tips, topics, info and insight to help you save money and make our world a little greener

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good to the Last Drop

When my mother, a classic frugal Yankee, made a sandwich, she would wipe the last bit of mustard or mayo on the bread slice, careful not to waste a bit. When my husband, who has a different approach, puts together a ham & cheese, the mustard oozes on to the plate with enough left on the spreader to cover another whole slice of bread. Not surprisingly, my style is more like my mother's. I hate waste - whether it's food that goes bad in the fridge, recyclables in the trash, or perfectly usable mustard down the drain. It makes me crazy. Over the years, I've perfected my no-waste approach to most of the consumables we use. And here's a perfect example: Moisturizer. I often use an Aveeno product with sun-screen that comes in a 4 oz. container with a pump dispenser. It usually sells for around $16.00 (though I tend to buy it for less on sale with a coupon). I have found that the pump stops producing when the container is ALMOST empty, but there's still product in there. So the last time this happened, I decided to find out how much more moisturizer I could get out of the container. First I just used the pump's straw-like piece to scoop out the lotion; after a while that became ineffective, so I cut the container open with kitchen scissors and used my finger to get at the lotion. You might be surprised to learn that, using these tactics, I got 25 more applications . I hadn't counted how many applications there were before the pump stopped pulling product from the container, but I'm guessing around 50 or 60. By wringing out the last drop, I was able to use perhaps half again as much of the Aveeno than I would have if I had chucked it when the pump stopped. I like to think that this kind of built-in waste isn't an intentional ploy by manufacturers, but simply poor design. Think about all the products you use that are easily wasted: toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner, dish and laundry detergent, lipstick. And don't get me started on mustard.


  1. I'm with you on this Dee Dee. My daughter used to think I was nuts the way I'd use my lotion, shampoo or creme rinse to the "bitter" end. I even bought those "keys" to get all the toothpaste out of the tube. I just can't stand to toss something out when there's still product left.

  2. Dee, I'm the same way with Eucerin SPF 30. I can't believe the waste if I just threw out the bottle when I stop pumping. Keep up the good work.

  3. Nadine & Magmorisle - thanks for your comments. The waste thing is everywhere and it seems that most people don't seem to mind. The trash at my office is always filled with half-empty water bottles and soda cans...which I pull out of the trash, empty and put in the recycling, and then take home. Neurotic? Maybe.