Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good to the Last Drop

From the bean of Green Bean.

As my family's garbage output is now officially less than ten percent of the average American's, I feel like I can talk some serious trash. There are tons of ways to taper off your trash: compostditch disposablesmake your own, buy items with less packaging or better yet don't buy it at all. The list could go on and on but the simplest way is to stretch your resources. In other words, it ain't empty until it's empty.

Several weeks ago I lifted the lid on the bathroom waste can only to discover our toothpaste tube lounging amongst the spent tissue and cotton swabs. Sure, to the Muggle eye, that tube looked empty. I knew better. I rescued it from the waste bin and, squeezing and scrunching, happily brushed my teeth with its contents for another three weeks.

This is not my first attempt at stretching sorcery.  Take, for instance, the conditioner languishing in my shower.  That baby has been around since before the dawn of global warming. Like a miracle of biblical proportion, even though I add water every time I use it, the creamy consistency remains the same, the bottle just as full.

For other products, I forgo adding water and just use less. A capful of laundry detergent? Why? A 1/4 of a capful (and sometimes none) will get the job done. You don't really need to fill that little bowl full with dishwasher detergent - just a dash.

To what do I owe my mystical powers? Why, to my parents, of course. In the interest of frugality, we would often add a bit of water to a near empty ketchup bottle to use up the dregs. It worked like a charm - unless someone went overboard and the ketchup turned to tomato soup. That was not so tasty on the tater tots.  Similarly, swirl some water around an "empty" jam jar and you have a powerful popsicle.

So with the final warning to not be overly exuberant with water, I hereby bestow, on you, my powers of alchemy. Go forth and bewitch thy bottles, remembering the simple spell: reducing the refuse makes everything good to the last drop.


Christy said...

Love this post! I've been working on eliminating the waste in the bathroom recently. Next on my to do list is to try to make my own toothpaste.

Betsy Escandon said...

Love that you got this practice from your frugal parents. Parsimonious Princess has a similar post about spatulas that I enjoyed a while back:

I personally save toothpaste tubes with next to nothing in them for travel. Then you can skip the travel size ones.

Inspirational as always, Green Bean.

Heather said...

I love this! Reminded me of the rainbow soap in my grandpa's bathroom -- he used to lump all the little soap slivers (you know those little pieces that you get when the bar is all used up?), making it into one bar. There were all sorts of different colored layers going on there. When I was a kid, I just thought he bought it that way and wished we had multi-colored soap.

And I was just going to mention my ardent love for the rubber spatula, but Betsy beat me to it. ;)

Green Bean said...

@Christy: I look forward to hearing how it goes on the homemade toothpaste!

@Betsy: Fantastic idea on the "travel toothpastes". I'm going to file that one away.

@Heather: Rainbow soap? That's awesome.


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