The message of reuse is still not getting through

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

I have written about this problem of how people do not seem to understand the principle of reuse many times already and that even if the message is printed large on the wrapper of the box. 

Only the other day in my work (I am a groundsman in a municipal park in my general life) a plastic box from muffins that is intended to be reused as a storage box, sandwich box, box for storage of leftovers in the fridge, or whatever tickles your fancy, thrown into the bin. Nothing wrong with it and the label on it actually states “reusable”. Needless to say that I rescued said box and it will be reused/used.

The origin of the box, despite having removed the wrapper without thinking, has been located with a little research on the Internet and is from Island (no, not the country but the store) and from Choc Chip Muffins of their Brompton House range, and the message of reuse is relatively big printed on it. 

However, it really would appear that some people, even when the reuse message, and even suggestions for reuse, are printed on the wrapper or the box itself, as is the case with some, unfortunately still do not get the message. 

When I was growing up, for some reason, the great majority of the people had a mindset that was looking for a reuse potential in most packaging, whether glass jars, tin cans, boxes of various kinds, and so on. Now the majority seem to have but one mindset, namely that of “toss out”. 

But, as I have written before, this is by far the first, and I am sure also will not be the last, of such cases. There have been incidences where entire new picnic sets, with real cutlery, bought on the day from IKEA have been thrown, in the IKEA bag with the receipt even in the bag, into the bin. Well, they were dirty and what is one to do with dirty dishes but to thrown them. 

It totally beggars belief that, if not for the environment then for their own pocketbooks, such things should not be tossed out. As my dear old Grandpa always said, “we'll reuse the things because we have paid for them when we bought the things in them”. 

We did not have to be told that a container, in those days mostly metal, that had biscuits (cookies) in them could be reused as a cookie tin. It was obvious. And they were reused not just for cookies. Grandma had her sewing stuff in one, something else in another and yet something different in yet another. 

Smaller glass jars of all kinds were reused for drinking vessels, especially for us clumsy kids, because glasses were expensive, as far as our parents and grandparents were concerned, for us to drop and break them. If we broke a “drinking” jar there always was another one. Larger glass jars, especially with screw tops, because storage jars. And so on and so forth. Today, it would appear, people need YouTube videos with instructions to, maybe, get the idea of how to reuse glass jars and other things. 

For some reason, even without a message printed on the packaging, such as boxes, glass jars, etc., we knew, when I was a child, how to make use of those things that came with most of things that we bought in such a way, and that even included tin cans.

When it came to tin can our family used to make things from them for resale on the markets even and people indeed would buy them. And our family was not the only one and we can still find this in many other countries.

The mindset of those days and years seems to have disappeared, in Britain at least, somewhere in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the disposable economy, for lack of a better word, came into force. 

Even though the message is repeated time and again the how to knowledge seems to be lacking today as it has disappeared, it would appear, through lack of use. Time to go back to the future. 

© 2022