Another tale from my sister...
Today recycling is a big deal and people are proud of their recycling efforts, saving their cans, bottles and papers.
When I was growing up in the 30's and 40's recycling was a way of life. There was very little money available to buy things so what we had was reused.
Unwearale clothes were cut up to make aprons, dish cloths and quilt scraps. The buttons and zippers were removed to use again in another piece of apparel. Any remaining rags were used to make rag rugs or hair curlers.
Glass bottles were saved in which to put syrup, honey, catsup and root beer. Glass jars were used for canning fruits and vegetables. Ashes from the fireplaces and stove were put in the garden along with eggshells.
Any leftover food, peelings of any kind and clabber were fed to the hogs. Shucks from the corn, which we took to the mill, were saved and fed to the cows.
Dishwater and wash water was put around my Grandmother's flowers and her worm bed. Clothes washing water was taken to the garden and run down the rows.
Old rubber inner tubes from tires were cut up and used for many purposes. Old grease was saved to make bars of lye soap for clothes washing. Peelings from peaches were saved and put down to make peach brandy. Tin cans were saved to put our fish bait in, plus many other uses. Paper was saved to use to start fires in the wood stove and fireplaces. Catalogs gave us our paper dolls and the rest was taken to the privy for toilet paper. Duck and geese feathers were saved to make pillows. Rainwater from the roof was saved in barrels to be used in case of a house fire. Seeds from flowers and vegetables were saved for another year. Seed corn, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes were saved for another year.
During World War II our bobby pins were carefully saved as they could no longer be bought. Anything with rubber in it was saved. Raising the tires up off the ground saved the tires on the old cars and trucks. Any piece of scarp metal was saved and taken to places where it could be shipped off for recycling. Anything with leather in it was saved-old belts; purses, etc were saved to be used as patches on something else. Leftover biscuits and bread were used to make bread puddings. Leftover rice went into rice pudding for a dessert.
Beeswax from the honeycombs was saved, melted and put into molds. These sticks of wax were used on the old smoothing irons to keep them from sticking. This wax was also melted and poured over glasses of jelly for a good seal.
String and rope were saved for many uses around the farm.
If there was a second, third of fourth use for something it was saved. My grandparents had been taught to "make do" and they taught that to me and my sister.