CHECKING out at the supermarket, a young cashier suggested to the old woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The cashier was right, we didn’t have the green thing when we were young.

Back then we returned milk bottles, beer bottles and lemonade bottles to the shop who sent them back to be washed, sterilised and refilled, so we could use the same bottles over and over, so they were recycled.

Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re-used for numerous things most memorable besides household rubbish was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books, this was to ensure that public property was not defaced by our scribbling.

We walked up stairs because we didn’t have in lift in every supermarket, shop or office building.

We walked to the local shop and didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile.

Back then we washed the baby’s terry towelling nappies, because we didn’t have the throwaway kind.

We dried clothes on a line not in an energy gobbling machine burning up three kilowatts, wind and solar power really did dry out clothes back then.

We all had hand-me-down clothes from brothers and sisters, not always brand new clothing.

Back then we had only one radio and one TV in the house, not one in every room, the TV was the size of a handkerchief, not one that filled the room.

We blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

We exercised by working, so we didn’t need to go to the health club to run on a treadmill that operates on electricity.

We walked to school, instead of turning mum’s people carrier into a taxi.

We had one electrical outlet in a room not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and need a complicated gadget to receive a signal beamed from a satellite 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pub. Yes, I could go on.

J W Dowson, Croxdale