Milk bottle tops and carrier bags

too many carrier bagsEnvironmentalism became a big issue in the seventies, with 1970 marking the first Earth Day. It was something that started being taught in primary school, the idea being that if children were brought up to respect the earth then they would a) guilt-trip their parents into doing so and b) grow up to become responsible earth-respecting citizens.

I remember a song we used to sing in school that was about rubbish being thrown on the ground. I can only remember the first line and the chorus now. It went something like:

Milk bottle tops and carrier bags

Is this really <clap, clap, clap-clap clap>
What we want to see? <clap, clap, clap-clap clap>
No! No! No!

It didn’t stop children from throwing their rubbish on the floor, though, as the state of the playground attested. Obviously something a bit stronger than brainwashing was required.

There were also The Wombles, which was all about picking up litter rather than not dropping it or refraining from using the packaged products in the first place.

Milk bottle tops are not such an issue any more, since people don’t tend to buy glass bottles with metal tops. Carrier bags and plastic packaging have become a huge issue, so it’s interesting to see that they were already being seen as a problem in the seventies.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

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One Response

  1. Do you remember an advert in which Roy Hudd ran around in a long overcoat, gleefully scattering litter? I’m sure it was Roy Hudd – he ended up being chased away by lots of kids.

    And, as form captain at the time (dizzying heights of responsibility!) I was one of the group from school who “planted a tree in ’73”.
    And after the ceremony we took no notice of the trees whatsoever – and now even the school building has gone.

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