container http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2529/all en-US 15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tide_bottle.jpg" alt="Crafting with Tide bottle" title="Crafting with Tide bottle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let&rsquo;s talk about detergent bottles. Wonderful, adaptable detergent bottles.</p> <p>Most people have one use for them &mdash; to hold laundry detergent. But if you look at the design of modern detergent bottles, they clearly have a life beyond the last drop of liquid goodness inside. All it takes is a little imagination.</p> <p>In my previous post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">reusing disposable items</a>, I briefly touched on the detergent bottle. And in doing so, I uncovered a multitude of uses for this versatile bottle that is usually trashed or recycled the second it runs dry.</p> <p>A quick tip before we get to the list &mdash; the design of detergent bottles is quite unfriendly for the consumer. If you use them as directed, you&rsquo;ll be left with at least one or two extra loads in the bottle even though nothing is pouring out. There are ways to get to it, but in doing so you may have to render the bottle almost useless. However, depending on your <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Get-that-last-load-from-a-bottle-of-detergent%21/">method of extracting the precious liquid,</a> you could still be left with a very useful hunk of plastic. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sharps (Needles) Disposer</h2> <p>According to Diabetes.org, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf">over 8% of the US population is diabetic</a> (PDF). That&rsquo;s quite the statistic. A vast majority of those people require regular shots of insulin, and those needles, or sharps, must be disposed of safely. They sell sharps containers in the stores, and they run anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred dollars for a two-gallon size. But why bother spending any money? Take an empty detergent bottle, secure the lid to the base with strong tape, and cut a small slot in the top. You now have a safe place to keep your sharps. When it&rsquo;s full, seal the slot and <a href="http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/sw/documents/sw-31.pdf">dispose of it safely</a> (PDF).</p> <h2>2. Ice Melt Shaker</h2> <p>I used to keep my ice melt in an old cat litter container and used a scoop to sprinkle it on walkways and driveways. The laundry detergent bottle is even easier. Just fill one with ice melt and then do one of two things:</p> <ul> <li>Remove the lid and sprinkle liberally, or&hellip;</li> <li>Poke large holes in the lid and sprinkle, like a giant salt cellar</li> </ul> <p>Either way works; it just depends how much ice you have and how much you want to put down on the floor.</p> <h2>3. Drip Irrigation</h2> <p>Clean your detergent bottle and fill to the top with water. Place it in the top of your plant pot, or next to plants in the garden, and punch a few very small holes in the bottom (plus one in the top if you want the water to flow more freely).</p> <p>You now have a simple but effective tool for providing plants with a slow and steady source of water. This is very helpful if you&rsquo;re going on vacation and don&rsquo;t want your plants to perish in your absence. It&rsquo;s also good if you simply want to remove a daily task from your agenda. Now, watering the plants can be done automatically; all you need to do is fill up the container when it&rsquo;s empty.</p> <h2>4. A Lampshade</h2> <p>Seriously. There are plenty of <a href="http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&amp;hl=en&amp;source=hp&amp;biw=1680&amp;bih=906&amp;q=detergent+bottle+lamp&amp;gbv=2&amp;oq=detergent+bottle+lamp&amp;aq=f&amp;aqi=g-S1&amp;aql=&amp;gs_l=img.3..0i24.1594l5202l0l5540l21l21l0l6l6l0l135l1405l7j8l15l0.frgbld.">pictures of detergent-bottle lamps</a> demonstrating the various methods available to you for construction. Some simply require you to thoroughly wash your bottle, which includes removing the label, and then attaching to a lamp fitting. Others are much more elaborate. The lamps are unique, and if done right can look like art with a high dollar value.</p> <h2>5. Toddler Tool Box</h2> <p>I saw this one at a friend&rsquo;s house, and he sent me the link to the original <a href="http://www.erutledge.net/album2008/2008-01-08/slides/100_0462.html">toddler tool box</a> creator. If you have one of those huge detergent bottles and also have young kids, don&rsquo;t throw it away. Follow these instructions to create a fun (and free) toolbox that your young one can carry all of his or her valuables, cars, dolls, or anything else in. And the grown-ups can use it too.</p> <h2>6. Watering Can</h2> <p>Hot on the heels of the ice melt shaker, you can also use your old detergent bottles as watering cans. The small ones are great for the younger kids, and the big ones work almost as well as the pricey ones from the hardware stores. Just wash your bottle thoroughly, then poke many small holes (a metal skewer is good for this) in the lid. Fill with water, tighten the lid, and you have a great watering can for nothing.</p> <h2>7. A Handy Scoop or Funnel</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t pay for a scoop again. Just cut your clean detergent bottle diagonally across the middle, and you have a sturdy scoop that can be used for all sorts of things. Make one for the cat litter, one for fertilizer, and even use one of the larger ones as a dustpan. You can also use a straight cut across the middle to create a funnel, which can be handy for pouring paint into smaller containers. &nbsp;</p> <h2>8. Free Weights</h2> <p>Literally. The first set of weights I ever bought were light as a feather. When you took them home, you would fill them with sand and they became heavy enough to use in a workout. The same principle applies here. Fill your different sized detergent bottles with sand and you will have weights of varying sizes, which can be used like a kettle bell for strength training. &nbsp;</p> <h2>9. Paint Storage</h2> <p>Paint cans are annoying. They have to be hammered shut, opened with a special tool or screwdriver, and the paint always drips down them. If you don&rsquo;t get the lid on tight enough, you will be greeted with a can of thick or dried out paint when you next use it. Even a small amount of water loss from the can change the color and consistency. So, when you&rsquo;ve got paint left in a can from a decorating job, pour it into a detergent bottle and screw the lid on tight. When you next come to decorate, you&rsquo;ll have fresh, easily pourable paint with no drips. Make sure you put a little of the paint on the outside of the bottle to recognize it on the shelf.</p> <h2>10. A New Spin on Sandbags</h2> <p>A few people in my neighborhood have basketball hoops, and they weight them down with sandbags. You can create your own weights with sand and a detergent bottle, just like in the free weights tip. These can be used to hold anything down, such as tarps, tents, or sports nets, or used to add additional weight in your trunk in those tough winter driving months.</p> <h2>11. A Slug Trap</h2> <p>Worms are a gardener&rsquo;s best friends. Slugs, alas, are not. They are a pest that can destroy your plants and vegetables. To make a simple slug trap with a detergent bottle, make a straight cut 2-3 inches from the bottom. Sink this base into the ground, ensuring the rim is level with the soil, and fill with bait (a little beer, or some water and yeast). You can also coat the inside walls of the base with a little liquid soap. The slugs will come in to feed, but cannot get back out.</p> <h2>12. Swimming Floats</h2> <p>This is about as easy at it gets. Clean the detergent bottles thoroughly, removing the labels. Then screw on the tops very tight. You now have cheap and effective floats to help the little ones in the pool.</p> <h2>13. Hand Washing Station</h2> <p>My grandpa, a keen gardener, used to do this with old plastic milk jugs; but it works just as well with detergent bottles. Clean them, fill with water, and leave them on your potting table or in your shed. Place some napkins and liquid soap nearby. When you&rsquo;re ready to come in, you&rsquo;ve got the convenience of a sink without the plumbing.</p> <h2>14. Feed the Birds</h2> <p>Tuppence a bag! Sorry, I love Mary Poppins. I also love birds, and I have a feeding station on the front lawn. You can create a good bird feeder from detergent bottles, and a little green or black spray paint can make them blend right in. First, cut holes in the sides of the jug, around 2-4 inches in diameter. If you want to provide perches, drill holes and push dowel rods through them. Puncture a few small holes in the base for water drainage. Then, hang from a tree or garden pole and fill with seed.</p> <h2>15. Piggy Bank</h2> <p>A penny saved is a penny earned. So don&rsquo;t buy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-piggy-bank">piggy bank</a>, use an old detergent bottle and use the money you saved as your first deposit. Simply clean out your bottle, screw the top on tight, and cut a slot just big enough for the largest coin to fit through. Have the kids paint it if you want, or spray-paint it yourself.</p> <p>You can duct tape the lid onto the bottle to deter people from dipping into the fund. And if you want it to be really tough to open, apply some super glue around the spout and screw on the lid. The only way you can get it open now is to cut it open. When you do, if it&rsquo;s full, you&rsquo;ll have quite the spending spree to go on.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Green Living container laundry detergent reusable Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:36:25 +0000 Paul Michael 913220 at http://www.wisebread.com Optical Illusions That Make You Fatter and Your Wallet Lighter http://www.wisebread.com/optical-illusions-that-make-you-fatter-and-your-wallet-lighter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/optical-illusions-that-make-you-fatter-and-your-wallet-lighter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/599988_63372292.jpg" alt="man and giant plate" title="man and giant plate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my best friends, a long time ago, told me that the key to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-portion-control-to-lose-weight" title="How to Use Portion Control to Lose Weight">food portion sizes</a> was this: &quot;Eat from small plates, drink from taller glasses.&quot; It's a piece of advice I had forgotten, especially after moving to the U.S. where portion sizes seem to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. But in a book I'm currently reading called &quot;Mindless Eating&quot; this advice about container sizes is validated by Dr. Brian Wansink, Ph.D, a man who clearly knows his stuff. And optical illusions are at the root of it all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-salaries-do-you-want-to-know-how-much-your-coworkers-make" title="The Psychology of Salaries: Do You Want to Know How Much Your Coworkers Make?">The Psychology of Salaries: Do You Want to Know How Much Your Coworkers Make?</a>)</p> <p>I think back to my childhood, to one of the first really cool tricks I was shown by a teacher. A physics teacher actually, but it could have been a math teacher or a chemist. Anyway, the illusion is shown below, crudely illustrated by myself.</p> <p><strong>Take a look at Lincoln's Stovepipe hat. Is it longer than it is wide?</strong></p> <p><img width="195" height="195" src="/files/fruganomics/u17/tophatillusion_copy.jpg" alt="top hat" title="top hat" /></p> <p>As you already know this is an optical illusion, then you already know the answer is a trick. The width and the height are identical. Now, replace that top hat with two glasses, one a tall thin glass and one short and fat. Here we have the issue of serving sizes when it comes to anything from juice to alcohol.</p> <p>Even seasoned bar staff have way more trouble pouring an accurate drink into a short glass than they do a tall one. Usually, they pour more into the short, fat glass. And this is a big problem when trying to pour yourself one serving of orange juice, milk or anything else. If you use the short glass you are always going to overpour, leading to larger portions, weight gain and, of course, less time between grocery trips. Now consider the next optical illusion.</p> <p><strong>Which white circle is larger? The left or the right?</strong></p> <p><img width="399" height="211" src="/files/fruganomics/u17/circles.jpg" alt="circles" title="circles" /></p> <p>Once again, it's all just a matter of perception. The circles are in fact identical in size. BUT, they look different due to their surroundings. The circle on the right is dwarfed by the large black circles, the one on the left overpowers them.</p> <p>This, when applied to food and plate sizes, is perhaps the most important change you can make to you home life. Serve your food on beautiful large plates and you will naturally serve yourself more of everything. Our animal brain wants to fill the plate, and we were always told to finish what was on our plates as children. But on a smaller plate, less food will fill it. Here's a quick example.</p> <p><img width="400" height="231" src="/files/fruganomics/u17/plates.jpg" alt="plates" title="plates" /></p> <p>Both food portions are identical in size. In studies Dr. Wansink performed, people ate what was in front of them and if it looked like more, they felt more full. In fact, one study involved a burger that was simply flattened out and placed inside a larger bun. Because it looked like a larger burger, the people in the study felt more satisfied.</p> <p>Now, if you are using the larger plates at home, chances are you're over-serving yourself on a nightly basis. That again means more calories per meal and more food to buy more often. It's not good for you, it's certainly not good for your wallet. And it can all be avoided by simply getting smaller plates (which to be honest are harder to find, but worth the effort. Dinner plates have significantly increased in size since the 1950's, no doubt to accommodate our growing demand for more food).</p> <p><strong>There's an old saying in cuisine...&quot;the first bite is with the eye.&quot;</strong></p> <p>I believe this to be true on many levels, and not just one of taste perception. If we see a bigger meal, we'll feel more full. If we see a big plate with a small amount of food, we're already thinking &quot;hmmm, that's not going to be enough.&quot; It's also worth noting that these days, time plays a big factor in our eating habits. Like the French, we all need to slow down and enjoy our food. Take longer, smaller mouthfuls. And above all, we need to let our bodies tell us when we are full, not signals like an empty plate or glass.</p> <p>As a Wise Bread reader, you're already smart about where you shop for your food. You also need to be smart about how you eat it. Smaller portions are better for your waistline and your wallet. Don't get fooled by optical illusions.</p> <p><img align="left" width="240" height="240" src="/files/fruganomics/u17/51TFRGSOMjL__AA240_.jpg" alt="Mindless Eating" title="Mindless Eating" /></p> <p><em>You can find a copy of Dr. Wansink's excellent book at Amazon (grab the paperback, it's cheaper.) I haven't even scratched the surface of the stories he tells about our mindless eating habits. An eye-opening read and well worth your time.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553384481?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0553384481">Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think</a><img width="1" height="1" alt="" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0553384481" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optical-illusions-that-make-you-fatter-and-your-wallet-lighter" class="sharethis-link" title="Optical Illusions That Make You Fatter and Your Wallet Lighter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink container diet eating Food glass illusion mindless eating plate Mon, 29 Oct 2007 18:02:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1332 at http://www.wisebread.com