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: compost, ditch disposables, make 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.