My grandparents washed up in a tin dish…..then watered the tomatoes with the water. Nan used a soap holder on a handle and used sunlight soap to wash the dishes. She also buried all scraps in a hole. Covered it in at the end of the week…..Even as an adult I delighted in the potatoes that grew fromm peels!

  • Loved this article and do try to do most of these. I have to say though, I’m glad we don’t have to wear a dress and heals to hang out our laundry! :)

  • I’m in a rural area with no public transportation, but aside from that one, I’ve ALWAYS done EVERY SINGLE one of these my ENTIRE life…even when working full time and raising a family!

  • Super great article today!
    Of course, ALL your articles ar FULL on learning nuggets!
    I was born in ‘58 by parents who grew up learning from their parents who lived thru the depression era.
    My grandfather said he felt so blessed because he saw the first automobile and the first man on the moon, he never spoke of how hard things were during the depression but he taught me to never waste anything that can be repurposed, to be frugal with money, and grow your own food because you never know what can happen.
    Now, by choice, at age 60, my husband and I are setting everything up in our life so that we are not reliant on electricity and can sustain ourselves comfortably being off grid ~ this is by choice that we do this.
    We have seen many amazing changes in our lifetime so far, but mostly what we have seen is a disregard for the purity and simplicity has to life offer
    Clean eating, and clean living aka Green Living is NOT something that should be done to be popular with ones FB friends, it should be done because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
    At age 60 my husband and I are healthier, stronger and much much happier than we were in our 30’s – and we work very hard each day keeping it that way.
    We can say that we saw the first color TV and the first home computer, drone, and hopefully a huge turn around in society to a more simpler time BY CHOICE!

    • Hello there ~ if you are attracted to that era’s lifestyle have you considered this…. try using less electricity, find ways to live more simply and closer to being off grid. Check out the YT channels like Off Grid with Doug &Stacy who will teach you skills. It is a better place to be, living more simply, being more responsible for your existence, and not because it is “Green” but because it is the right thing to do.
      That was a “nugget” ~ enjoy.

    • ooooo, Rose, you are an old soul :) Lucky you!! Go ahead and be that girl – she’s much closer to your authentic self. Start small and bring a few of these fun things into your life – you don’t have to go whole hog. Enjoy your life, dear Rose. It’s why we’re here!!

  • Today we had caught a mouse in a snap-type mouse trap in the garage. After removing the dead mouse from the trap, I laid it on the ground. Immediately flies were covering it. Then I remembered my Mom telling me that back in her day, they would not throw the trap away but slightly burn or scorch it so it could be reused.

    This was supposed to kill any odor or bacteria left behind from the mouse. I did that and put it outside and not one fly touched it. I commented to my husband, that something as simple as a mouse trap wasn’t thrown away, but reused. It was not only thrifty to reuse just about everything possible but most people were taught it was a sin to waste anything. Even a simple mouse trap.

  • More busy hands, interaction with friends and family, less sitting in front of the TV. Organized sports activities were chosen with care and not essential every day, chores and family were. Families would get more out of participating in ALL activities together rather than expecting someone else to do it. We learned to take care of ourselves and value relationships, the things we accomplished and had. We weren’t a disposable people. Glad to hear DIY life is on the rise again!
    Thanks for all the good work, Jillie.

  • Great post Jillee
    I have to say that apart from drinking tap water (ours is disgusting and needs boiling first) and using public transport I do all of the above.
    I live in a rural area with no public transport whatsoever so rely on my car to travel, especially since I work in town 45 minutes drive away.
    I also make my own moisturizers (oh how I love your whipped body butter recipe), toner, toothpaste and soap, keep my own shopping bags, small produce bags, reusable mason jar and Tupperware container for my grocery shopping and once a week latte and brownie treat to enjoy at work, and grow and dry my own herbs to add flavour to our food all year round.

    There is so much we can all do to save money and resources.

  • It takes time to do most of these things. I am semi retired so I do most of them. I encourage others to go backwards also. It’s a healthier more satisfying lifestyle. Thanks jillee

  • I wish that milk and sodas still came in glass that could washed, sterilized and refilled. When our children were small in the 80’s we did find a Borden’s milk man who still delivered and that was wonderful but it was in cartons. To have things in reusable containers just make sense.
    I hate that my grandchildren can’t seem to get by without their handheld devices. They have good role models for that though as mom and dad hardly ever put down their phones and will answer them to talk with friends even during meals.
    We have the grandchildren once a year for a week in the summer and no computers or electronic games of any kind are allowed to come to the house. Two years ago we invested in really nice tree swings enough for everyone. They were getting up early in the morning to go outside to swing they wanted to be on them so much. The younger ones are pleading still every time they come over, “Grandpa, push me! “

    • There is a brand of milk that’s sold in returnable glass bottles. I’ve seen it at Kroger grocery stores, and it may be available at other large stores. The milk is expensive but when the empty, rinsed bottle is returned to the store a refund is given on the next purchase.

      • Same here where live in the KC area. It’s wildly popular. You get the deposit money back when you return the bottles.

    • Actually where I live in Kansas City area we have a company Shatto milk where you can buy the milk in jars. It comes in fun flavors. When we first started selling it, we ( the store I work for), thought it wouldn’t catch on because you have to rinse and bring the bottles back to get your deposit back. But, it’s wildly popular here.

  • My memories described exactly in this article as i grew up in a middle class home in the fifties . Life seemed so much simpler then. There seemed to be so much more time to spend with family as they were not spread across the country as now a days- and you knew all your neighbors. I wish we could go back to those days. I try to explain to my kids what they have missed but of course they don’t get it. We walked to school with no fear and certainly no concerns for safety once we got there. We played outside all the time and play in those days was often active and required imagination- a great thing! Yeah, we didn’t have much money, but we had the things that are most important.

    • I miss that. You can’t really let your kids walk to school like we did because of safety. Some areas where we live kids can’t even play outside safely without worrying about unsavory characters in neighborhoods . It’s so sad.

  • I grew up in then 50’s and all I remember is, we did what we had to do to survive. Wages were low ,kids were seen and not heard, going to bed hungry was common. There was no birth control , men did what they wanted. Lying in bed sweating and being eaten by mosquitoes because there were no screens in the windows. I have very few memories of good times , and even though I can sew , cook and stretch a dollar , I will never say those were the” good ole days” or simpler times as some want to think. Every generation has good and bad.
    Yes,we did “green” because it was the only color crayon in the box LOL

    • You make some good points. I grew up in the late 50’s & early 60’s and while my childhood was relatively carefree my parents struggled daily just to meet the physical needs of us 6 kids….food, clothing & shelter. Lots of good things about the “good old days” that we can learn from but it wasn’t a bed of roses either.

  • This article is very true to the “old” ways. My husband and I still practice most of them and are teaching our children too. I have a load of laundry in the washer now that will go out on the clothes line in a bit. We grow our food, can and freeze it. We have chickens and ducks for eggs and entertainment. We also have insulated cups and don’t use bottled water unless it’s an emergency. Thank you for reminding us of better ways to live, and teach.

  • this is perfect. in my family, especially my mother’s side who was Italian you would see so many foods that were preserved; hanged our clothes outside (the smell was the best from that.) we did go to a Milk store to get glass bottles of milk and even when I went to grammar school we had our own lunch box. the buses were cheap and friendly; we were told to play outside whenever possible; the treat was every other month we go to get burgers at a restaurant. our vacations were camping every year; came from a large family and it was the cheapest way to go. The only thing about being outdoors at that time, I have developed a skin disorder from years being outside without a sunscreen protection; it was invented at that time. A good article.

  • They also used WAX paper to wrap sandwiches in and everything else. Garbage was composted and then what could not be used for the compost bin…..wrapped in the daily newspaper which everyone could read back then because it was actuall reporting of the actual news. I don’t care what anyone says, life back in the 50’s was a wonderful time

  • I am 83. We did these things as we had very little money. Depression years were tough for the majority. My Mom broke her arm when she was tugging the clothes line to tighten it, it snapped, she fell, her arm snapped. Rarely saw a Dr. immunization shots started in elementary school. We were lined up and shot. Have no idea how they were paid for. We would spend a dime once a month to buy a stamp for our war bond book which eventually bought a $25 bond for I think $18.75, (.?).

    We were happy kids, the world in our hands. Not bombarded on the second with the latest dire happenings in the country, world. Them were the days my friend. Laura

  • I believe if our earth was in the same shape some of these things would be possible, like the tap water. I can understand some countries and bottled water. When we traveled overseas bottle water was the norm to keep from upset stomachs. Today we drink out of the tap in our home. Now out of the 17, I do 13 more than my children think I should. I enjoy all I do to help conserve but that’s just me. Thanks for the article it was very enjoyable and brought back memories of cooking and baking with my mother. Not to sure my daughter will have similar memories because she is all thumbs in the kitchen but what a laugh we get when I tell her she cannot mess something up and yet she excells in that regard.

    • Our priorities have changed.. probably we are busier than our moms n grandmoms.. but now doing these kind of household chores and being resourceful in the house either seems like a taboo or like wastage of brilliance or time..

  • A couple of years ago I bought a dehumidifier after my house had a small flood. To my delight, it keeps my house cooler and I use the collected water for my plants.

    • If you are keen and can afford the initial cost, you can consider growing vegetable or herb garden indoor in a glasshouse with led lighting arrangements, porous soils with liquid minerals and so on.. these are practices which are being pursued..

    • Oh come on, surely there are snow free days where you live? I lived in Alaska for years, about 8 hours from the geographic north pole. I had a vegetable and flower garden, and harvested plenty of food. Yes, the season was short and my tomatoes often froze on the vine, but with some effort and a greenhouse that wouldn’t have happened.

  • I just had to add my 2 cents about hanging laundry. I live on the Gulf coast and the spring, summers and fall weather is so warm that the hung laundry dries quickly. I started hanging the clothes about 20 years ago when I decided I didn’t want to pay the electric company money for doing what the sun does for free. Unfortunately, there is a train line running behind the property and the clothes smelled awful from the train fumes. My solution- I have the self-standing portable clothes closets and some clothes drying racks out in the garage. I hang everything out there, summer or winter and when dry, run it all thru the drier’s fluff cycle [no heat]. This gets rid of the dust and pet fur that did not come out in the wash as well as softening the clothes [think denim] and towels.

  • Jillee I love your posts and I appreciate all the feedback from others too. Going green! I don’t like all the ads we get that are “glossy” they don’t break down in the compost very well and takes a very long time. I use lots of plain newspaper in the garden rows and arond bushes and plants to keep the weeds down and cover them with mulch to hold in place. At the end of the season, just rototill them into the soil or cover with another layer in the spring. Glass is sooooo much better than plastic. Plastic can only be recycled so much and most of it ends up in the dump and it does not break down very well either. Glass is heavy, but you can recycle it over and over into anything. Plastic retains the taste of what was in the container and most should not be reused either. Styrofoam when heating leftovers can make you sick also as it is distorted. I can remember the big bins of food that you scooped out what you needed and placed in jars at home. All that packaging just goes to waste, maybe some is recycled. Plastic grocery bags can be used to line garbage cans and etc that has been pointed out, IF they are not so thin and have holes in them. I worry that my groceries will end up on the floor because of this so I too use cloth. Meat should be put in plastic and discarded and not be reused because of contamination period. I read where many said of the bacteria, etc on food containers and carts. Do you have carpeting in your house? There are at least 400 more bacteria in your carpet than on your toilet stool. Many don’t wash their veggies when bought from prepackages in the store, lettuce, spinach, etc and then they don’t know why they got sick. Add a little vinegar to water and soak, not only cleans the veggies, but removes the pesticides. If they are from your own garden and hopefully you didn’t add any pesticides, you will only consume a little dirt!

  • My parents grew up in the depression. My father became a physician after WWII with the help of the GI Bill. They never lost sight of the leaner times. My father changed his own oil until he couldn’t physically do it anymore. My mother always canned but on the weekends only because she had a career. They had very little “free time”, they always had something constructive to do. They volunteered and wrote plenty of checks to charity. They had what we used to call a “social conscience”, a desire to pay back for the bounty they had been fortunate enough to have. They kept cars until they had a lot of miles on them. My father said “the next mile is cheaper than the one you are on now” and “repairs are always cheaper than payments”. They were very wise but I didn’t see it then, now at 56 I wish I had followed their examples sooner.

    • Please be careful to read the entire text The laws protect people from doing harm to themselves or others and DO NOT restrict collecting. Read the next paragraph in the article. I can see people making another urban legend that Swopes has to debug from not reading the full text ERead what it said next! Ut is not illegal but protects people from harm. Note: Several states have introduced rainwater collection laws, including Colorado, Illinois, Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Virginia. However, these laws don’t prohibit the collection of rainwater but rather outline allowable collection methods and usage. The regulations are there to prevent people from ‘diverting water’ in large quantities, as well as to prevent the sale of rainwater for drinking without proper treatment.

  • As a child of the 70’s I definitely have a lot of these memories. It seems like the 80’s was the decade when things started to change. I was just telling someone the other day that my grandmother would take old soap slivers and put them in a glass mason jar with water. We would use this just like liquid soap.With her being a teenager during the Depression she found many inventive ways to reuse and recycle things around the house.

  • I am definitely one of those 20 somethings who grew up in the generation of convenience food and and the not so natural life style. As a parent of 2 beautiful children now, I am trying to do as much as I can to save money and resources while trying to provide the healthiest (without being a germ freak, definitely believe in building up the immune system :) I love learning about all the “old School” ways that my parents didn’t really use. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog Jillee, your recipes and DIY stuff is GREAT!! thank you!

  • I am 27 with two kids and we homeschool, most of the stuff on the list are things we do or are in the process of doing at our home. We are lucky ( unlucky in some peoples eyes) we live an hour from the nearest town in the middle of nowhere in the country. We use a clothesline year around, can what we can, and reuse anything i can. My landlord just last week was cleaning a rent house and gave us a bunch of shelves some might throw away but were perfect for us in our garage. I love your site and keeps them coming. I learned all my money saving stuff from my Nanny and now she calls me when she needs helps or wants to know a good homemade cleaner or beauty treatment.

  • Great article I live in the UK and most of the ideas we do anyway like hanging clothes outdoors on a washing line, drinking tap water, saving water to water the garden veggies (I cant believe its illegal to collect rain water in some states) and making house old cleaners (baking soda has so many uses)
    Here in the UK we seem to have a throw away culture (bin it and but new) but I believe its because of all the adverts (commercials) telling us to buy this and buy that (its all about the economy the more we spend the better the economy) as for going green is becoming cool again don’t make me laugh here in the UK we are led to believe being cool is driving a Ferrari and living in a million pound house and working 14 hour days to pay for it all (which in my eyes is not cool) and going green is seen as being a cheap skate, its only the tree huggers that can get away with it without ridicule from your neighbors.

  • Someone else may have mentioned it already, but our Grandparents also used cloth diapers. I admit, there are a LOT of expensive cloth diapers out there, and the concept of washing them out isn’t appealing to most people, but from a person who’s done both, it really isn’t all that bad. Our Health Department has a Cloth Diaper bank for mothers who are interested in saving money. I received some of these and they are the kitchen tea towels found at Walmart. For the cover, some talented ladies sewed up some velcro waterproof polyurethane covers. Most city ordinances want you to flush the No. 2 mattern down the toilet anyway, and how many people do that? Diapers are expensive! When you wash and line dry them, you’ve always got them on hand, and ready to go.

    Also, (I realize that this is a hot button topic, and I’m not trying to stir up controversy, so please don’t start a conflict on this thread, that’s not my intention with this post) Our grandmothers breastfed their babies! Have you seen the price of formula these days? I realize that not everyone can, but when they could, they did! It was a very common practice that I think people overlook because it seems too difficult or weird. Just some things to think about..

    Our Grandparents were genius when it came to pinching pennies. It’s a shame our culture has become so wasteful with our way of living. Over the last few years I’ve personally tried to cut the waste one way or another. Love the list, Jillee! Thanks for reminding us that living simple is a whole lot cheaper, and doggone it, I think more family fun!

    • I agree with the breastfeeding! Yes, I understand that it is not possible for some mothers, but I will never understand why people think it’s weird when that is how God designed it. I don’t know when formula feeding became a “thing”, but i’m pretty sure it was within the last century. There is so much evidence about the health benefits for babies (reducing allergies and boosting immune system, among others) and I know there are adoptive mothers who get breastmilk from milk banks for their babies for that very reason. Of course, you can pump and freeze breastmilk for times when you aren’t available to nurse, are sick, working, or other situations. Not having to carry around bottles and formula and wash the bottles and nipples later is so freeing. There’s is so much support and education available today for moms who want to try breastfeeding.

  • awesome post Jillee! I remember all of these and still put most of them in practice today. My only question is – where did you get that beautiful clothesline photo! Thank you ever so much for all you wonderful advice – enjoy reading your blog all the time.

    • Same issues here with HOA…there could be standards in place to keep the clothesline’s from being ugly! The benefits are many to our environment and health! Blessings!

  • I just want to say it is no longer safe to drink water from the tap in cities and municipal areas. They now put fluoride in the water which is poisonous to us. Not only just the fluoride, they also put other toxic chemicals in the water too like estrogen, blood pressure medications, tranquilizers, etc. Even drinking bottled water is not that safe either but it is really the only other choice city dwellers have unless they are lucky to know someone who has their own well or spring in the country that they are able to go collect water from or know of a natural spring. Even collecting rain water is not safe because of the pollutants in the air and the ozone layer.

    • I’m sure we all feel much better after that cheery news, Serenity. I was going to go take my daily medications, but now that I’ve heard your news, I don’t have to bother getting down those pesky pills, I’ll just have a glass of tap water!

    • I’ve researched this topic and it is said to be safer drinking tap water rather than bottled. The main problem with tap water is that you are supposed to run the faucet for at least a minute before filling a glass for drinking due to lead in the pipes. This is also a waste of water just going down the sink.

  • Great job on this article, Jillee! This really inspires me to help the new generation of parents today re-capture the simple pleasures of previous generations. I love to share ideas like this on my website frugalgreenbaby.com. When our grandparents raised our parents, so many of the ‘necessities’ today would have been considered wasteful and just plain ridiculous! I love embracing new technology and opportunities, which keeping traditional ways alive. Thanks again for sharing and reminding us!

    • I’m a sleep deprived new mother as well- I meant *while instead of *which! haha. Hopefully you understood me! Thanks again for all your great articles :)

  • We made big lovely grocery bags and refrigerator bags out of all sarees and dupatta. My granny made me stitch them (under supervision ofcourse) just so that I have my lessons in reusing and sewing. We made lovely duster cloth out if old sheets, potato and onions storage bags out of pillow cases and last but not the least using veg peels and used tea leaves in the garden. Simply added them to the pots or planters and they got converted into manure in a matter of days. Made lots of door mats too out of old worn out clothes.

  • I love this list our family does them all! We get the family together to do canning on the weekends, hunt and fish, garden etc. not only to save money but to maintain some self sufficiency. I am proud that I can make meals entirely from vegetables & meat we harvested as a family.

    For those with allergies depending on tge severityyiu may try drying items on the clothesline & then putting them in the dryer for at least 10 minutes on low heat. My allergist suggested it & it helps. He said 10 minutes in the dryer will kill dust mites & will allow time for most of the allergens to be sucked out. It’s worth a try, 10 minutes or an hour.

  • Wonderful post today! I also was raised to live a greatful life of simplicity. Loved it and so glad my dear talented mother taught me these things and more…calligraphy, sewing, crocheting, roller skating, love of reading a good book, Chinese jump roping, piano playing, writing in a journal, make Christmas ornaments, quilting, paint my bedroom, make the best homemade caramels, bake fresh bread and share with neighbors, how to earn and save money, how to be a great friend and to crack a bullwhip! (Dad was so good at it he could trim the trees!) No need for fire crackers! Thanks for the trip down memory lane with a greatful heart.

  • I use my clothes line every chance I get. Sheets, towels, blankets, and tee shirts, and curtains go outside. We don’t eat out that often, I cook. And today I rode bikes with my grandson, sat on our porch and talked to neighbors.

    In some ways, I live in the past and enjoy every minute of it.

  • we have lived in third world countries now for over 30 years….may I recommend Lehman’s non-electric catalogue – stuff we have had to use since…some places we didn’t have electricity and/or running water or sporadic provision of both

  • I’m 39 and do almost all of these – except line dry my clothes. Unless you count a drying rack in the basement. Of course, I’m not perfect but it’s hard to cook for only one person.

    • Of course you should count your basements drying rack as line drying. You are still not using the dryer. I live on a gravel road on a ranch in a part of the country that gets a lot of wind so if I line dried outside my laundry would be exposed to gravel dust, pollen, etc. I use my dryer for towels, socks and undies, but usually only partially dry my clothes in the dryer (or not at all, depending on the item) and then hang to finish drying.

  • My grandparents always had a garden in the backyard of there suburban Portland OR home. They canned food from that, they went to farms close by and up-picked other produce & fruits and canned, froze or dried those. We always hung our clothes out on the line when the weather permitted, saving the clothes dryer for rainy or snowy wash days. My grandparents drove to the mountains every fall to hunt for dear & elk. They hung the meat to cure, then cut wrapped and froze it for later use. They bought beef & pork for farmers they knew & trusted, by the 1/2 animal, it came from the butcher all cut wrapped and frozen to put in the freezers. They had 2 or 3 huge chest type freezers for food storage and the root cellar what a couple thousand jars of produce to get us through to the next year. My mom & grandma were good seamstresses making all the families clothes including tailored shirts for the men & jeans with flat-felled seams, no Levi’s for us. We had a compost pile in the back yard for all the kitchen, garden and leaf & grass clippings to amend the soil and make it better for growing food & flowers. My grandfather used to regularly make my skate keys because it seemed everytime I would stop to tighten a skate I would leave the dang thing on the sidewalk instead of putting it back in my pocket. We got our milk delivered in glass bottles, that were given back the next delivery and we did eat at home rather than going out, even for special occasions. Everyone in the family gathered at Grams and all the women were in the kitchen, laughing, joking & cooking together. The men usually gathered in the living room & TALKED, instead of watching tv. In those days the tv was a big black & white cabinet tv and we mostly just watched the news on it. I am only 65 so life has changed a lot since I was a kid.

  • Just love your web page. I just discovered it! So thrilled. THANK YOU! I do recycle as much as possible also reuse. Always looking for new & great ideas. An unfortunate decline in income came our way, so every little bit helps. And U sure helped a lot! God Bless Always and forever

  • LOVE the article today……………I use a clothes line every day possible (in winter, bad weather, hang indoors) except for towels (too stiff on clothes line) and for the clothes pins, I use an old apron with a big front pocket to hold them…………….as for the fabric/ plastic grocery bags, I spray with rubbing alcohol after use or wash them ( if used for meat.)…………….I also was raised with reuse, reduce and recycle mentality …………..Have an awesome day all……………..

  • When I was growing up, we had very little. Our home was small and so was my parents income. At an early age I learned to “can”, help out in the garden, and save a penny. I’ve plucked more chickens than I would like to admit and have spent many a hour stringing green beans. Though I’m grown now and my house hold income has improved, I still live like I did when I was young. I shop resale stores and good wills, yet my children are always dressed well. I learned to sew, so that I could make those adorable boutique outfits for my daughter, for a 1/10 of the price. When something gets broken, we fix it, or find another way for it to be used. Every year I put up veggies and fruits for the winter season and shop for groceries on a tight budget. The save, conserve, repurpose attitude of my parents ( and grandparents) has helped me and my family through hard times, and helped us to bless others in good times.

  • Dear Jillee,
    My brother and I inherited our grandparents farm, through our mother when she passed away three years ago. It is a small wheat farm in the center of Kansas. Our family has had the privilege of stewarding this land for 70 years now. My nephew lives here full time, and I am only able to make it back to visit twice a year. Imagine my surprise, then, when I arrived here today at noon, watered my mother’s geraniums in the south window, sat down to check in on One Good Thing by Jillee and saw the headline “17 Things Our Grandparents Did” pop up. Well, of course, I just burst into tears. I have a lifetime of memories of every one of these things being done faithfully by my grandmother, and then by my mother. The timing of this post could not be more personal or profound for me. I cannot thank you enough for covering such a wonderful topic, and for doing it just….now.

    • Your comment and use of the phrase “the privilege of stewarding this land” really touched me. If only we would look at things less as “ours” and more as though we were simply “stewards,” what a difference there would be in the world. And if we viewed taking care of our earth as a privilege, rather than a bother, who knows how much better we might all be able to live? Thanks, Julie. The world needs more of you.

  • We are buying a “new” to us home that was built in 1972. Those snobs didn’t want to have anything to do with ecological things–in fact, the covenants BAN CLOTHESLINES. Never in my life did I think I would be an outlaw, but it’s about to happen!
    I do many of the rest of these–in fact, we cracked into some of my canned peaches from last year just as this year’s were starting to come in (this year they’re not nearly as good, due to the crazy spring we had), and hubby was just dumbfounded at how good they were, and I canned them in a VERY light local-honey-based syrup but they’re still sweet as you could imagine. These are things you can’t control at the grocery!

  • Wonderful photos and a great reminder. Since I am (ahem) a bit older now and was born late in my parents’ marriage, it means my grandmothers was born in 1893 and 1896, and my grandfathers were born in 1890. My parents were married during the depression. Talk about people who knew how to reduce, reuse and recycle! Because of my upbringing, I can our garden produce, save things for re-use (and then actually re-use them), hang out clothes, make my own cleaners, etc. Something else they did, that I always did and still do, is hand-me-down. Be it clothes or something else, handing it down is a time-honored tradition, and I still get a chuckle when I remember my school friends complimenting me on a “new” dress — it would be my older sister’s dress, with long sleeves cut to short, trim changed out or added, etc. Even though they’d seen my sister wear it to school before me, they wouldn’t recognize it after my mother got done altering it. She was a clever seamstress and doubled a wardrobe’s life by creative alterations.

  • I encourage EVERYONE to read Holly Swanson’s “Set Up & Sold Out: Find Out What Green Really Means.” It is an excellent, well-documented, ESSENTIAL book.

  • I did not grow up with people who practiced many of these things. My grandparents embraced the 2 income lifestyle–“I’m not poor I can afford it attitude”; my parents embraced the disposal income mentality of “go get another one”. Our neighbors & relatives lived that same way as far as I could tell.

    When I got married I did all of these things to stretch green ($$), I do it these days not so much to save the planet but rather because why pay top dollar for things when I can do better for less money or even free? Saving the planet is just a bonus.
    My kids laugh at a lot of what I do. But someone stopped me to ask about my homemade/IKEA hacking style idea & my son said, “People do think its cool, & we just thought you were crazy”.

    SO Like Linda, I was cool before it was cool to be cool.

  • I am 54 and we grew up in these Appalachian Mtn. in every way you have here.We are a very independent people.My mother and grandmother has passed down every bit of the way of a healthy life should be,I love growing and preserving although my health doesn’t allow the way I would love to,we caught rain water,worked in fields picking green beans,tomatoes etc.I love pickled beets,pickled corn and beans.I was taught at a young age how to sew and made my grown daughters clothes.I have granddaughters who now are more interested playing in the dirt and growing beautiful flowers.They love to water them and watch the grow,what we call a Simple Life,but very important to our environment.We use to use a cycle to cut bushes and brush,my husband use to use a push mower to cut grass,the kind with out the motor.Thank you for posting this,makes me realize just how good we have it when I can get out.

  • I’m making a clothesline in my basement this weekend! Duh! Our clothes aren’t dry half the time after 90 min in the dryer anyway, & I DO have a dehumidifier in my basement! LOL!

    And the rain barrel idea would probably take care of a lot of my basement leaks as well!

    And all but the transportation is something I’m going to work on converting to in our home (thankfully my grandma taught me how to do most of these things directly). We live 10 miles from the edge of town, down a US Hwy, so no biking to work for me, but otherwise, we do a lot! I have the reusable bags, but I always forget them, or they’re full of snacks & stuff for soccer games! I recycle the plastic bags I end up bringing home, or scan free cycle for folks needing stuff for crafts!

  • Thank you so much for that….actually I have been doing those things all my life. However I have been called cheap, and old fashioned but now that its cool to be green I’m cool. LOL.

    Thanks for your blog.

  • I love the idea of repairing things when they’re broken. We live in such a throw-away society what with all the cheap (and cheaply made) goods available from overseas. Buy less; buy American-made, and repair things instead of tossing them into our over-taxed landfills. Love your blog, Jillee!

  • We have a large wheel-in shower we don’t use anymore. I put another shower rod inside the shower and hang all our shirts, tops, sweaters, jeans, etc so we have double space to hang the wet clothes over. Something my mom did for us in the summer was to put a large piece of plastic (probably some kind of mattress cover) in the cardboard grocery boxes we would get. Filled with buckets of water from our pump it made a great little personal swimming pool for each of us. My brother had cerebral palsy so she sat him in one, too. We thought we had something really special.

    • Chris, you DID have something really special! A loving, creative Mother who taught you to appreciate and value the simple things and pleasures in life! A true blessing!

  • Years ago when my husband and I had not been married long, our young family moved to Colorado and lived with my husband’s family high up in the Rockies at 10,000 plus feet. We had neither electricity or running water. We hauled our water from a spring and it was the best tasting water we had ever tasted. My sister-in-law and I were talking one afternoon about how the water was so good that we should bottle and sell it. Then we laughed till we had tears in our eyes. Who had heard of such a ridiculous idea? Wish I still had access to that spring.

  • Loved this post. I remember all of this. I do some of it like have a vegetable garden, have chickens for eggs and sometimes hang my clothes out (which I really enjoy doing) I try to cook at home mostly.

  • When my babies were little I used only cloth diapers. My washing machine didn’t have a hot water hook-up, so I boiled the diapers on top of the stove to kill the bacteria, washed them, tossed them in the dryer for 10 minutes to soften them, then hung them on the line outside to air dry. That may seem like way too much work to some, but the thought of disposable diapers on my babies most vulnerable body parts was abhorrent to me. Still is. Some called me an “earth mother” because of that and cooking every meal at home from locally-grown foods, long-term nursing, using home remedies, etc., but the mainstream approach didn’t make sense to me. The disposable diapers that other mothers threw away all those years ago are still in the landfill. And as our children reach puberty and enter their reproductive years, we may be in for some rude surprises. The chemicals that facilitated our convenience were readily passed on to the baby transdermally. The health of my children was always more important than my convenience.

  • we use to make the second pot of coffee by adding just one fresh scoop. that was a savings of two scoops! it was always good. always use butter wrappers to grease pans, and wrap potatoes for baking. those envelopes make great grocery lists with coupons enclosed, its not hard to wash and reuse ziplocs for non food purposes, they make great trash holders in the car, also toy organizers, think leggos, you absolutely cannot substitute fresh air from an open door or window with an air conditioner. old towels become cleaning rags, newspaper works great for drying windows. my grandma watered her flowers with dishwater (she used a dishpan) and she had huge beautiful flowers. the list is endless. leftover food can also be re-invented to a new exciting dish, it really is possible instead of throwing it away. puree vegetables and freeze in small portions to add to soup stews and meatloafs. and on and on and on….

  • An old married couple were asked “How did you manage to stay together for 50 years?”
    They replied “We were born in a time that when something was broken, we would fix it and not throw it away!”

  • We did all of that growing up. My mother made most of my clothes, too. She taught herself to sew because they couldn’t find clothes to fit a 1 lb. 13 oz. preemie. Even doll clothes were too big. After I grew more, she just kept on sewing my clothes. We didn’t buy dog food either. The dogs received table scraps and were quite happy to get their dinner from our leftovers. Recycled all of our bottles, too. Made our own home remedies for all that we could. Grandma was half Cherokee, so some of the remedies came from her culture, too. Kids today have no clue how much they waste.

  • Excellent ideas! My great-great grandmother and my great-grandmother both were beautiful quilters. They saved material from clothing, etc., rather than buying it new from the store. I have a quilt made by each woman and cherish the work, thought, time and effort that went into the design and execution. Everyone, male and female, needs to learn basic sewing techniques! Stop spending money on “alterations” and learn to hem pants, skirts, etc. yourself! My other great-grandmother and her daughter after her cooked what was in season and canned: peaches, homemade chili sauce, pickles, jams, jellies, chickens…..their fruit cellar was amazing! Also, I come from a long line of great cooks and have always cooked most meals at home! Saves money, is fun and creative, and you chose, handle and select what goes into your family’s stomachs! A word about the bottled water: Our tap water is not drinkable. It tastes like old pennies and even the pets hate it. Not everyone has good tasting tap water!

  • Because of my dad, I grew up always having to take a shower with a bucket or plastic gallon milk containers in the shower stall with me. This was used to collect the cold water when turning the shower on while waiting for it to get hot. The water was then used for the plants he grew.

    • I do that when I draw water to wash my dishes (I don’t have a dishwasher). I hate to waste all that water while waiting for the hot water to arrive at my sink. I use the collected water to water plants or add to my washing machine when I do a load of laundry.

      • Forgive me, this is not meant to sound rude in anyway. The shower water saving idea I get. The sink one I don’t.

        Don’t you have to temper your water anyway so that your water isn’t too hot for your hands to begin with. We have our hot water tank set at 120F. When doing dishes, I run just the hot water. The cold water in the lines tempers the water just enough that it is bearable for my hands. No water wasted.

        Just a thought.

    • Now THAT makes sense to collect the water that comes out before it’s shower temperature! Good way to have plant water on days you can’t collect rainwater.

  • i looove clothes fresh off the line. unfortunately, husband and kids have pretty serious allergies (eyes, skin, breathing) and i have to stick with a clothes dryer. =( have to attempt a few more on this list. i come from a long line of cityfolk so a lot of these practices haven’t been a part of my family’s traditions.

      • Same here. I am allergic to cottonwood big time as are some of my kids. What do I have in the yard? 7 cottonwood trees.

  • Love your post!! I do most of these things and glad that my kids follow along too. My 22yr old just put in his clothes line posts at his house this summer and have a drying rack for use in the winter. He brings in his recycle over to put into our bin.
    I recently put together my second queen size quilt made from recycled denim from my family. I would keep all of the jeans that were too beat up to donate or sell. The first quilt is made from 3 3/4 in squares and the other is make from 6 in squares. I made my clothes pin bags from some of the left over denim and used some scraps to patch oldest sons work pants.
    Both sons, husband and myself take our lunches to work, daughter eats at home between classes and work.
    Another thing we like to do is buy used, garage/yard sales and thrift stores are great. My 25yr old son bought jeans for work at a thrift store.
    I just don’t understand people who are quick to throw away useful things and replace with new.

  • We have our own garden, use a clothes line, preserve our food and other stuff that is listed. However in the state of Colorado it is illegal to collect rain water unless you live somewhere that has no access to public water or a well.

  • Agreed that a lot of people don’t do these things (I do most, including patching up jean crotch-holes for the bf!), but “Bottled water would have seemed ridiculous 100 years ago” isn’t exactly true, it’s been around since the Georgian period. However it was seen as something for the rich, even with ‘medicinal’ properties. My tapwater tastes funny – like chemicals, so when I afford it I use bottled (the cheap kind from scotland not Evian ;p) for the coffee machine etc. as it affects the taste. Water people assure us there’s nothing wrong with it, which probably means it’s just the 25 types of disinfectant I can probably taste :/ I know bottled water has it’s health issues too, but what’s the point in buying nice coffee and it tasting weird (even the first time around :p)?

    • Here in AZ our tap water is safe, but it is warm and tastes terrible. My hubby uses a Filtrete water station and refillable bottles. It tastes OK when it’s really cold, but not as good as spring water. When we lived in Montana we were on a community well water system, that water tasted good!

    • I hope you do realize that bottled water in plastic is full of the plastizers from the bottle. It’s a fact that they leach toxic junk into the contents, especially when frozen or especially in the heat in cars. I can’t stand the taste of bottled water. It tastes like plastic! Besides, it is nothing but bottled tap water run through a charcoal filter at best. You can buy your own filters–whole house, pitchers, sink, refrigerator, even water bottles with filters in them. Not all filters remove the same thing. Some are only for taste, not for toxins.

  • I LOVE my clothesline! My husband bought it for me as a birthday present years ago and friends/family were horrified! BUT, it was what I wanted!!!! And USE a lot.

    Also, my friend Ann, several years ago started a new business on the West side of Cleveland, rainbarrelsnmore.com has many good ideas for going green, including her wonderful Rain Barrels & the BEST diverter for your downspout. I don’t know if she can ship a rain barrel, but you may like her diverter.

    I hope you get a chance to look at her website!

    • Thank you for sharing your friend’s link, Ann. I live one city over from her store, and honestly, never knew that place existed! I will definitely be checking this out in the future!

  • Oh how I wish we could go back to that simpler time in life. People were respectful to each other (even strangers) and everybody helped their neighbor just because they needed help, no other reason. **sigh**

    Just a head’s up though, about the collecting rainwater tip, the State of Colorado has made that a crime, so you might want to check local laws and regs before going to the trouble of setting up a rainwater collection system at home. I’m sure Colorado isn’t the only state to do so :(

      • I would guess in a state like Colorado that is at risk for forest fires, that might be why there is regulation of rain water? Don’t know for sure though.

      • It all has to do with water law. (Fires are a whole different critter due to criminally bad forest management by the currently shut down federal government. You’ll see that the fires here are mostly on federal land or parks. The state does a much better job of commonsense forest management. People forget that long ago a fire was allowed to burn out as long as it didn’t come near property. The Indians used to burn large swaths of land to allow for better grazing the following year. The mindset that ‘we can’t touch it, it’s natural” is a bad idea and we’ve had devastating fires to prove i.t

        Back briefly to water law. We ship a LOT of our water to the West Coast…anything on the ‘surface’ can be used by anyone (I think I understand it that way) but anything that has the potential to seep into the ground is state owned water. For instance, you can’t have a rain barrel to catch the water running off your roof because if that water were to fall off the roof onto the ground, then it will sink into the groundwater and the state owns it. I worked for a water company temp a couple of times and that is what I gathered the law was. Don’t quote me, I am not a water law attorney or paralegal :D

  • I still hang out clothes,can my own veggies and drink water from the faucet. But it seems like young people now days thinks it’s a really good idea….but they want YOU to do it for them, so they have their own little stockpile. I also remember that a toy from the store was a treat and we had to do chores and make an allowance and buy it ourselves. However, we appreciated it more and took care of it instead of breaking it right off the bat and going out to buy a new one. It scares me knowing that if the power grid ever goes down…wow…these kids won’t have a clue as to how to kill and clean their own game, raise their own food and preserve it and make their own cleaning products, and most of all entertain themselves and use their brains for things other than playing games on the computer. and having to add and subtract without using a calculator, and figure out how to make dinner out of last night’s supper. LOL

  • These are all great reminders to be more satisfied with a simpler existence – the one that I’m dying to know more about is reusing coffee grounds??? Does anyone know anything about this? We put them in the compost when I was growing up, but I have never heard of reusing them the next day!

      • Becky, if your coffee doesn’t turn out the way you like it, try saving your coffee grounds and putting them into a compost pile or in your plants. You’re still recycling, even if it’s in a different way.

    • I add about half the amount of coffee grounds i would use to the old… and do this to get two pots of coffee . Also sometimes make a pot, usually it makes three days worth, i drink one cup and leave the rest in the fridge for the next two days. yes, the coffee is weaker and yes doesn’t taste as great .But honestly coffee is a luxury item for me. I do so many things to be frugal because I must ….. buying from thrift stores, not buying expensive household products.
      Anyone else trying to live without all the products? Such as… the tons of hair and skin care products constantly pushed on us… scented candles, air fresheners, the “wipes” for every situation imaginable, the mops with wipes on them , etc etc. I doubt these things even existed and people lived just fine with out them back in the day……..

    • When I re-use coffee grounds to make coffee, it’s by accident. As soon as I discover the tea-looking liquid in the carafe, I know I skipped a step and forgot to put fresh grounds in. I can’t imagine using old wet grounds and fresh dry grounds to make coffee. I worry about those old wet grounds not being safe to use.

    • Collect the grounds and add them to the soil around your plants. You can also do this with egg shells (break up into small pieces first). There are many nutrients in the coffee grounds and egg shells that help the plants grow.

  • Actually bottled water still seems ridiculous to me… WHY PAY FOR SOMETHING FREE (well, that is still paid in charges), heavy when shopping, and that can be highly carcinogenic due to the material ?
    I don’t get it. We don’t live in India or Mexico ?!

    • All a person needs is one glass or bottle , and refill it from the faucet to carry with you. I remember growing up and everyone had an outside pump coming from a well of fresh sweet water…and most of the fun was pumping the handle and getting a drink before it stopped running out, cause while you pumped…everyone else was drinking it…heeee

    • I have tried filling my own bottles and the water has a funny taste to it. Any suggestions? I’ve tried different bottles ($). I like Sam’s Choice from Walmart. I guess I’ve always thought that was healthier than a Diet Coke.

      • I bought a water purifier (more than just a filter). The purifying cartridges (2) last 5-8 yrs & are $99 a set. My unit uses no electric & was about $200 to buy. I will have it forever. The company is Berkey & I get no kick back from them.

        Can’t afford one right now–do what your grandparents did–save a little at a time.

      • A water filter is a great idea. What I meant though, was when I put my own water into a store bought water bottle I thought the bottle gave the water an icky taste. I have tried several kinds of bottles and had the same results with them all.

      • I can’t remember at all where I heard this, but my understanding is that you shouldn’t reuse plastic water bottles. I have pretty much zero understanding of chemistry, but I’m sure they aren’t using the best plastic in the world to make the bottles in the first place, so I’d hate to think of what might leach out of the bottles and into your water as they age. When my aunt had breast cancer, her doctor told her that drinking bottled water that had been left in the sun (like in the car) had been linked to cancer. Again, I don’t understand how any of that molecular mumbo jumbo works, but it’s something to think about.

        Maybe I was duped by the man and it isn’t really making any difference, but I bought one of those Brita water bottles at Walmart for about $10. One filter cartridge is supposed to last about 400 refills (4 refills per day is roughly the eight 8 ounce glasses you’re supposed to drink, so that’s about 3 months for one filter). I think the bottle will probably work without a filter cartridge in it too.

        I have no advice about making the water in reused bottles taste better, except maybe to add flavoring to it (citrus juice, or Crystal Light if you don’t mind the chemicals). But the flavor would probably linger in the plastic and flavor future refills too, whether you want it or not :-)

      • I am very sensitive to one-use plastic. My inner lips and tip of tongue swell and feel sore when I reuse a water bottle. My doctor said she never reuses one use plastic, never puts
        anything plastic in her microwave; and tries to avoid any plastic in her kitchen. Dee

      • I bought an individual water bottle at Walmart for $10. It is safe plastic and has a filter that you replace every 2-3 months. I just fill it with tap water. It really works.

      • Are you re-using bottles that were purchased with water in them or using something like a Nalgene bottle that is made to be refilled over and over? There are all sorts of great water bottles out there that are made to be reused – something like a Nalgene may cost a little upfront, but are super durable and can be cleaned and refilled thousands of times.

      • I like to drink water from glass – not plastic. Here is a great bottle that I use. It is durable and will last indefinitely.
        I use filtered water and it is simple to carry with me. You can google to find a lid that fits a standard canning jar, which converts it into a water bottle. I refuse to pay for bottled water. You don’t know what you’re getting anyway, and plastic is not good.
        Most of these ideas are already being implemented at my home. It is how I was brought up anyhow.

      • Thank you for all the great replies. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on the bottles that are meant to be refilled. I’ll try these suggestions. I like to carry water in my purse to public events like programs and church b/c sometimes I get a tickle in my throat. It sure isn’t b/c I’m trying to be cool. Thanks again! p.s. My dearly departed loved ones would roll over in their graves if they knew we buy bottled water!

    • Bottled water is not regulated like the public water systems are–can’t imagine how people (including me) would scream if we had to pay as much for the water coming from our tap as people pay for bottled water.

      • Tap water is regulated by the EPA, and bottled water is indeed regulated, but by the FDA.

    • I agree Why people buy bottled water is beyond me.It’s expensive (here in Australia) and what’s wrong with tap water? I think it just became ‘trendy’ to be seen with a bottle of water in your hand .Who knows. I am 66yrs old and drink tap water. Go figure * So many things people buy these days is not because they are ‘ time poor ‘( an excuse) it’s the ‘ can’t be bothered ‘ attitude.
      This was a really good Post Thanks :D

    • I don’t use bottled water myself, but if I lived where my father does (in Illinois) I would. The water is not drinkable, even with a house filter. It is not just the taste. There is some oily slime that rises to the top if it sits too long (like the dog’s water dish or the toilet). City claims it is the pipes. I don’t know, but I don’t know anyone in the town that drinks the water or uses it for much of anything. Even taking a shower – you just don’t feel clean. My dad has a water service (brings those big jugs of water), rather than individual plastic bottles.

      • It sounds like the city’s water wells are getting crude oil leaching into them and they don’t know how to filter it.

  • I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love love loved this post! It is a great display of everyday ideas that can be easily implemented into our lives, but it brought back a tidal wave of memories of visitng to my grandparents in the summer!

  • love this article……we try to still do most of those things……my mom who is now 82 continues to hang all of her clothes on the clothesline…God forbid if it rains too much and she has to use the dryer…..nothing can beat sheets that were dried by the sunshine :)

  • Thanks for the excellent reminders! I am already doing some of these things, but the best for me has been making my own cleaning products. As just one example, it cost me around $30 to purchase the items needed to make your recipe for laundry powder. I made a batch last November and I’m just now getting to the bottom of the bucket. I used to spend $15 per month on a bottle of Tide, and my clothes are just as clean now. (In fact, I think the homemade detergent works better on my son’s dirty baseball pants!) I’m saving money, using better ingredients… and that’s just one little change!

  • Thanks for reminding me. While I still practice some of these old ways of being green, I think it’s great to remind us that there were and still are people who are frugal and satisfied with what they have.

  • And my kids just thought I did some of these because they think our family is poor. Ha! Nope! It’s called taking care and preserving what you have. Thanks Jillee!

  • It is great to be reminded that these things that
    some people do out of neccessity used to be a way
    of life. It seems, these days, these are practiced by
    the “green” and poor.

  • Echoing Rebecca B, my mom would always make her grocery list on the back of an envelope. Birthday present wrap was the colored Sunday comics and my parents told us “no” when there wasn’t money for an activity, instead of going into debt.

  • I remember how much fun it was going to gramma’s. We didn’t necessarily go places, except the occasional matinee, (never bought snacks at the theater, neither do I) and we always played games in the evening. Gram was a great card player, (bridge) till she passed. She had a note paper pile made from the backs of recycled envelopes that she got in the mail.

    • Popped corn from a cast iron skillet beats ANY microwave popcorn you can buy in the store. And for some reason..it taste better the next day.
      I don’t understand it..back in the day, we smoked,drank water from the garden hose,rode our bike or walked everywhere (without the worry of being kidnapped or molested by some pervert) found ways to entertain ourselves without electronics, went potty in the outhouse, ate veggies from the garden as we were picking them without washing them off, played outside till dark (and then played hide and seek in the dark) got sunburned, had class outside when school started up and it was hot out…AND we lived through it all, healthy as ever…go figure !

      • I was talking to a man at work ( I’m mid 20’s he’s in his mid 70’s) who told me no one EVER wore suncream when he was younger. He was silent a few moments and then said “Of course I’ve had skin cancer 3 times, but they cut it right off.” and laughed. It was so funny! :p

  • I just <3 this list! Thanks for reminding us of the importance in returning to and preserving the ways of our ancestors. Technological advancements are not always "the best thing since sliced bread"…

  • I live in Europe and when we just bought our new house – it has three 10,000 Liter rain tanks buried in the ground that gets filtered but we can use the water to flush toilets, wash car, water the lawn, etc. So clever. The gutters go straight into the ground!

  • In a word… YES! I couldn’t agree more. I grew up in a remote country area, so these things were just everyday life for us, even in the 1970s-1980s.

  • From my grampa/Kaitlyn’s grampa, who was born in 1899: “Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Commonly quoted, probably, by a lot of people from his generation. It helped me get through my ex’s time in grad school, realizing how much we really did have, and thinking of my Grampa who decided not to go to law school because it was too expensive in his day.

    I’ve also been reusing cardboard boxes from groceries as organizers in my bathroom by cutting out the base. I don’t remember where on the internet I learned it, but it sure has been helpful, and I didn’t need to go buy any plastic organizers!

    • Yup – and now it’s a controlling, political movement with subversive, far-reaching implications that should be questioned at every turn. Very sad. Read Holly Swanson’s “Set Up & Sold Out: Find Out What Green Really Means.” It is an OUTSTANDING book.

      • Just requested it from my library.And I agree completely. I live in Co where ‘green’ has taken over. We can’t save groundwater. By law, once water starts falling from the sky, it falls under CO water law jurisdiction and we can be prosecuted if the ‘water police’ find out that we have a rain barrel.

      • I never heard of anything so asinine! So what about ponds, lakes, etc.? What if your pool catches water? OMG–water thief!

      • This law is not actually to punish people who are making such choices. Water law in Colorado is very regulated for a reason. There is not much water. People who have prior water rights have legal right to the water that falls as rain, snow or runoff. If you were to catch the water the falls on your roof, you would be interfering with the water right holder’s right to use the water. Lots of people reason that since it falls on my roof or runs past my house, it should be mine. That is not the way water law is set up in Colorado. If you were to take the water that runs off your roof or past your house, the downstream user may not have enough water to produce a crop. That water is already allocated to someone else, someone as close as your next door neighbor, your public water system or a strawberry grower in California. There are ways that farmers could be more conservative when it comes to irrigation practices, but please, don’t change the water law system in Colorado.Hundreds of farmers and rancher would be without their livelihood and lots of people would be without local groceries.

      • I have friends in CO that told my about the water collection regulations. Husband looked it up and it is becoming more and more prevalent in many towns or cities. Even came across it in a subdivision bylaws we had looked at. I’ve never understood how you can regulate something from nature.

  • There are many things on the list that I do, in our subdivision of over 20 homes I am the only one who has a clothes line, I hang in my basement during winter months , I can our fruit/veggies .we can learn a lot from our elders.

  • My grandparents in Latin America didn’t use plastic bags for groceries; they used reusable cloth or nylon bags for shopping at the market. With all the chic shopping bags you can buy now, why would you ever use plastic bags?

    Also, in Latin America, people often had to haul potable water, which means it didn’t get wasted. This is something I’ve resurrected living in dry Denver.

    • Fabric bags have been shown to harbor bacteria and cause foodborne illness.

      If you regularly use reusable fabric bags for your food, there are some safety issues to note.

      “The Canadian Environment and Plastics Industry commissioned a study to determine the presence of bacteria, yeasts and molds in reusable grocery sacks. The researchers reported that nearly two-thirds of the bags were contaminated with some type of germ. About 30 percent of the bags had unsafe levels of bacteria, which could promote foodborne illness. About 40 percent harbored molds and yeast that could trigger allergic reactions and infections.

      According to the researchers, reusable cloth bags could be contaminated by meat juices. The moist environment of a cloth bag after hauling fresh fruits, vegetables or frozen foods can be conducive to the growth of a variety of germs.

      In a 2011 University of Arizona study of 87 reusable bags, researchers noted a large number of bacteria in nearly all the bags and E. coli in about 8 percent of the bags. Microbiologist Chuck Gerba recommended washing the bags in hot, soapy water as a means of removing 99.9 percent of the germs.”


      My local grocery stores recycle plastic bags as well as give a 5-cent bag credit for reusing brown paper bags.

      • I never thought about that! Thank you, Stardust! I don’t use those fabric bags, anyway, but I definitely won’t now.

        I guess you could wash them every time you use them…but that contradict the whole “Eco-Friendly” stuff.

      • There is nothing wrong with reusable bags. One load of laundry compared to a LIFETIME of plastic in the world that uses petroleum/fossil fuels? Go grocery shopping once per month, and wash them that one time after grocery shopping. When you make 3-4 trips /month to the grocery store and use plastic “just-because-they-can-be-recycled”, it is more harmful than conserving gas/energy & resources by using cloth bags. The shopping cart you put your food in BEFORE you buy it is contaminated with tons of bacteria & viruses. Do you wash your box of cereal before grabbing it to pour in your bowl? Worry about building up your immune system by avoiding harmful chemicals & food additives, use what you have and quit the “so-in-so-research said” about viruses and bacteria to weigh your case against using reusable bags!

      • Self-righteous much? Not all of us can only make 1 trip a month to the grocery store due to lack of funds, storage space, etc.

        Let’s see…do I reuse my plastic grocery bags for liners for my trash containers, emptying the litter box, carrying school lunches, in the care for emergency ‘galoshes’, to use as a trash container when someone throws up on the floor or do I donate them to my library to give to patrons who have ‘too many books’ to carry?

        Or do I purchase liners to use for my trash containers, emptying the litter box, paper bags to school lunches (for field trips when they cannot take their reusable lunch bags) or to give to the library?

      • Thank you…..some one else that sees that we are killing our immune systems…..

      • I very much agree with Mellisa. Good common sense. Paranoia is not good for ones overall health.

      • I have three words for you – Washer and Dryer. They are fabric, aren’t they – most intelligent people would be able to figure out when the bags need to be cleaned. The only issue really would be with meat, but there are plastic bags in the stores to put them into, to protect your fabric grocery bag from any of the meat “juice”.

        I am sorry, but post like that really annoy me.

      • I have to agree with you on the annoying part, you can’t please everybody all the time but you can use a little common sense. We talk about carbon footprint, recycling, etc, and yet we continue to use all this plastic crap…..just the other day I watched a news clip that talked about something as simple as the microbeads in our body wash and face wash that is ending up in the bodies of water and therefore getting into the stomachs of the fish in these bodies of water….what goes around comes around. Many times I have said I wish things were as simple as they use to be……

      • @Silverdust
        I am sure the Plastics Industry has “totally unbiased” view about the conclusions they make from their studies. Also, isn’t that why you wash your fabric bag from time to time? You don’t leave your groceries in your bags for a week (or do you?) and when bags are hung out to dry, it eliminates the moist environment.

      • Put the meat into plastic bags. You should be washing produce before you eat it. Everything else has germs on it anyway. Boxes, cans, and bottle have been handled by multiple people before you even get it home. Do you wash those before you use them? I doubt it.

        Exposure to everyday germs is what builds your immune system.

        “The Canadian Environment and Plastics Industry” is really going to be unbiased. Right.

      • I used to wash my cloth bags religiously, but since I wash my produce in acidulated water (little vinegar in it), carefully handle all packaged goods, I am not so particular any more. I still will not let my unbagged produce be put on a dirty conveyor at the checkout.

        We grew up quite poor…or so my miserly father led us to believe….and Mother’s motto was: USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE IT DO OR DO WITHOUT. I also love to see something and try to figure out how I can make it cheaper. I have a decorator friend like that and we have a great time coming up with our own solutions or duplicates.

      • Please note, the study on plastic bags outlining the “dangers” of using cloth shopping bags, was paid for by the Plastics Industry. Before making a decision to reject a common sense idea, follow the money. I for one will continue to use reusable grocery bags.

      • Well, I guess I’m old enough to be some of you youngsters’ grandparent. We did a lot of “green” stuff when I was growing up in the 50’s because that’s what my parents did in the depression and after. I’m sure generations before them did also. I did all these 17 things along with many others. It was a way of life for me that I still do. I’d have to think about what I do that would be weird to you that have lived nothing but a city life. One that wasn’t mentioned was having a compost pile going all the time to put your kitchen waste in so it will compost back to dirt and use it on the garden. There’s an art to it, though, you don’t just dump junk on top of the ground. Look it up if you want to do it right.
        Another is have cats outside to catch the mice before they got into the house. We also set traps inside to catch the ones that did get in. We never used poisons. We used boric acid under the kitchen cabinets so insect pests would get killed by it, but not be a concern for children. We turned off the lights in a room when we weren’t in it. We didn’t heat rooms that nobody lived in. We opened the windows in the good weather at night to freshen the house and stay cool, sometimes closing them in the morning for half the day to keep cool longer. We burned our trash paper if it was messy. Newspapers got used to start the woodstove, mulch the garden, pack boxes for shipping or whatever we could repurpose them for. We didn’t throw anything away unless it really didn’t have another use. The dumps weren’t filled up. In fact, when we went there only a few times a year, we usually found some kind of useful thing that someone else disposed of, took it home and made good use of it. Today that’s called recyling or repurposing. We just used it.

      • I also forgot to mention we had a well that wasn’t good for drinking, but we also had a cistern my dad dug, concreted and built a filter for from gravel, sand, and charcoal. It also had another filter block wall in the center of it before we pumped out our drinking water. When we first started it he poured a gallon of bleach into about a thousand gallons of water caught off the roof, after letting the rain wash off the dirt before diverting to the cistern filter box. We used a wringer washer, heating water in a copper boiler over a gas campstove. That didn’t waste water. I didn’t the wringing, being thankful for not having to do it by hand. Then hang out everything on multiple clotheslines. Life is easier today, more wasteful and we are weaker from not working hard. We didn’t go to gyms or run for miles. We WORKED–all day and up until sundown and was grateful to sit down to eat together a good meal and kick back to watch some tv before going to bed. Forgot to mention the outhouse. It composted over time, didn’t stink if you limed it. Even took a shower outside in the summer with the water hose.

      • We also didn’t have swimming pools, we swam in the quarry or in the creeks. No clorine poisoning that way. Part of our land was pasture and we also raised our own hay. A large garden took up yard space so we didn’t waste gas on mowing much. Horse manure was composted and used on the garden. Mom didn’t take me anywhere, I rode my bike or my horse. I worked my first job at 11 yrs. old cleaning the church and basement for $7/wk. I also didn’t get lessons, I taught myself to play piano when done cleaning. I didn’t have a piano at home.

      • oh don’t forget….drank from the water hose and we are still alive …..as well as rode in the back of pickup trucks, rode bikes without a helmet…..I remember picking up potatoes just after my grandfather plowed the field, wipe it on my jeans and take a big bite…..my Grandma use to say, God made dirt, dirt won’t hurt…..although now days I worry because of all the crap we put in the dirt.

      • Your upbringing sounds very much like mine with riding in the backs of trucks, drinking from the water hose, etc. We played outside constantly, and I don’t remember being hot like I get when I step outside now. It seemed every yard in our rural area had huge shade trees, and in the two-story farm houses that were typical of where I grew up, the heat rose to the second floor in the summer, so the downstairs was cool without air conditioning.

      • We also grew up that way. It wasn’t being ‘green’ or even ‘money saving’. It was just what we did. Never had a nice day without laundry hanging out to dry, and we too used the newspapers for everything under the sun. Us kids would draw pictures with crayons, and we would use it for wrapping paper. The ‘store’ wrapping paper was used for gifts outside the family. Now that I’m an adult, I realize we were probably poor back then, but we didn’t know it. We just did what everybody did.

      • Oldtimer – I may not be in your ‘age group’ but I am totally with you. I am shocked and disgusted by the waste I see today. The attitude of ‘because I want it!’. And it’s not just kids, I see so many adults buy *things* because they CAN and not because they NEED. I’m not going to get on my high horse and spout off about what I do or don’t do but I will say that I completely agree with you and wish people would consider the implications of what they are doing more. My motto is ‘it’s function, not fashion’. The world’s resources won’t last forever at the rate the average individual is consuming. You are awesome and thank you for your views!

      • This study was done by the plastic industries. Hmmmm that just said enough. They are not going to compromise there product. Cloth bags don’t end up in the ocean like plastic ones and destroy aquatic wildlife litter our beaches But that is just my way of loving our earth

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