What I Call Recycling, My Grandma Calls Thrift 

I rarely buy plastic baggies anymore. And I prefer to buy foods sold in glass jars. Unlike some health nuts I know, this aversion to plastic isn't based on some irrational fear of chemicals leeching into my food. I've put enough toxins in my body (and alcohol into my liver) over the years not to care much about that.

It's actually an environmental thing. In the green world, tossing reusable plastic is akin to a mortal sin. I actually wash out Ziploc bags with soap and water and allow them to dry overnight. One box has lasted me nearly a year.

As for those glass pickle jars, I wash and reuse them for homemade salad dressings and other concoctions. When I forget to bring my reusable cloth bags into Kroger, I save my plastic sacks to scoop up doggie droppings.

As it turns out, this seemingly obsessive need to save and reuse everything is actually pretty smart in this crappy economy. Not only does it help the Earth, but it saves me from shelling out hard-earned cash on baggies, pooper-scooper bags, and Tupperware.

I recently found out that both my grandmas save their jars and containers as well. Their eco-friendly ways aren't motivated by saving the Earth however. They're simply doing things the way their mothers did during the Great Depression. Waste not, want not -- that's the mantra I heard from both grandmas when I was growing up.

Environmentalists have known the value of those words all along, but maybe the economic crisis might help convince others to tread a little lighter on the Earth as well. We're all in this global economic crisis mess together, so let's make the best of it. If we come out of this with a better knowledge of how to reuse goods or ride a bike or cook at home, and (gasp!) even grow our own food, the Earth and the human race will both be a little better off. -- Bianca Phillips

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