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Before plastic.

(72 Posts)
kircubbin2000 Fri 17-Jul-20 10:39:02

If you remember the 40s or 50s can you tell me what was used to wrap shopping? How did you carry home your fish,meat,eggs bread etc? Also I don't remember bin collections in the country, stuff was burned or put on the compost heap.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 17-Jul-20 10:43:52

Grease proof paper and brown paper bags I seem to remember in late 50’s and early 60’s

Illte Fri 17-Jul-20 10:45:45

Butchers meat was wrapped in waxed paper and then white paper tied with string. It leaked 🙁

Eggs in a paper bag with a bit of straw to cushion them or in the bottom of a wicker basket.

Fish we got off the boat as it came in in an earthenware dish

Vegetables straight into a cloth bag, like I do now!

Callistemon Fri 17-Jul-20 11:02:03

Greaseproof paper for meat, cheese etc.
I used to take the order boook into the Co-op from when I was about 8, then had to bring home certain things from the list. The rest was delivered.

Eggs from the farm - I was sent to collect them when I was a child, we took newspaper and each one was wrapped in newspaper and carefully placed in my bicycle basket. Then we cycled home.

tanith Fri 17-Jul-20 11:02:32

We had a metal dustbin with lid and the dustmen came round weekly, throw the lids off and carried bins on their shoulder to the lorry, it was a very noisy affair.

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 17-Jul-20 11:06:17

Greaseproof paper and then wrapped in white paper, you’re correct they leaked!
Fish and chips was greaseproof paper then newspaper.
Vegetables and fruit, Mum had a shopping bag and it was all put in loose.
Bins were emptied, but all cooked food waste was collected by a farmer who had pigs, so it all went into a pigs swill bin and he came around on a Friday with bins on a trailer.
U cooked food waste went onto the compost for our vegetable garden.

Namsnanny Fri 17-Jul-20 11:10:06

Always amazed me how much was delivered then.
We had a van selling all kinds of things every other day. Plus the milk float sold lots of everyday items. No wrapping necessary

Bellanonna Fri 17-Jul-20 11:14:33

Same here Tanith. I think they had a piece of protective leather across their backs, over their jackets. Those bins were heavy. No bin liners, but my father lined the bin with newspaper. The dustmen came round the side to pick up the dustbin - it was quite a noisy job as you say.

Callistemon, I love the sound of your egg collection on your bike. We had chickens so I don’t remember them being bought.

Lots of things were sold from large jars. I remember porridge being served that way. Macaroni, too, for puddings. Milk was delivered in glass, of course, by the milkman and his horse.
Bread was sold uncut in large loaves, just a piece of paper round it. I don’t remember anything in packages and there were certainly no sell-bt dates. No refrigeration at home either.

Jane10 Fri 17-Jul-20 11:35:07

Shops would send a man to the back door if houses and the lady if the house or maid would give the order. It would be delivered the next day. I always used to try to be there when the Buchanan and Calder man came as he often brought samples of biscuits to tempt Gran into ordering them.
I remember that everyone had string bags for other shopping.

Lexisgranny Fri 17-Jul-20 11:54:42

Fruit in brown paper bags. Dirty veg eg potatoes, carrots, turnips in own shopping bag kept for the purpose. Cheese, Meat and fish in grease proof then white paper. Sweets in white cone shaped bags. Groceries in wicker shopping basket. Bread wrapped in white paper.
Distinctly remember the bin men who really earned their money as did coal men with their leather waistcoat things. One of my most boring jobs was counting the bags of coal as they were carried to the coal house. We also had a pig swill bin collected by a local farmer, nothing was wasted. Also remember the hoover man who appeared regularly to service the hoover.

Callistemon Fri 17-Jul-20 11:55:42

Bellanonna it was my my aunt and uncle's farm a mile or two away, but I think Mum paid the going rate for the eggs. Auntie's sideline.
She kept Mum supplied with plums, damsons etc which were made into jam. I haven't seen damsons for years.

Callistemon Fri 17-Jul-20 11:57:39

Corona (the nice kind) was delivered and Beer at Home means Davenport's.

Charleygirl5 Fri 17-Jul-20 13:47:18

My mother had two leather bags for collecting our groceries. The bags were heavy when empty but luckily the grocer's shop was close to the bus stop. Items packed as above- we caught the second last bus of the day around 16.20 hours and our stop at the other end, 2 miles away was close to the house.

The bread man, selling other goods as well, came around weekly with his horse and cart and my mother was running out shovelling up the horse s**t after she had bought from him

I do not remember any food waste but potato peelings would go on the compost heap. We had a large garden, 1/3 of an acre but my mother was an avid gardener- my dad and I were the labourers.

We lived near St. Andrews so all fish was fresh as was the meat from local farms. This was the 50's and early 60's.

We had gas mantles until the late 50's- I was not allowed near them.

craftyone Fri 17-Jul-20 13:55:32

bread in waxed paper but usually brought home unwrapped if it was one of those lovely locally baked loaves. Fish and meat in white paper and overwrapped with newspaper. Eggs, no problem there, we could only afford one egg at a time. Ex childs toy pram, was a decent size, we used to wheel if for all the loose veg and fruit. I remember the paper cones for sweets, fascinating to watch the piece of paper being twirled into a cone. Groceries in whicker shopping baskets, I use mine today, every time I go shopping. Mine are only around 40 years old, properly made then and still as good as new

Anyone who took food to school, it was in ex bread wrapping waxed paper. Several people had cold toast for their break

MiniMoon Fri 17-Jul-20 14:10:17

I worked in a grocery shop before plastic was widely used. We wrapped the bacon cheese and cooked sliced meat in greaseproof paper, and then into a white paper bag. Eggs were in proper egg boxes as we have today.
Bread was in waxed paper. We saved it for taking to the playground. If you sat on it going down the slide, it made you go really fast, and the slide shone having been waxed.

I remember going shopping for my mother, and the butcher did the same when wrapping the meat.
My mother had a large shopping bag made from some sort of treated fabric 🤔 with a zip across the top. It was washable.

As for fish and chips, they were wrapped in greaseproof paper and then in newspaper. I was always sent to buy them as I was fast. (I used to sprint for my school).

25Avalon Fri 17-Jul-20 14:24:51

We had a bin collection of food waste which was tipped into an open vehicle and was used to feed the pigs. It was called swill waste. Sometimes items like knives and forks got in there which was not good for the pigs. When I first started work as an assistant buyer for the NHS in 1972 I organised their swill waste contract. Using swill waste was discontinued soon after.

There was also collection of other waste from metal bins called ash bins.

I remember my mum saving the inner papers from cereals to use for wrapping sandwiches if she had run out of grease proof. Also used greaseproof as tracing paper.

Newspaper was used a lot. Not just for fish and chips. Dad used to wrap lettuce and other vegetables in it to sell.

Remember when the brown paper carrier bags got wet and everything spewed out on the ground? Or the string handles broke.

sparklingsilver28 Fri 17-Jul-20 15:17:01

This brought back a few memories. City dwellers had shopping delivered. Family order book with general requirements taken into the grocer (Green Grocer the same) Butter came in large blocks, order cut off and pat into shape with wooden paddles, placed on wax-paper, weighed and wrapped; sugar and dried fruit, assistant scoped from large containers tipped into white (sugar into white-lined sax blue) bags weighed and sealed; biscuits large open tins on display from which an assistant made up required selection into a strong white paper bag; cheese, like butter, came in large rounds and wire cut to order size, laid on wax-paper, weighed and wrapped. Completed order would be packed in a cardboard box and delivered by bicycle with a large basket on the front.

My brother earned 15/- (75p) shillings a week, while a 16-year-old school-boy, delivering grocery orders on Saturday this way. No delivery charge but would often receive a one/two penny tip from the householder. Also delivered newspapers every morning for 7/6 (32.5p). Carefree Happy Days!!

Pig Bins a common sight and strategically placed along roads for residents to place in household vegetable peelings.

AGAA4 Fri 17-Jul-20 15:48:38

My mum had a veg bag and potatoes carrots etc were just tipped into it. Fresh food was wrapped in paper.

We all managed well without plastic.

Tabbycat Fri 17-Jul-20 15:55:38

In the 1950s and 60s, most food shopping had to be done daily - most people had a pantry, but no 'fridges or freezers. We had milk delivered by a Co-op milkman twice a day. My mother bought fresh food for that day's meals every morning. Bread came from the bakery - I still remember carrying a warm loaf wrapped in paper home. Meat from the butcher's and vegetables from the greengrocer (or the nearby allotments).
The nearest we had to a supermarket was the Co-op grocer, where they sold bacon, cheese, dried goods like flour and rice and some tins and packets - but there was a counter and you had to wait to be served, you couldn't just help yourself. I remember when the whole self-service/ checkout system started there my mother felt that they should reduce their prices as she was now doing their work for them! She continued to complain every time we went in!
When we visited my grandmother's house, one or two of the children would be sent with a pudding basin and a clean teatowel to collect ice cream from an Italian ice cream parlour. They put however many scoops of ice cream you wanted into the bowl, wrapped it with the teatowel and if it was a warm day a couple of layers of newspaper. Then you had to run home as fast as you could before it melted!
Very few, if any, of my mother's friends worked outside the home. She spent most of her day making meals and clearing up afterwards; laundry; cleaning the house; and looking after the children. Not something I would like to return to.

Esspee Fri 17-Jul-20 16:26:49

We lived in town and didn’t have a fridge. My mother would place her order with the greengrocer, the general store and the butcher and the items were delivered weekly for the first two and daily from the butcher. The butcher meat order was the same every week, pork chops on Monday, minced beef on Tuesday, sausages on Wednesday etc.
One year we went on holiday for two weeks and the delivery boy proceeded to “post” the meat through the letter box despite mum having cancelled the order. After a few days the error was noticed but the meat already “delivered” remained rotting behind the door. 😁

Esspee Fri 17-Jul-20 16:29:27

I remember my mother telling me there used to be someone who collected the euphemistically titled “night soil”. Whether that was in her childhood or adulthood I can’t remember.

Callistemon Fri 17-Jul-20 17:31:26

Oh, Esspee shock
Words fail me!!

Callistemon Fri 17-Jul-20 17:31:55

Ps re the meat posted through the door, I mean.

Nannee49 Fri 17-Jul-20 17:43:09

For some reason "no hot ashes" stamped on the bins used to send my brother and I into fits of laughter and we'd tap it out in secret to each other to much hilarity...strange kidsgrin

maddyone Fri 17-Jul-20 17:55:56

Much the same as everyone else. Milk was delivered daily in glass bottles. Mum put out tokens she bought from the Co-op for however many pints she wanted each day. Meat, cheese and fish was wrapped in grease proof paper and then a paper bag. Loose vegetables tipped into a shopping bag kept for the purpose. Fruit into a brown paper bag. Eggs were in cardboard cartons. Fish and chips were wrapped in white paper, then newspaper. Coffee beans were ground in the hardware shop and poured into a cone shaped bag. Sweets in little white paper bags.