What Would Grandma Do?

My grandma Helen was an amazingly strong woman. I was fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with her growing up and she made a huge impression on me. When I was in the 7th grade I wrote a biography about her life. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) there are many things Grandma did that match the zero waste lifestyle I strive for today.

Like most kids born in the earlier 1900s Helen grew up on a farm. The farm had an apple orchard, cow pasture, vegetable garden, flower garden, and a barn with cows, chickens, pigs and cats. Her mother made lots of things; clothing, wines, jellies, breads, pies, canned meats & canned veggies. She used the streetcar to go to the library and checked out tons and tons of books.

When I would visit Grandma she would wash her clothes by hand and hang the items out on the line to dry. We would leave out our left over food scraps for the birds, squirrels, and the woodchuck. Her main cleaning supplies were vinegar and baking soda and after washing dishes we used the waste water to help water the plants in the garden. Grandma saved everything; pie pans, paper bags, and glass jars. Old clothes were used for rags or for making quilts.

I like to think if Grandma were still alive I could learn and share zero waste tips with her. Thanks Grandma feel being a strong role model!

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