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Friday, January 17, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

I have become a much more frugal person while living in Sweden, in part because some of the products that I really enjoy, I am unable to get here.  So, in order to extend the life of these products, I take better care of them than when I lived in the US and could easily purchase the product.  This has taught me a lot about waste.  Manufacturers want you to waste a lot of product because then you will buy their product more often.  But I have been challenged to create less waste and to value resources with greater care simply because I have been forced to.
Here are three products that you should definitely be getting every last use from.
Ziploc bags: You should be washing and re-using ziplocs over and over again.  Long gone are the days for me when a ziploc bag gets one use.  Exceptions include raw meat bags...if you don't feel you can get the bag clean enough, then it's OK to toss it.  But with anything you store that is dry...nuts, crackers, bread, tortillas, etc., that bag should be used over and over again.  It just takes a little bit of time to turn it inside out, give it a scrub with some soapy warm water and let it dry.
Jif Crunchy Peanut Butter: Invest in a small spatula in order to get every last morsel of goodness out of the peanut butter jar (or any jarred product.) The inside of the jar is bald when I'm finished with it.  Peanut butter is heavy to carry across the ocean so I don't like doing it often.  Extend the life of this snack by scraping every last taste from the jar!
Crest toothpaste and the entire store from Bath and Body works: OK, lots of beauty products come in tubes and tubes are notorious for leaving loads of product behind.  A simple solution will extend the life of each product by at least a week.  Simply cut off the ends of the tube in order to access all that goodness that gets stuck inside.  You will be amazed by how much product is left in the lid of the tubes.   There is at least 3 days worth of body lotion in that lid and at least 2 in the tube.  Same with toothpaste.  Just take a minute to cut the ends off and you will quit throwing away days worth of product.
With pump soaps...when you are nearing the bottom of the container, remove the lid and put a small amount of water in it.  Shake.  This will ensure that the pump will continue to pull up the liquid  The soap is usually heavily concentrated so diluting it a bit won't hurt at all.  The thinner liquid is easier to pull up through the pump.
I have become a better consumer here in Sweden where certain things are not available and other things are ghastly expensive.  You've paid for the entire product.  Why not ensure that you use it all up?