A lovely conversation with a customer this morning prompted this post. We both grew up in “make do and mend” households, and we both hate waste. It’s not a necessarily a question of economics, it’s a question of ethics, principals, and attitude. I can’t bear this throwaway society that we’ve become – no wonder the environment is in trouble.
Our conversation also covered food waste which is a pet hate of mine. We continue live in a world where a large proportion of the global population still don’t have enough to eat. And yet, every week, a huge amount of food forms part of domestic refuse. Just over 100 years ago, food shortages were a serious problem in the UK, necessitating food rationing. In three generations, we seem to have forgotten this was ever a problem, although Lockdown One brought a sharp reminder of this, when we saw the purchase of what we now consider to be “staple” kitchen cupboard items such as dried pasta become restricted at the checkout. I wonder how much of the panic-bought products ended up in the bin.
The availability of cheap clothing has bred a culture of excess, in which abundance is an expectation, and landfill sites are awash with polyester. Do we really need so much? Why do we succumb to “havingness”? Why is making do met with such resistance?
As I’ve mentioned in posts before, I rarely throw anything away, and I’m glad that I can find a use for the things in my life. The nightie worn by Carla in this picture is decades old, and belonged to my grandmother. I hope wherever she is now that she can see her garment reused and very much loved. It’s not just the nightie that’s renewed in the photograph – my fond memories of my grandmother are also renewed every time I see it.