Growing up, I had one foot in a life lived from a bygone era and the other in the more modern convenience / consumer driven, plastic, frozen food and boxed meals era.
The bygone era was that of my grandparents, with whom I happily spent so much time with. My grandfather (or papa or poppy as I called him) knew how to grow anything, and, he and my dad could build pretty much anything from their garage-turned-wood working workshop.
In my grandparent's backyard I remember the vegetable patches my papa created. He grew squash, green beans, pumpkins (including those cute little pumpkins), watermelon - he was from the south after all, and so many tomatoes! I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember.
I do remember all the fruit trees; plum, fig, avocado, tangerine, lemon and orange. Now, only the orange and lemon trees remain. My grandparent's house (which is now my house) was built in 1947 and is small or modest in size - well, at least by today's standards - at 1,100 sq ft. The kitchen had hardly any counter space, the bulk of it taken up by the microwave. Something I always thought was strange since cooking at home for families was the norm. As far as I know, families hardly ate out in the 50's and 60's. The bathroom and closets also were small. Seriously small. The backyard space, however, is twice the size of the house. Perhaps a sign of what was prioritized back then.
Of course, at the time I took it all for granted. It was a normal way of life. If something broke, they fixed it. Or my grandma sewed it. They knew how. I also took for granted that way of life would flow into my adult life. Not so much, at least in my twenties.
Many years later, the rise of Starbucks, Amazon, the Keurig coffee makers, styrofoam takeout containers, those roundish colorful mesh bath poufs that paired oh-so-well with the shower gel in equally fun and colorful plastic bottles filled with the plastic microbeads - just to name a few of our everyday modern living trends.
Slowly, I started seeing the wasteful byproduct of our lives. And yes, of course, I'm guilty of supporting all of those things at one time or another. Or all at once.
Then I made small changes in my lifestyle. I got a reusable coffee mug for all those at breaktime-at-work Starbucks runs. A resuable coffee filter (I've included a link for one at Target for reference, and similar to one I use. Each coffee maker may vary in size). I even began using bamboo toothbrushes. Okay, somehow I fell out of that habit, need to get back on that one! Also, bamboo toothbrushes are way easier - and cheaper - to now than when I began using them. Of course, reusable bags are a must when I grocery shop. I even have those mesh vegetable bags. But, somehow I keep leaving those at home. Something I definitely need to work on. And I have ways to go.
It's a journey. It's a practice.
We buy what is sold to us, what has been heavily marketed to us by corporations telling us we need it all. All the heavily packaged convenience. For our uber-busy lives. Now this excessive waste has become the the consumer's responsibility.
Honestly, it makes me angry and It is exhausting.