After my husband's parents died, he, his brother, and I cleared out their mobile home, which I'd been in many times, but, you know, I hadn't gone nosying around in cupboards when they were alive. The 'boys' too were amazed by the large paper bags of string or foil and so on, um, salt and sugar packets from meals out, and similar, saved en masse..
I was the one that made the job somewhat longer since I thought they might want things later on, for sentiment. Yes, that did happen, but it's me that can't just goodwill the green glass plates, not re money, but sentiment. I have to have The talk with my niece. She might want something of those few things, but likely not. She's good & practical. Meantime, I still use the damned green plates all the time.
Years after that, these days I do save and reuse foil, and occasionally string (not much bought so not much saved). My reasons are mixed - recycle after using again myself, and saving some money. I don't eat out much now, still usually love it, and do take "doggy bags" home for myself, the mad cook. Unhappily, the doggy bag containers are usually styrofoam.
I haven't read Steinbeck in years, but remember the impact it had on me. Did see where he had lived once in a big old house, not sure if it was in Monterey or another place near by. An art dealer who friends and I were "dealing" with lived there by then, offered the three of us a nice glass of wine in their living room - I guess, the parlor. I forget what kind of wine, something good. That would have been around '95. Short amount of time, but interesting to me.