Day 7/30 Less Waste Challenge: Good ol' Handkerchiefs

This is one that I was skeptical about. My grandpa always used hankies, which I thought was a grandparent thing. Let me tell ya, the Veteran or Traditionalist generation knew how to make less waste! A lot of the items we, as Generation X, Millennial, and Generation Z are familiar with came of age during the Baby Boomer generation. Side note- I find generation studies to be fascinating! I took a class in Nursing school where we talked about generations so we could understand the generalities of the people we would be caring for. One thing that stood out to me was my instructor's positive outlook on the youngest generation (at the time), Millennials, which is quite the contrast to how most people perceive this generation. She said that this generation was born way after WWII, the civil rights movement, and the feminist movement, therefore being born into a world where those disparities are not as common place (we know they still happen but these children were taught in school that this is wrong). She also talked about how this generation would see where technology is good but also where technology is unnecessary. She said, historically, that generations tend to rebel against the generation that comes before them. She believed that Millennials would end up having more in common with their grandparents' generation, having ideals and principles closer in line with Traditionalists. I am a Millennial and I am proud to say that. Some argue that kids born in the 80's are kind of the "gap" generation because we remember life without computers and cellphones but were the first kids to get them. Regardless, I find many people my age are wanting to get back to grassroots and simplicity. You can see this by all of the questioning that is happening of our food industry. There are a lot of people rebelling against convenience food and asking to know where their food comes from. Many are getting interested in growing their own food. I have a lot of friends who enjoy gardening, canning, pickling, making jam, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and are interested in producing less waste. That being said, I think there is a lot we all can learn from remembering what previous generations did prior to convenience. Some things are fantastic, like, I am so glad indoor plumbing is pretty standard. But, today's topic, tissues, are not ones of those items. 

Handkerchiefs are typically seen as gross because they are reused and then put in a pocket. Tissues are seen as more hygienic because people believe they are used one time, thrown away, and then the person performs hand hygiene. Hah! People are gross. Let me tell ya, I'm a nurse. I have seen lots of people reuse tissues, just like handkerchiefs. I have seen people leave their tissues around on counter tops or kitchen tables. I RARELY see anyone perform hand hygiene after using a tissue. So are handkerchiefs really grosser than tissues?

It's really all in how you use them. The beauty of hankies is that they can be folded and the contents are hidden. You can do this several times before needing a new one. Carrying one on you is probably plenty, unless you have a cold or it is allergy season. I keep one in my purse so I always have it on hand. I also use my cloth napkins a fair amount too. Then at the end of the day they go in the laundry basket, to be washed with my cloth napkins and towels. Then they are all clean and ready to use again!

This particular hanky was a gift from my dear friend when I was her maid of honor. I had kept it as a keepsake in a box and then I realized how dumb that was when this is a functional item. Now whenever I use it I think of how much love I have for her. Plus it's pretty! 


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