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Life before plastic

(103 Posts)
crystaltipps Fri 19-Apr-19 14:53:44

In an effort to cut down on plastic I’ve gone back to bar soap and bar shampoo and conditioner plus washing powder in a cardboard box. We were chatting and trying to remember what items used to come in before the ubiquity of plastic- did people have washing up liquid? Did people have washing up bowls? What about cosmetics? What was life like before plastic took over? Can we escape it?

rockgran Fri 19-Apr-19 15:23:42

In the 1950s our washing up bowl was enamel but I think there was Fairy washing up liquid. Glass bottles were used for many of the things that are now in plastic. Also there was much less packaging. If you bought something in a shop the assistant wrapped it in brown paper and string or popped it in a small paper bag. Many items were refillable. My Saturday job in an ironmonger's shop in 1962 involved refilling paraffin cans from a tap. (Everyone seemed to have an Aladdin paraffin heater.)

ReadyMeals Fri 19-Apr-19 15:27:15

I remember how excited my mother was when she got her first "polythene" washing up bowl. Until then she'd been using an enamel one with Tide detergent to wash dishes. Within days she'd managed to melt the edge of it, putting the roasting tin in it too soon after taking it out of the oven. Obviously we were not very experienced with the properties of plastic in those early days :D

Wheniwasyourage Fri 19-Apr-19 15:46:56

Interesting to see bar soap coming back, and bar shampoo as well. I've always used soap for hand and face washing but have now tried bar shampoo, and it seems to do the job. I do remember when it became illegal to put shampoo & shower gel into glass bottles, presumably because of the horrible accidents people could have with broken bottles in the shower.

kittylester Fri 19-Apr-19 15:55:44

I have noticed some refill pouches in Sainsbury's but aren't they plastic as well?

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 16:00:25

I've never stopped using bar soap. It's nice to see it coming back, meaning there's now more choice.

Looking back, I suppose many more food items came in paper packaging, such as fruit and veg, and there wasn't the selection of processed foods available today to fill the world with plastics.

My mum had an enamel bowl for washing up - family lore has it that my sister once hit my brother over the head with it, which did him a certain amount of damage!

My mum would buy shampoo in sachets, I don't know if they were paper or what. Dad used a razor with replaceable razor blades and shaving soap in a dish with a brush. My mum had a metal powder compact & lipstick.

janeainsworth Fri 19-Apr-19 16:02:18

I’m not sure what the problem is with shampoo or laundry detergent or milk in plastic bottles.
All those are recycled by our council.

What annoys me is unnecessary plastic packaging on foods. I try to buy loose produce and meat whenever I can, but our local Co-op, which I like to support, is a convenience store and nearly everything is wrapped.

My last copy of the RHS Garden magazine came in an envelope made of compostable potato starch, instead of a plastic wrapper.
Small steps do help, I think.

Daddima Fri 19-Apr-19 16:03:25

Our dishes were washed in Daz ( in the sink) then came Squezy. My mother worked in a grocer’s, and I remember her bringing a sample from a ‘ traveller’, as sales reps were called. Another highlight was a sample box of fish fingers!

Every mum had a shopping bag, and string bag for potatoes. Brown paper and newspaper were used for wrapping, then burnt on the fire. Milk bottles were put on the doorstep, and lemonade bottles back to the shop ( for 3d, if I remember correctly)

BlueBelle Fri 19-Apr-19 16:08:21

My daughter and myself have just got some fine net bags to use for either loose fruit and veg or for putting clothes in which I hate the way they hand you a nice new top or bra to be put in your shopping bag with all your other purchases They are really nice
I ve gone onto bar soap, and am making ecobricks out of my plastic wrappings I don’t buy carrier bags but always walk with a few canvas or clothe bags I m trying to think of as many things as I can to change I wish the supermarkets sold much more loose fruit and veg I like Primarks paper bags policy

gillybob Fri 19-Apr-19 16:15:17

I agree with janea it’s not the plastic bottles, it’s the damned plastic that everything seems to be wrapped in . I have noticed that my local Morrison’s have done away with plastic bags in their fruit/veg dept and have replaced them with brown paper bags . My WI magazine comes in a fully compostable bag too .

MiniMoon Fri 19-Apr-19 16:27:42

I always use my crocheted shopping bag, it's light and stretchy and carries all manner of things. I crocheted several and have them away to friends and relatives.
I worked in a grocery store at the end of the sixties. We wrapped the produce in greaseproof paper and then in a paper bag, bacon, ham, cooked meat etc. The huge blocks of cheese came in waxed paper.
Remember paper carrier bags? My wedding dress came from the shop in tissue paper, a cardboard box, and a paper carrier bag.
I too remember taking the lemonade bottle back to the shop and getting the 3d deposit.

rosecarmel Fri 19-Apr-19 16:46:02

Some food was canned in either metal or glass - Fresh fruits and vegetables were loose, weighed at the register - Berries were usually in paper containers - Meats from the butcher were wrapped in paper - There were wood barrels with lids for pickles and for live snails - Cellophane and waxed paper were used for packaging along with cardboard - Grocery bags were made of sturdy paper -

Whitewavemark2 Fri 19-Apr-19 17:00:43

Vegetables weren’t wrapped in anything. You just opened your bag and the assistant popped or poured it in from the scales, like potatoes or carrots, onions or apples etc.

LullyDully Fri 19-Apr-19 17:17:25

Biscuits were in a glass topped tin in front of the counter. They were weighed into paper bags. ( and you could buy broken oned )

. Hot cross buns were for Easter and crumpets came in the paper bags of course.

janeainsworth Fri 19-Apr-19 17:22:08

Gilly at my nearest Morrison’s at Cowgate you can take your own washable plastic containers to have your meat and fish put into.

agnurse Fri 19-Apr-19 17:25:07

Back in the day all IV fluids came in glass bottles. (This was before my time but I once had been given some old nursing books that showed glass IV bottles.) There are a few IV products that do still come in glass bottles because plastic can cause issues with them - we have to use special IV tubing for them.

Syringes were glass and metal, and I am told that one of the nurse's responsibilities was to sharpen the needles as they would be sterilized and reused!!!

gillybob Fri 19-Apr-19 17:28:35

Oh what a great idea *janea I must ask at the one close to where I work . I was wondering how they manage with weights but I suppose they just zero the scale once the container is on it ( as I would do at home). I tend to shop there before work or during lunch and pop whatever I buy in the fridge at work . Having meat or fish in a proper container would be so much better . I do like Morrison’s fish counters .

ReadyMeals Fri 19-Apr-19 17:41:30

Unfortunately you have to remember that a fair amount of energy goes into recycling plastics, so it's not a panacea. I think plastics are brilliant - but for situations where something long-lasting and waterproof is required such as pool liners or damp proof membranes in buildings. Or household buckets. Not for temporary packaging that is intended to be discarded.

Grammaretto Fri 19-Apr-19 17:42:20

Does anyone else remember glass baby feeding bottles. My DM had to put my baby brother on the bottle and we big girls helped to sterilize them in the pressure cooker. He survived!
I am guilty if being thrilled when plastic carrier bags replaced paper ones because the paper ones so often burst especially if something inside had leaked.
However there is no excuse to use plastic these days with so many sturdy shopping bags around.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 17:56:52

^If you bought something in a shop the assistant wrapped it in brown paper and string^%
My MIL worked in a department store and she was an expert at wrapping things in brown paper and string.
Now even some wrapping papers are plasticised and can't be recycled.

I think the worst thing is the demise of the glass milk bottle and the introduced of those large plastic containers - all controlled by supermarket big business who have driven the demise of the milk deliveries and brought many dairy farmers to the edge of despair.

Gonegirl Fri 19-Apr-19 18:32:54

I don't think we will ever be able to do without plastic completely. The important thing is to make it recyclable.

Grandad1943 Fri 19-Apr-19 18:34:28

I do remember the brown paper carrier bags that always had the bottom split apart halfway back from the shops.

I certainly hope they are not coming back. confused

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 18:57:36

Agnurse when I worked in a hospital pharmacy in the 70's, they made all IV fluids in a separate department. We also made most of our own medicines, ointments and injections in-house.

Our Tesco will pack any loose butcher/fish/deli items in your own packaging.

Maggiemaybe Fri 19-Apr-19 19:21:46

There have always been dairy farms and milkmen/women round here, and we've always had doorstep deliveries, in glass bottles. I've never used shower gel or soap dispensers either, always preferred a simple bar of soap. I still use washing powder in cardboard boxes. I've always been an old-fashioned girl but seem to be on trend now. grin

I had a stand off in a local fruit shop many years ago when they moved from tipping your loose fruit into your own bag onto insisting that we used a separate plastic bag for each type of fruit or veg. I lost - they wouldn't let me buy without the bags so I left all my would be purchases with them and never went back. It's about time stores became more aware - recycling is good, but it's much better not to waste the resources in the first place.

Bathsheba Fri 19-Apr-19 19:33:31

I remember punnets for strawberries, etc, woven from very thin balsa wood. The punnet was filled and then put in a brown paper bag, and placed carefully on top of all the other firmer fruit and veg in the shopping bag - none of the potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, oranges etc. were ever wrapped, just tipped into the shopping bag.

Tomatoes would be in a brown paper bag, as would mushrooms (if you were extravagant enough to buy them in those days!). And the shopping bags were either wicker baskets, or woven from strong raffia, used over and over again for years.

Even eggs were often sold by the half dozen and placed in a paper bag, then transferred to a bowl in the pantry at home.

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 19:47:52

Those punnets found a new life later on as dollies beds, car garages, miniature houses and all sorts, when we were children, as did the cardboard boxes the groceries came in. The wholesale Egg Board boxes were the best, large enough for both my brother & me to get into at once and very sturdy.

I was using a Tupperware pot today and as I had it in my hand I saw that on the bottom it said Made in Great Britain. I shudder to think how old it must be but it still does the job!

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 19:54:03

I like soap too but I do use shampoo in plastic bottles. What are the bar soaps like - do they make unmanageable hair even more unmanageable?

Eggs were collected from the farm (by me, from the hens) then each carefully wrapped in newspaper and brought home in Mum's and my bicycle baskets.

We've got our long life canvas bags now, to carry the shopping home, Grandad, but they do seem to have a plastic lining!

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 19:54:26

I meant bar shampoos

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 19:55:11

I even made my own 'perfume' from rose petals from the garden.
It stank.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 19-Apr-19 20:03:44

Remember when plastic first came out though? We thought it was wonderful. With packets of wash powder plastic tulips were given away. Sister and I arranged them in a vase. When DH and his brother were young they fought with them, pretending they were swords!
I've gone back to bars of soap now.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 20:05:11

Oh, those awful plastic flowers, yes, I remember them!!

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 20:08:16

I've been using the shampoo bars for a couple of years now and really like them. I use a bar conditioner, too, which I was dubious about, but it works well.

They're really handy for going on holiday as they weigh very little compared to bottles and aren't liquid so you can take them in hand luggage.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 20:08:54

I will look for some (but where? we have very limited shops here)

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 20:20:26

You can get them online. Lush sell them, and online shopping has the advantage of not having to brave the pong in the shops! If you Google you'll probably find small producers, too.

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 20:22:26

Thank you

Maggiemaybe Fri 19-Apr-19 22:59:54

Friendly shampoo bars are a fraction of the price of Lush and just as good, imho. £2.62 a bar and they last for ages.

Maggiemaybe Fri 19-Apr-19 23:01:47

And they're SLS free as well. smile

Callistemon Fri 19-Apr-19 23:02:56

Thanks Maggiemaybe - I love the smell of lavender and geranium combined.

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 23:41:01

Thank you for that link, Maggiemaybe. I'm sitting on my hands here trying not to order the entire collection of soap! grin

JackyB Fri 19-Apr-19 23:49:58

When we all went 'eco' back in the eighties, people tried to get their meat, cheese and cold cuts in containers they had brought with them but were refused for reasons of hygiene. (That was here in Germany) How is that problem dealt with now. Surely hygiene rules have got even stricter over the decades?

SueDonim Sat 20-Apr-19 00:12:40

Maybe they're realised the worries about hygiene were unfounded?

I've had reusable bags for many years. When I first started with them in the early 2000's, shops would often refuse to allow me to use my own bags, goods had to be sold in the stores own bags. M&S wouldn't allow me to use the collect by car service if I had my own bags. I'm glad that attitude had changed.

I still have and use the very first reusable bag I bought, an Onya bag. Goodness knows how many times it must have been used over the years!

BradfordLass72 Sat 20-Apr-19 05:47:04

We had a little cage on a stick and you put the ends of soaps in that and swished it around with a bit of soda or Epsom Salts to wash up.

HildaGrady Sat 20-Apr-19 06:36:05

I agree! that life was very amazing and happy with zero toxicity and global warming. Then also, I and my husband are trying our level best for reducing and replacing plastic as much possible.

Anja Sat 20-Apr-19 07:02:19

Not all recyclable plastics actually get recycled in this country even if your council ‘recycles’ it. This doesn’t necessarily mean they do it themselves but ship if off to eg China or India where it lies in huge mountains.

My niece recently visited one of these heaps in China as part of her Uni degree and sent me back photos. There, clearly shown (among other rubbish) was one of the Pedigree chum treat packets I buy fondly thinking they are being responsibly recycled in the UK. And much of this blows around into neighbouring streets turning this little Chinese town into a litter bin.

So, great, if your council genuinely recycles it’s own waste, but do check first.

And re soap...good using bars soap but check if it contains palm oil. Most sold in supermarket do.

Lovely to read so many trying to do their bit on here.

Anja Sat 20-Apr-19 07:05:11

PS it might be worth people checking out about milk deliveries as this is coming back again. I have a choice of two operating in my area. One run by the Müller Family - they of yoghurt fame.

TerriBull Sat 20-Apr-19 07:33:40

The worst! plastic wrap around cucumber, very hard to get off, I tend to have sliced cucumber in a sandwich, so buy them quite often. Not sure why it's considered necessary, courgettes aren't wrapped, and they have pretty similar skins. All fruit and veg should be loose, I never put broccoli or carrots in the little plastic bags supplied in supermarkets I find them quite superfluous,. Although I know cashiers don't like the little particles that break off broccoli on the conveyor belt, so I plonk that on top of something else till they get to the weighing machine.

gillybob Sat 20-Apr-19 08:30:56

Morrison’s have stopped wrapping their cucumbers Terribull . They seem to be taking this whole “excess packaging /plastic thing” quite seriously, which is good.

aggie Sat 20-Apr-19 08:39:16

Global warming didn't start with plastics , the first time man chopped down a tree and burnt it the rot set in .... just saying

Diggingdoris Sat 20-Apr-19 10:34:19

I remember being sent to the greengrocer with a string bag and a list. Zero packaging, for all veg. I also used to take an empty bottle to be filled with vinegar from a barrel. On the rare occasion that I was allowed a comic or Mum bought a magazine they were never in a plastic bag, but most of them are now, because they usually have half a dozen bits of advertising inside. Does anyone read these? What a waste of trees!

Kim19 Sat 20-Apr-19 10:35:30

We had the 'message' bag for all grocery type stuff and the 'potato' bag for any vegetables whatsoever. I lovingly remember my Granny telling me to 'mind the bag' every time I was sent to the shops. Think a loaf was wrapped in tissue, butter in greaseproof(?) and sugar was weighed into brown paper bags.

Callistemon Sat 20-Apr-19 10:38:34

Some eco shops stock cleaning products in bulk containers and you can go and refill your own individual containers.

Annaram1 Sat 20-Apr-19 10:42:06

I hate bar soap. It is apparently unhygienic as all the germs from your hands transfer on to it, and collect underneath in that slimy bit. When you have used about half, it is cracked and the cracks appear black and nasty looking, Then it breaks up into little bits and is unusable and wasteful. I use antibacterial liquid soap in a plastic bottle which is much more hygienic, and you can add a little water to it from time to time to make it go further. You can use it down to very last drop.
By the way don't ever burn plastic of any sort It liberates nasty chemicals into the atmosphere.

Apricity Sat 20-Apr-19 10:44:34

As we have recently discovered in Australia all those items we have conscientiously been putting in our recycle bins have just been shipped overseas for alleged recycling in China and other countries until they finally said no more. And now we have a big problem!!! To use a good old Aussie phrase, we are up shit creek without a paddle.

Basically we have been dumping our rubbish in someone else's backyard. To our very great shame we do not have a functional recycling system, a recycling industry or governmental policies to minimise waste and support and encourage recycling industries.

Hm999 Sat 20-Apr-19 10:45:07

I remember dry shampoo in a paper sachet, that you added water to and swished about in a cup, before wet washing your hair

MargaretinNorthant Sat 20-Apr-19 10:54:02

Just had my Sainsbury's delivery. Would you believe one large very flimsy plastic bag ...contents a book of stamps. I give up.

Sashabel Sat 20-Apr-19 10:58:19

I recently had a grocery delivery from the UK's largest supermarket who were advertising that their fruit and veg would be packaged in a paper bag from now on - s great step forward. When my shopping arrived I was pleased to see that there was a paper bag amongst the groceries bursting with the fresh produce, but on closer inspection each item was encased in its own plastic bag and then put in the paper bag. I had not ordered any item that was pre-packed deliberately to (I had hoped) cut back on the use of plastic. I had one paper bag with 7 plastic bags inside it. Unbelievable!!

David1968 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:06:51

In some areas it's still possible to have milk delivered in glass bottles - we've had this for years, and the milk comes from a "proper" farm (with outside cows) not so far away. Yes, it costs more than "supermarket milk", but we think that it's worth it, for the environment.

Margs Sat 20-Apr-19 11:07:10

Grandad1943 - yes, those brown paper carrier bags really were worse than useless. You couldn't use them on a rainy day because they acted like blotting paper, hence purchases falling out through a split in the bottom and the string handles cut off all circulation in your fingers!

I'd like to see our self-righteous ExtinctionRebellion "eco-warriors" cope getting their shopping home in half a dozen of those......

Legs55 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:34:08

I have my milk delivered in glass bottles by a local dairy but Milk & More also will deliver in glass, Farm Shops also have milk in glass bottles.

I've used hessian/cloth bags for many years. When DD was young & I had no car I used a large basket when I went shopping. If I have a Home Delivery from a Supermarket I request no carrier bags.

I get most of my fruit & veg from local shop which uses (mainly) paper bags or just put it in my bag loose or I use Veg box delivery, loose or in cardboard very little plastic & that is usually recyclable (I uses mine for any food waste which my Council sends to an Anaerobic Digestion Plant)

Megs36 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:38:24

I remember in the 40s my mother used to put a hand full of washing soda in the bowl and boiling water from the kettle to wash up. Also soda went in the laundry AND the bath. Everyone survived but I sure wouldn't want to do that now.😑😑😑

LynnKnowles Sat 20-Apr-19 12:00:27

Many of us will remember getting money back on pop bottles. Incentives like that certainly helped. A way of adding to the pocket money. When the ice cream man came around it was acceptable to take your own dish out to the van and he would fill it ! As children going to big parties in Community Halls/we took our own cup, plate and cutlery and you just brought them home again, wrapped in a cotton serviette ! No plastic cups/ plates. Still would prefer fish and chips wrapped on outside in newspaper- those polystyrene containers for takeaways must take up so much landfill ( and then put in a plastic carrier bag!)

Grammaretto Sat 20-Apr-19 12:00:44

What I hate are the huge plastic wheelie bins everywhere. They block the pavements and the view. We managed before their introduction. We composted everything we possibly could, including paper, and because there was less packaging and less waste although you sometimes had to jump on the bin to get the lid on, those old metal dustbins were small and convenient. Weren't they?

Bijou Sat 20-Apr-19 12:01:28

When I was a child in the 1930s washing up was done in an enamel bowl with washing soda made your hands red and sore, hair washed with Sunlight soap, floors scrubbed with Sunlight soap and wooden draining board with Vim. Washboard and soap for clothes washing. Pieces of towelling which had to be washed out instead of sanitary pads.
Shopping was done daily. Vegetables and fruit either put straight into basket or into paper carrier bags. Eggs were loose and put into paper bags. Biscuits in square tins in front of the counter. Sweets in glass jars. . You took you bottle to the greengrocers to be filled with vinegar. Milkman came round with the churn daily and you took your jug out to be filled.
Lovely crusty bread from the bakers. When my sister and I were sent for a cottage loaf the top didn’t make it home. From the age of five I was sent on errands.
My son was born in 1949 and I had to scrub the nappies on the washboard and then boil them in a bucket on the gas stove.. No synthetics all clothes were cotton or wool. No steam iron.
The other day I got some meat from the supermarket and it was shrink wrapped on a plastic tray. Took me great effort with scissors and sharp knife to get it out. I only wanted one slice so had to wrap the other in plastic to freeze it.

Saggi Sat 20-Apr-19 12:02:42

I have both soaps on my and bottle. Unfortunately I use the pump action one because I find the bar soap leaves my skin the 50’s and 60’s we had enamel wash up bowl for general cleaning around house purposes...but for actual washing up that was done in the sink because with a family of eight you could get more pots in to mum used OMO washing powder and that went for wash up as well. At the greengrocers you took your own bag with you and nothing was wrapped, just all thrown in together. Butchers next and he would wrap the Sunday joint in couple of sheets of white paper...but the blood still would deep through. Only the grocers shop had bottles/tins/ and a small amount of plastic. Even bread was wrapped in white tissue paper ...most re-useable. Nothing seemed to get wasted in our house and we only had a small metal dustbin to empty each week...never full!!

Bijou Sat 20-Apr-19 12:04:26

Forgot to say I still have my sons glass boat shaped feeding bottle.

dumdum Sat 20-Apr-19 12:09:22

Agnurse..I remember using glass syringes, used toreturn to CSSD, everything was instruments scrubbed,packed, sealed with autoclave tape, and put in huge autoclaves to be sterilised for next time. The stripes on the tape changed colour if autoclave working correctly. Then came plastic and CJD!

homefarm Sat 20-Apr-19 12:52:38

As well as all that has been mentioned, I recall the use of an awful lot of carbolic - my grandmother swore by it for just about everything, including lotion for the hair nits?

SueDonim Sat 20-Apr-19 13:02:39

Annaram1 I don't recognise your depiction of soap bars at all! What brand have you tried?

Yes, there will be bacteria in a bar of soap- we don't live in a sterile world so there are bacteria everywhere, including in liquid soaps, they are not sterile either. Soap is also the only effective cleanser to rid one's skin of norovirus, which is resistant to many cleansers.

My bar soap doesn't get slimy, or crack or go black or fall to pieces - maybe the regular usage it has keeps it in good condition.

I do have liquid soap in the cloakroom that visitors use, but only as a nod to their possible concerns about bars of soap.

hicaz46 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:07:48

Part of the trouble is we all want ‘convenience’ which is why we have supermarkets etc. If we used and encouraged small shops/traders more items would be sold loose. Eg bread, not wrapped, meat not prepackaged. We have our milk delivered in glass bottles and have a local veg box, which also includes fruit and salad. Only small steps but if we all do a little it will surely help.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:23:09

As far as I remember washing-up liquid came in at about the same time as plastic containers for it. Before that we washed up in washing powder (Surf in my childhood) or in washing soda.

Fish was wrapped in greaseproof paper and newspaper at the fishmonger's, the butcher used greaseproof paper and brown paper.

The grocer, greengrocer and baker used brown paper pokes, my sister's godmother, who was a draper, wrapped her goods in pale lilac paper tied up with paper string with the shop name stamped on it.

I'm not sure when egg-boxes arrived on the scene, but I do remember taking a pottery bowl with me to the shops to put the eggs in.

Urmstongran Sat 20-Apr-19 13:27:39

kitty I think the idea behind refillable plastic pouches of the hand soap will cut down on plastic a little bit because the gubbins of the pump (also plastic) is retained.

And regarding having bars of soap delivered - isn’t that just creating more carbon emissions to bring it to your door?

The whole subject is a minefield isn’t it? Do one (right) thing and create another (wrong) thing in the process.

I’m going for a lie down!

grandtanteJE65 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:34:31

Oh, yes glass syringes, boiled in the kitchen, when Daddy had used them. Likewise forceps and the entire contents of his Maternity bag after every confinement.

I remember as an adult asking a friend where in her fridge she kept the butter as I couldn't find it. Puzzled she replied, "In the compartment marked "butter"!" I explained that that was were my father kept the vaccines that could be kept for a while, so the family never opened it.

As the doctor's eldest I became proficient (aged 5) at re-rolling crepe and gauze bandages that had been washed and dried. The actual dressings were burnt in our Raeburn.

I have a sneaking feeling that my mother ironed the gauze bandages! I know for a fact that she ironed my sister's gauze nappies, which were used inside the terry towelling ones.

glammagran Sat 20-Apr-19 13:45:39

I remember in the 80’s you could buy milk in cartons. Now it’s all in plastic.

GrannyAnnie2010 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:50:26

Bijou - what a wonderful recollection. You transported me back 70 years!

pinkquartz Sat 20-Apr-19 14:28:56

I just checked out the Friendly soap site and placed an order. Their soaps look good to me and no plastic.
i look forward to trying them.
I used to use Pears soap all the time but after it went to India the smell changed and I din't want to use it any more. This will be a return to bar soap for me after many years of shower gel.

curlilox Sat 20-Apr-19 14:28:59

I remember going to the greengrocer's to get potatoes for Mum. I had to take an old shopping bag and after weighing the potatoes, he would tip them loose into the bag. All the shops would have several sizes of paper bag and you put your shopping into a sturdy shopping bag.

Millie22 Sat 20-Apr-19 14:30:05

We used to have our milk delivered by a lovely milkman. The milk came from the local monastery where they kept dairy cows. They closed down the dairy due to increased cost and now make beer. Our milkman retired recently so our milk now comes from the supermarket. It's a shame but things change.

pinkquartz Sat 20-Apr-19 14:37:12

I don't see having soap delivered as a set back because everything I buy has to be delivered to me. I am housebound, I live in a village and all shopping except for a few basics involves car travel or a rare bus!

Oldfossil Sat 20-Apr-19 14:37:47

Shampoo bars work very well on my (difficult) hair. There is no ‘soapy’ sticky residue at all. My hair has never looked so good. Who knew?

SueDonim Sat 20-Apr-19 14:39:12

I was a teenager when my mum got her first fridge. Even then it was one that was, as they say now, pre-loved.

I'm not that old, mid-60's, but mum had managed fine until then, I don't recall eating any rotting food! Ice cubes were such a novelty to us.

JanaNana Sat 20-Apr-19 14:45:07

We had enamel washing up bowls in my childhood, and I remember the glass bottle of Stergene (used for washing woollens) being used to wash the pots. You used to get 2d old money refunded when you took the empty bottle back, also on Domestic bottles which were dark green glass, 2d also back on those as well. Milk bottles put out on the door step to be collected when the milkman brought the next days milk. Rag and bone men used to come around from time to time, and as well as collecting old clothes would take jam jars and give you about 3d for about six jars. As children we were allowed to have the money from the bottles and jars for sweets. The only time we used to buy those paper carriers with the string handles was if we were sent to the fish and chip shop as they made the other shopping bags reek from the smell, I think they were around 3d, otherwise shopping baskets or bags. When you bought a large item of clothing such as a coat or suit, they were packed in either a very large strong paper bag bearing the store"s name or a large shallow box with tissue paper inside, and then wrapped in brown paper and fastened with string. Most of us had open fires and would burn the wrappings from foodstuffs that were smelly or had leaked and couldn't be used for anything else. I think the bulk of the contents of our dustbin were the ashes from the fire.

Riggie Sat 20-Apr-19 15:17:50

My mother's aunt used to wash up with Daz. Then everythingnhad to go back in a bowl of clean water for a good rinse as it would leave a residue behind.

My parents used to buy Kudos washing up liquid from Boots by the gallon and just refill the same bottle - they were plastic though. And as someone who always wanted a washing up bottle to make something they showed in Blue Peter I was always disappointed.

Grammaretto Sat 20-Apr-19 18:11:50

DH has just told me they used something called byprox? to wash up dishes before eazy peazy lemon squezy first appeared.
Anyone else remember that?

Grandyma Sat 20-Apr-19 18:46:29

I love Primark paper carrier bags!! They are remarkably strong and durable!! Surely if Primark can do it, so can the other high street shops??

crazyH Sat 20-Apr-19 18:48:11

Not seen bar shampoo

aggie Sat 20-Apr-19 18:53:29

My DD uses bar shampoo and conditioner , she has lovely hair . The only place I see it is in craft fairs

crystaltipps Sat 20-Apr-19 18:56:54

There will be bacteria on the pump of the liquid soap when you press it with dirty hands, my bar soap doesn’t get cracked or black, I usually use a good quality natural soap , can find lots of lovely ones at farmers markets or French or Italian ones in TK Maxx. I got some lovely French lavender soap there for about £2.99, much nicer smelling and lathers up much better than slimy shower gel. I also bought a nice little porcelain soap dish.

Callistemon Sat 20-Apr-19 20:47:15

I'm sure my mum used Rinso washing powder for the dishes before the arrival of squeezy liquid.

Callistemon Sat 20-Apr-19 20:50:12

I have some lovely soaps which are in my dressing table drawers, none of them very expensive and often hand-made and not that expensive.
crystaltipps - yes, TK Maxx is very good for soaps.

jura2 Sat 20-Apr-19 20:53:57

Just ordered bar shampoo and conditioner- great idea.

Our local French supermarket sells conditioner, bleach, handwash, etc, all in soft pouches, I have had the same containers for years and just refill- and have gone back to washing powder sold in cartons. For huge plastic bottles with ridiculously huge lids are a real disaster.

Lily65 Sat 20-Apr-19 20:57:25

I remember eating a bag of raisins and the bag

jacq10 Sat 20-Apr-19 21:28:04

Thanks Bijou for reminding me of the trip to the shop to get a loaf of bread. Obviously it was before pre-sliced bread and came in fresh every day and it was wrapped in tissue paper. I remember the soft feel of it and the smell especialy when I made a small hole in the top to just pick at a wee bit of it! By the time I reached home most of the black crust had gone. In Scotland it was called a "plain loaf" and although they still produce it and I did try it some time ago the pre-packed and sliced did nothing for me. Another memory is mixing the sachet of shampoo before Mum and I used to wash our hair. My Dad used to say he didn't know why we bothered "as Daz was fine for him"! I must say he had a fine head of hair till he was well into his 60's.

jocork Sat 20-Apr-19 22:49:03

My daughter uses a store in Glasgow which refills all sorts of containers - milk, shampoo etc - called Locavore. She is trying to go single use plastic free for lent but found it difficult when in the USA for work! So much packaging is unnecessary. I buy tomatoes in a cellophane 6 pack usually but recently Sainsbury's added a plastic tray inside the cellophane packet as well. I wrote to them about it and they gave me a load of waffle about reducing plastic by whatever % by 2020 but couldn't justify the EXTRA new packaging. I told them I would be shopping elsewhere. I think their different suppliers do different things though as I've noticed the trays are in packets sometimes but not always. I wish the loose tomatoes were not significantly more expensive than the pre-packed as that would be best but then you end up putting them in a plastic bag to weigh unless you only buy one!

Anja Sun 21-Apr-19 06:36:16

I use the supermarket mushroom bags for small loose veg like sprouts or tomatoes. Always choose loose carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc over prepacked.

At my local supermarket cabbages and cauliflowers come in loose plastic bags which I hand back at the till after they’ve been scanned.

At their deli you can have fish, sliced meats, etc in a slightly waxed paper back if you insist.

Nonnatimesfour Sun 21-Apr-19 07:36:24

Loved how food was wrapped in greaseproof paper and paper bags, tissue, lovely tins etc ....potted meat, bacon, bread, cakes, coffee, sweets etc..... I remember being horrified when bread started coming in plastic bags !

harrigran Sun 21-Apr-19 07:54:14

Sliced bread used to be bought in waxed paper, mother used to save the paper to wrap sandwiches in.
I still buy bread in waxed paper.
Daz was used for dish washing and it was very harsh on the hands, it also left an aftertaste on cups, father insisted we rinsed the cups with boiling water.

Grammaretto Sun 21-Apr-19 09:11:47

In an effort to save our blighted High Street, encourage a sense of community, and perhaps educate eachother about tackling poverty, inequality, climate change, animal welfare, loneliness and all modern woes wink a group of local enthusiasts optimists took on a lease, and have subsequently bought, an empty shop. Part of this is open and sells food and groceries supplied by
All other goods come from small local or Scottish companies such as milk from the wee isle dairy
Fresh locally grown vegetables and fruit from our community garden and , even paper bags are made nearby.

There is a community garden run by another similar group.
and a lunch is cooked and served free once a week using surplus food donated from the garden and from supermarkets.
It's early days, we've been open just over a year and are still entirely dependent on volunteers, but it's proving very popular.
So pm me if you want to try similar in your area or volunteer with us!

Kim19 Sun 21-Apr-19 13:17:28

Yep, I'm old enough to remember By-prox. Granny was seldom without it as I recollect.

LullyDully Sun 21-Apr-19 14:31:02

Talking of fresh bread from the bakers. We used to buy fresh yeast there to bake bread. The dried stuff I use now doesn't smell so good.

Wheniwasyourage Sun 21-Apr-19 15:01:05

crazyH, as has been said earlier, Lush do bar shampoo.

We use bar soap which stays dry as we have metal soap dishes which are made with big enough holes to drain the soap efficiently so that it doesn't stay damp and soggy.