War-Time Advice is Still Relevant

want not waste not photo

image from MOBPA

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is a little museum that displays packaging of brands over the last hundred years. It's interesting because packaging in the old days was very simple and straight forward, with none of the waste that we associate with it today. Its purpose was to sell, as always, but the boxes and tins on display reflect the history of consumer culture and changes in taste over the years.

The latest show, Waste Not, Want Not shows all of the leaflets, posters and specially packaged goods that were part of every day wartime life. During WW2 rationing was necessary, food was scarce and creative thriftiness was the only way to survive. The show wasn't planned as a response to the recession, but it is surprisingly relevant in its advice and message.

waste not want not photo

The exhibit is about World War 2, but its message about saving and independence chimes with today's environment. The manager of the museum says "The difference between now and then is that in the '40's there was a collective effort to save the country money to help the war effort, now we're trying to save individually, but collectively trying to reduce the carbon footprint for this country."

Comparing the advice from that era with our times is instructive.

l. Grow Your Own
The Ministry of Agriculture urged everyone to grow their own vegetables and turn their whole garden over to that function. Now of course everyone is doing urban gardening and looking for allotment gardens, and growing food in window boxes.

2. Eat Less Meat
Food was rationed in war time and meat was scarce--standard rations included 4 oz. of bacon or ham. Now many are cutting back on meat to save money and the planet.

3. Make Do and Mend
Sewing was another important skill, so that old clothes could be mended and re-used. Now we are doing the same thing to update and fix vintage clothing.

4. Learn to Knit
Women were urged to unpick and knit again, using the yarn from old sweaters to make new ones. Now learning to knit has become a fun and fashionable thing to do.

switch-off light photo

5. Save Your Waste
Everyone was urged to "get the saving habit and help to win the war." We call it recycling now and it's just as important.

6. Save Fuel for Battle
Everyone wore layers of clothes indoors because there was so little heat. Now we are all turning down the thermostat and layering up. MOBPA Via : Time Out
More on War-Time Thrift
Victory Gardens
National Allotment Gardens Week
How to Plant a WIndowbox
New Clothes are So Old Hat

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