Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tight Wad Meets Eco-Friendly Citizen

Me, a tightwad?

Recently the AP ran an article about how “tight wad” behavior is catching on. These are the people who cut the shampoo bottles in half so they can get every last drop. That person is me – as an eco-friendly citizen. I cut the bottles in half, get out every last drop so that I can wash them out and put them in the recycling container. I reuse Ziploc bags. I even use the plastic bags with reusable seals that once contained salt, nuts, etc. Same concept. Not very helpful though if you own stock in Ziploc. Oh well! And it takes a lot – A LOT, for me to actually purchase saran wrap. Why? Because I can’t for the life of me figure out if it’s recyclable. Somehow I think it isn’t. Instead, I use a plastic food bag that I secure on top of a container with some type of recycled string. Although it just dawned on me I can use those extra shower caps that I got for a buck… (ala, the wrap with the elastic on top which I think Glad makes) Now, if they started making a saran wrap type product out of bamboo, I might consider using it. Ooh – what a great idea. I wonder if that is actually available… Yeah, this is the kind of stuff that gets me excited.

For me, calling using all that we have as "tight wad" behavior shows me just how off path a society we have become. Every thing is easy to use and easy to throw away. Yet, what's left over is mounds and mounds of trash clogging our landfills. And plastic, for anyone who doesn't know this, doesn't break down in the landfill. It's forever with us, like a badly coded gene.

Now we are in this state of “financial collapse,” using what we have before we buy more has caught on. That also includes making things before buying them. Like laundry soap. Why spend 5 dollars when you can make it at home, and control what goes in it. So I tried to get to the site that the AP article mentioned where you could learn how to make it. No go. I, like others, who read the AP article tried to click on the site where you could learn to make your own laundry soap. The woman who ran it apologized to viewers trying to get on. She had thousands of hits and her site crashed. Wow. Does a phenomenon like that make Johnson & Johnson nervous? (I have nothing against them or Ziploc for that matter… it’s just something to think about).

One helpful motivator helping me pare down has been moving into a smaller space. In particular the bathroom where I have less cabinet space and a shower, only. Bath products are my weakness. I see lotion on sale and think – how can I pass up coco shea butter. It’s such a great deal. And a good product. And look, it’s made environmentally friendly, and, and. And, no. I simply don’t have the room. I don’t have the long cabinet anymore where lost, forgotten products sit in the shadows. I uncovered all of those in the move. And with less space I have to use all, I MEAN ALL (I’m talking to myself now) before I buy more lotion. Sigh. There was some nifty, eco-friendly hand soap on sale at Target… down to 7 bucks rather than its original price of 15. Sadly, I did consider this and had to catch myself… So what if it’s on sale and might smell good. Liquid soap for 7 bucks? I have a recipe somewhere for making your own liquid soap out of soap scraps. And I have the soap scraps saved in a container…. For the day I really need it.

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