Reusing and Refilling
I realize I several of my recent posts have been more on the negative aspects of the country (from my perspective). So, I thought I would point out something that I love about here, so that you do not get the impression that I think this country is full of patriarchal males who walk around pulling their woman by the long hair they aren't allowed to cut while gnawing on raw baby birds.
One thing America could learn from this country is the art of reusing products and refilling plastic bottles rather than throwing them away and buying a new one. Here, in a country with no regulated or mandatory recycling programs, they reuse and refill what they can, and there is significant incentives price-wise to encourage people to go that route.
The first time I bought dish washing liquid here, I bought the standard medium sized bottle with the squeeze lid that we are used to. I think it cost about 80 pesos. When it was almost gone, I was scanning the shelves for the same stuff and saw that right underneath the bottles are packets of the same volume but they are little pouches for refilling. It was only about 27 pesos. A significant price difference for reusing. The products I have seen in America (like fabric softner) that have refills are almost as much as the original bottle, so people don't really have an incentive.
I will try to continue with this trend when we go home. I realized that in many areas, I paid more for things just because it was more convenient and we can afford it. I didn't buy refills (although I'm not sure they are widely available in the U.S.), and I bought much of my food at the Whole Foods counter already prepared. Maybe it is better to not fill my schedule up with so many appointments that I have the hour or two on a weekend to mix the cleaners, prepare my food, and get ready for the week, like I do here.
At a minimum, we'll go for a happy medium... I really do like the Whole Foods counter ;-)