I hate to see things go to waste. Maybe I go a little far. But every time I get that last little drop, that
last little morsel, I feel like I scored a victory over waste. I’ve reaffirmed by creativity and resourcefulness and feel downright smug.
I’ve got it all down to a science. Elevated to a fine art. Got a very slim spatula that gets out that last bit of mayonnaise along the sides of the jar.
I know just how to tilt the dishwashing liquid bottle against my canisters to force those last languorous drops down the cap where it can be easily accessed.
And recently, just when the Secret antiperspirant / deodorant container was starting to rub against my underarms, I figured out how to unscrew the bottom, and force a pencil under the little elevated platform – and voila – another inch of deodorant.
Oh joy! That’ll stave off another purchase for at least a month.
What do you do in your house to get that last little bit of worth out of the products you buy?
Always a breath of fresh air, even when dealing with garbage!
Last drop of dishwashing liquid? Fill the container with water, shake and voila, one last wash!
I’m sure you too press that sliver of soap onto the new bar.
But oh, not as good as you with the slim spatulas in my kitchen. They would have been long gone!
All the best to you Jacquie. You’re a winner.
Jacqui you are a woman after my own heart! I tip *every* container on end to get the last little bit, esspecially chip bags! 🙂
Now how do we get the masses to do the same?
– the other Laurie
Great ideas. I’ll have to try the deodorant trick!
I’ve done the add water to the dregs of dish washing soap for years.
A question. We have an difference of opinion. I feel one doesn’t need all that much dishwashing soap for dishes. It’s the hot water which does most of the work. The other dish doer in the house feels the more the better and can go through a third of a bottle for a sink of dishes. I’ve looked on the bottles, looked on line, but haven’t found any guidelines. I’d love to have documentation so I can curtail the waste of dish washing soap. Any thoughts anyone?
You brought up a very interesting question! We decided to check this out and called Palmolive asking about the recommended amount of soap for dish washing. Their answer was that it is all about personal preference! The only time they give ratios about their products is when it comes to multi-purpose cleaners.
We also looked on our Method Dish Soap bottle and again, no recommendations either! To all the WasteHaters out there: How much dish washing liquid do you use when you do the dishes?
Re dishwashing soap: Since there are only two of us in the house, it takes several days to fill the dishwasher. So I prefer to quickly wash cereal bowls, spoons, mugs, etc., by hand and get a few more uses out of them throughout the day. I keep a bottle of Dawn Direct Foam on the counter, pump a dollop directly on my scrubber sponge, swish, rinse and set in the dish drainer to dry. The Direct Foam is pretty pricey (about $3.79 for 10 oz.), but I discovered that the magic is all in the container—the soap is diluted with water and injected with air. So I simply purchase the regular Dawn liquid (which is frequently on sale for 99 cents for 10 oz.) and use it to refill the “foam delivery device” as needed. I find that 1 part soap to 5 parts water does the trick, but you can experiment.
Interesting point about the dish-soap, and I think you are correct. I find the same thing when it comes to shampoos and conditioner. I have a lot of think hair, so I always assume I need a lot, but really just a small amount works.
When it comes to dish washing, I think it has to do with not just water temperature but water pressure. I find it easier to put the water on very high and hot for a quick amount of time, and that does the majority of the cleaning for me. Then I just give it a quick wipe with the soapy sponge. I feel it is better to use the water quicker, instead of just leaving it slowly running the entire time.
Update on my post, folks. I have now successfully gotten — count’em — three more rounds of Secret anti-perspirant out of the same container I described in this post a couple of months ago, by forcing a pencil up inside the container. Shudder to think how much deodorant is going to waste when consumers feel they’ve wound up the product to its fullest. Keep trying folks! There’s more deodorant in that stick than you think!
Wouldn’t it be less wasteful to use a rock type deodorant to avoid the plastic container?
Absolutely, Kate. Great point. It’s always better to ‘Source reduce’ than to try to recycle packaging, and I would venture to say deodorant/antiperspirant packaging like the one I’m describing is not even recyclable. (My own container has no plastic recycling symbols on it for instance.) Unfortunately those rock deodorants don’t provide any anti-perspirant protection. So, like to so many things in the ‘green world’, we have to make a larger choice, between saving packaging, feeling comfortable and preserving our clothes.
When I make my coffee each morning, if I put a little too much water in the coffeepot, I pour the extra into my cat’s bowl. It ain’t much, but I feel good not to just dump it out. Every little ounce helps!
After you’ve got everything through the cap–unscrew the cap. Usually quite a bit more left.
Two of the ways I reduce waste the most: NOT running the water while washing a dish, brushing teeth, etc. (wet brush or sponge, turn off, turn on again when ready to rinse)–and only using 2-3 squares of toilet paper at a time, and getting another 2-3 if that wasn’t enough.
–Shel Horowitz, primary author, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green
This discussion would not be complete without making mention of the debate over the health impacts of deodorants (e.g. aluminum issue) and the option/advantages to simply doing without. Those are easily google-able.
You’re absolutely right, Dan, though I haven’t studied the aluminum issue personally, though of course, I’ve seen mention of it over many years. And sure, if we don’t need deodorant/ APS, then absolutely not, though I’ve had a few experiences on hot NYC subways that would definitely warrant! A medium way point: refillable deodorant/APs containers.
Great point, Dan. One natural deodorant that I have come to love after trying many is http://www.etsy.com/listing/35641572/deodorant-cream. It is hand made with oils and salts. Instead of using heavy metals to block sweat, this deodorant uses salt. Additionally, the jar container makes it easy to make sure you get every last ounce and you can even reuse the jar when you have finished!
PS. Despite being a small jar, I have found it lasts almost a whole year (given one application per day).
I love to wash those Jiffy containers so that I can use them to hold random odds and ends. My basement is filled with them! They hold nails, screws, washers, and I even have some strictly for change. I know they are easily recyclable but this is an easier way to organize and much cheaper than buying the fancy containers from IKEA. Plus, you end up getting more out of your peanut butter than you thought you ever would.
I am know to always known for getting the most out of body creams… I get creative and add coconut oil to everything to make lotions last longer and it give it an extra moisture boost. Smells great too! : )
I thought I was a manic when cutting the end of the toothpaste tube, digging in there with my toothbrush in order to get the last stuff out. The body lotions with the pumps also require some creativity. The pump just doesn’t let me finish the container. I use the pipe of the pump to scrape out the last of the lotion, or I slam the bottle upside down to release the remains. If anyone has better solutions, let me know.
I use a Stanley Knife and cut the bottle open and scarpe out the last. Use this for moisterisers, Shamppo/Conditioners etc. Bit stumped with glass bottles though
I’m gonna try this!
Pingback: Green Marketing Expert Launches We Hate to Waste.com | A Greener Big Apple
When cooking pasta, try heating the water to a boil with the pasta. As opposed to heating water independently then adding pasta. You’re saving time and energy by cooking the pasta to a boil then reducing heat as necessary. The leftover water is high in starch and can be used to water plants. Plants will thrive from the high nutritional value of starch water.
I have also heard you can cook pasta in a frying pan. This method may save energy as the wide bottom provides greater surface area to the burner requiring less cooking time.
Pingback: How to Make Money by Helping Consumers Reduce Watts, Drops and Other Waste
Pingback: How to Make Money by Helping Consumers Reduce Watts, Drops and Other … | Money Zombie
Wow, an extra inch of deodorant. Sometimes it’s the little things that make us scratch our heads. I’m pretty surprised that much product is going to waste, although maybe I shouldn’t be. Imagine if everyone conveniently threw out a months worth of breakfast cereal, gasoline at the pump or any other commonly used good. Looks like we need a few savvy green product engineers on the case, not to mention a few marketers to spread the word!
The deodorant trick is amazing! I always get so frustrated when I’m about to get to the point of trashing it, because you can always see the last bit in the container! I’m going to have to try this. I’m known for my toothpaste anti-waste. I will roll up that tube until I can’t roll it anymore. I wish there was better packaging for all those personal products, I feel like almost all of them leave you wasting.
There’s also about 1/3″ of lipstick inside the metal tube after you’ve reached the rim. You can use a lipstick brush to swab out the rest (how do you think I figured out there was 1/3″ left.)
I add water to swish out the remainder of almost everything liquidy: shampoo, dishwashing liquid, even conditioner and moisturizer. After all, conditioner is meant to be used on wet hair, so a little extra water won’t hurt, and moisturizer is meant to keep water in your skin.
Aseptic packaging is my new pet peeve. This is the kind of square packaging used for juice boxes, and now soup, chicken broth, etc. For a juice box with a straw, you probably don’t leave anything behind, but when pouring out soup (especially thick, creamy soups that stick to the sides), you end up leaving quite a few spoonfuls of soup behind. Plus, since you can’t see inside, if you put leftovers in the fridge, you can’t tell whether it’s gotten moldy. There are even (rare) stories of finding mold in the newly opened juice boxes, due to imperceptible leaks in the boxes – just think how much worse the problem is with multi-serving packages you put in the fridge after opening. Now I “decant” the soup into my own storage container after opening, and swish out the insides with water. (Yes, water really works for almost everything!)
Thanks so much for the tip re the deodorant! Believe it or not I’m a fairly recent user of the stick variety and I’ve had a (nearly) used up stick sitting in my bathroom for a while now wondering how to use it up. Just this morning I decided to see what I could get out and you’re right – there’s quite a lot of product left in there! It bugs the heck out of me to toss it out! I’ll definitely try your tip tomorrow!
Some of my own product “using up” tips:
Toothpaste – a squeezing gadget from the dollar store works really well for me. It has a crank thingy on it and I was surprised how well it works.
Pump bottles of lotion, etc. – I swipe the pump straw around the sides of the container to get more out, but I ultimately end up using a box cutter or scissors (be careful!!!) to cut the container in half, then I use a small rubber spatula to get the rest out – I have small empty jars from eye creams, etc. that I use to store these bits in. Well, more than bits – several applications worth usually!
Tubes of hand cream – After all the squeezing and shaking and pounding to get the cream out, I cut the tube in half (crosswise across middle) and just use my finger to get more out. Hint: Try to get all the product completely out of the end half, then you can sort of squeeze the cut edge of the bottom half so the top half fits over it like a lid/cap. Otherwise just put the leftover product in a tiny jar or other container.
Lipstick – Buy a lip brush and use that to get the lipstick at the bottom of the tube. Applying with a lip brush is a very precise way to do it, so bonus!
Canned tomatoes/tomato sauce/tomato paste – since I’m usually adding it to a recipe that also requires a liquid, after I’ve dumped the contents into the pot, I add bit of water/broth to the empty can and swirl, shake or stir it to get the rest of the product out. Sometimes it isn’t much, but I’m gonna rinse the can out for recycling anyway, so I might as well!
Pingback: 5 ways to no waste for daily products - La Vie en Green
What kind of deodorant are y’all using that leaves “quite a bit left”? Is that how they design women’s deodorant sticks? My arm & hammer, degree, speedstick, etc, only leaves a tiny bit leftover, and I always roll it up until the plastic retainer falls out, then scoop out the leftover bits and smoosh them into the next pack. Gonna try melting it this time, to make it less of a messy job. Also, if you know any skateboarders, melting some vasseline and candle wax and pouring it into the old deodorant stick will certainly please them for a gift.
Nice to see you up here, Skootch. You’re the first person I’ve heard of who gathers up the little bits. I’m the one who wrote the post. There’s a big clump with a hole in it that invariably falls out on my bathroom rug when you swiped down far enough so that the clump doesn’t really stay snug inside the containers. I do your little trick with soap bits inside a sock — but may have to draw the line on deodorant since it’s a tad messy!
What do you do when the stick deodorant comes off the holder that pushes it up?
I refuse to throw away a full or partial stick. I have tried pushing it down onto the holder but that doesn’t work! Help!