Are you cheap, frugal, or environmentally conscious?
Years ago, a dear friend served as a caregiver for my father who lived with dementia. While I was away on travel, my husband took my father to her home on his way to work two hours away. Our friend and my father would enjoy a few early morning hours together before she took him to the adult day services center.
I had the good fortune to work with her (late) husband, a world-famous test-pilot. When the four of us got together, our conversation ranged from the worldly to the mundane. Once, she lamented that her husband tossed the bottle of shampoo in the trash before it was finished. “I can get a week’s worth of shampoos out of what he throws away,” she exclaimed. (Her hair was shorter than mine.) She confessed, “We can certainly afford it! Maybe I’m just being cheap.”
I thought about it a moment and replied, “No, you’re being frugal and environmentally conscious.” She smiled as her good-natured hubby tried to defend himself. (We women wouldn’t allow it.) I added, “I turn the bottle upside down to get the last bit of shampoo out.” She felt vindicated. The guys ignored us. “If it’s a pump bottle, I add water until the last bit is gone.”
Are we being cheap, frugal, or green?
Our world population is growing toward eight billion and I estimate at least one billion of us are really wasteful. Who darns socks anymore? (Do you even know what this means?) We replace our phones every two years – sooner, if possible. Despite the talk of being green and recycling, the costs versus benefits don’t always make recycling profitable. Our trash is shipped somewhere far away and we forget about it. We need to be more conscious of our consumption.
Having solved the shampoo problem, I’m still struggling with bottles of lotion.
How do you get the last bit of lotion out of a pump bottle?
I’ve tried to add water and shake vigorously, but that hasn’t worked so well. A large pump bottle is designed to deliver a thick substance. When the lotion is watered down, it sprays everywhere if I’m not careful. Plus, it doesn’t stay evenly mixed and gets clumpy.
We’ve sent people to the moon and back, surely, we can find a way to get the last bit of lotion out of the bottle.
There’s got to be a better way than removing the pump top, covering it with foil, and then turning it upside down. I lean it up against the corner of the bathroom window. The sun heats up what’s left inside making it easier for gravity to pull it down to the foil-covered mouth. Depending on the size of the bottle, there’s leftover lotion lasting two weeks. It’s a hassle to use.
While musing about the details, I’ll add…
How do you cover the end of an unfinished chocolate Toblerone bar? I’d like to enjoy it in moderation but I can’t seem to wrap it up and push it back into the triangular container.
If addressing these mundane issues of life sound ludicrous, they’re not. Remember, it’s the little things in life that bring us great joy. It’s also the little things that can really annoy us. Just ask the attendees who were present at Bill Gates’s 2009 memorable TED Talk about malaria where he released mosquitoes.
Being frugal in a consumer-based society
I was raised by frugal immigrants. They lived the American dream of homeownership, raised three children, and even sent the first two to college. When my father retired at age 65, he informed me that he’d be on a limited income. “You’ll need to pay your way.” A year later at age 16, I graduated high school and paid for my college education, completing graduate school. I learned that being frugal in some areas of my life allowed me to enjoy the finer things in other areas.
How long can we continue this consumer-based disposable we live in?
If you figure 1,000,000 bottles are tossed each year leaving about an ounce of lotion in them, that adds up to 62,500 pounds or over 31 tons. Where does all that go, each year? The earth will be covered in lotion!
Share your comments, below.
We’re all connected in this world and maybe you know someone who designs these bottles or works in the lab that concocts these lotions. Please share this with them.
Together, we will find solutions for finishing the last bit of lotion and saving left-over Toblerone chocolate bars.
Remember caregiver, the little things in life, like a mosquito’s spread of malaria, can have a major impact.