Monday, March 7, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Native American Style

According to editor, Todd Marks, who works for Consumer Reports, we waste 25% of all the products we buy because we can't get them out of their containers.  He says the pumps for personal care items like body lotions and face serums are so poorly designed, you end up throwing away about a week's supply of product -- the stuff that gets stuck at the bottom and won't come out.  I think it's more like two weeks worth– because oh, how I hate when a favorite cosmetic or conditioner is discontinued.  So much so that I'm not above splitting open the container with a utility knife to get to every last drop before it disappears forever!  The first time I was forced to do this I was amazed at how much product was left.  Lipsticks will last many extra months if applied with a lip brush.

When using every last drop, though, be prudent.  Some cosmetics like mascara have a short shelf life.  Mascara should only be kept for 6 months.  Then you have to worry about germs and ineffectiveness.  Safety should always outweigh attempts to save money.  Nonetheless, many other personal care items, like shampoos, conditioners and moisturizers, last a long time.  Using an entire container of these products, including what is normally wasted, will add up to big bucks. 

Consumer Reports magazine's Todd Marks also suggests that we pour apple cider vinegar in bottles of ketchup and barbeque sauce and use the last bits in cooking.  I admit, I don't go that far unless I'm short of the ingredient while right in the middle of trying to prepare a dish.  Even if you choose not to get this extreme, it's not a bad idea to be a little more mindful of waste ... and conserve where you can, a value held by earlier generations, including American Indians who killed one buffalo as needed, then used every part of the animal -- meat, bones, horns and hide -- for a practical purpose.  Nothing went to waste, partly out of respect for the slaughtered animal.

Another idea the editor supports, I do practice:  Freezing very ripe fruit and using it in recipes.  Not only do I stock nutritious strawberries, blueberries and peaches that, otherwise, would  go bad (they make delicious smoothies); I also cut up vegetables like celery, red and green peppers, as well as, meats such as lean roast beef and chicken, then pull them out of the freezer at a later date for quick meals.  The frozen meats and vegetables make tasty soups and stews with a minimum of effort.  Plus, families tend to eat better with a little thought and planning.  Below are links to a couple of earlier posts for quick and easy recipes.  Enjoy!

You may also enjoy:
What Do You Stock In Your Freezer?
Drugstores: Where Value And Convenience Converge
You Are What You Eat
A Stop At Henri Bendel's NARS Counter

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