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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Recycling, yesterday

Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011, at 11:26 AM

We hear a lot about recycling.

And saving energy, too.

Things are different today than they were once upon a time.

Remember when we washed cloth baby diapers and hung them on the clotheslines to dry. Wind and sun dried all our clothes.

We didn't buy throwaway diapers (or ink pens or throw-a-way plastic razors)

We sterilized glass baby bottles and used them again and again. And we did recycle soda bottles and milk bottles by taking them back to the stores for a small refund.

We recycled clothes, too.

Our kids wore hand-me-downs, not designer new clothes..After they outgrew an outfit, it was passed down to a brother or sister or cousin.

We had one radio or one television set. If we were among the few who had a television, the black and white screen was, maybe, 19 inches, not the size of a mattress, in high definition..

We walked a lot or rode bicycles. We were lucky to have one car or truck, unlike today where there are two, three or four vehicles for family members. Elevators and escalaters were almost non existent..In my hometown, we used the stairs.

We wrote letters. There were no home computers and emails.. And there was one black telephone for the entire family; no cells.

We used push mowers to mow the yard, not powered mowers that use gasoline.

We dried our hair with a towel, not a hair dryer. And we washed our dishes by hand and dried them with a dish cloth, not in a dishwasher.

We washed our clothes in a wringer washing machine, using tubs of rinse water.

New homes had one electric outlet in each room, not an outlet on each wall.

We have so many conveniences nowadays. In the kitchen we have toasters, electric blenders, can openers, toaster ovens, coffee makers, electric skillets, microwaves, and garbage disposals. And they use electric energy to operate.

We stirred our homemade cakes by hand, rather than by an electric mixer.

We didn't buy bottled water or prepackaged foods. We canned fruits and vegetables from the home garden.

We used straw brooms and string mops to clean our floors. Today there are numerous vacuum cleaners, electric mops and buffers.

Our groceries were sacked in paper sacks, not plastic. I suppose plastic sacks are recycled but the only thing I see consumers using them for is garbage can liners. But that's a form of recycling, too.

Rural Arkansas magazine gives great tips for saving energy.

Turn down the thermostat. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you will save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

In summertime, close the blinds and curtains to block and reflect the sun's heat from entering the house.

In wintertime, let the sunshine in during the day; close draperies at night.

Caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.

Seal the ductwork. Seal every joint. Doug Rye, a columnist for Rural Arkansas, says that "almost every house that has central heating and cooling also has leakage in the ductwork." Some homes have as much as 25 percent leakage, and that's a serious problem," he says.

Insulate the attic if the insulation is six inches or less.

Change the furnace filter every month. A dirty or clogged filter will use more energy. (I keep forgetting to change mine.)

Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL's (compact fluorescent lamps). They last longer and use less electricity.

With normal use, they typically last 13 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Yes, they cost more, initially.

In summertime, close off fireplace dampers.

It's true that newer large appliances are more efficient than those of old.

When buying large appliances, choose those that are energy efficient because they use less electricity..

After saying all this, I have to say that I enjoy all the modern appliances and conveniences.

The old way was sometimes difficult.

But it's a good thing to stop and consider the way it was, yesterday.

Labor Day, which celebrates the working man, has come and gone. Now our attention turns to those who aren't working, the unemployed who are seeking work in order to pay their bills and put food on the table..

Speaking of that, did you know that the current salary for rank-and-file members of Congress is $174,000 yearly?

Party leaders, majority and minor, are paid $193,400.

The average salary of a teacher is $40,065.

And the average salary of a soldier deployed in Afghanistan is $38,000.

And NFL quarterback Peyton Manning earns $23 million yearly.

Makes you think, doesn't it?



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