Nostalgia for Recycling

Thoughts on containers.

I recall a version of processed luncheon meat called Klick. A brand name very similar to the sound of the key used to open the can. A lever actually with one end like the eye of a needle and the other like the handle of a key to wind up a toy or a clock. The key came attached to the can. The key was detached and the eye-end hooked into a tiny tongue. A winding motion resulted in a wrapping of a strip of the tin and paper round the key. Considerable skill was required to avoid premature snapping.

There were containers that did not come with tools. Some books still require their pages to be slit.

The can opener on a Swiss army knife could also open bottles.

One kitchen tool was the bottle opener (for glass bottle with caps) at one end and a can opener (for cans of liquids) at the other. The can opener too was a lever. It was used to perforate the top of the can. For example, tomato juice cans would receive two holes before pouring. The holes would be placed at diametically opposed positions on the circle. Sometimes one hole would be a bit smaller, the air hole.

Tetra packs don't quite have the same craft potential as an old tin can. However masses of them have been recycled into construction material.

A can not a tin. From the Old English for cup. Apt now when I think of cans as repurposed containers akin to the reusable mason jars. But unlike glass, a nail and hammer could tackle a can and produce amateur tinwork.

Prying caps with a bottle opener was also an art. You didn't want to dent the cap too much. It could be added to a prized collection.

No fuss with milk bottles. No bottle opener was necessary. Fondly hoarded collection of cardboard milk bottle tops were, I believe, to inspire Pogs*, some time after glass bottles had been replaced by cartons. With the arrival of plastic spouts and foiled seals, the art of opening cartons now tackles a different set of fine motor coordination demands.

However much I like the design concept of a milk carton that unseals to form a spout (and produce no disjecta beyond its on shell and that has served on occasion to create candles or nuture seedlings), I am not nostalgic. I am merely sensitive to the memories of handling containers and how such memories might impact not only [...] but also [...], that is reading and writing [writ large]. Material culture counts.
from HyperMnemonics - MetaMimetics

* Pogs, Wikipedia informs me did not come milk bottles but a brand of juice. See Pogs

And so for day 953