Most of the material filling our landfills is organic matter, such as food waste. When that material gets buried in the dump, it decomposes anaerobically and releases methane, a greenhouse gas 25x more harmful than carbon dioxide. Food waste isn’t just that two-week old leftover lasagna that you’re forced to throw away, it’s also the fruit and vegetable peels, rinds, and end pieces that we all routinely throw away. There are a number of ways you can repurpose these scraps in the kitchen and around the house.
Bones from meat can be put to use for making stock. Just slip them in the freezer and save them for some stock later! Vegetable scraps and tops can also be added to this!
If you can some limp or wilted veggies, they can be easily revived in cold water. They can also be chopped and thrown into a soup, and the wilted shape will soon be forgotten.
Stale bread is also frequently thrown away when it need not be. It can easily be put in the grinder to make breadcrumbs and then be saved for later. You can also cut it in squares and microwave them. After cooling, you have croutons! Croutons can be added to soups, salads, and a variety of other dishes.
Lettuce hearts can be used to grow more lettuce!
A similar trick is applicable for pineapple tops. They can be used to grow more pineapples!
Instead of making a traditional basil and parmesan pesto, make a waste-free pesto by blending green carrot tops and radishes with nuts and garlic. This can be an impressive dish that’s quite flavorful. Macadamias pair especially well with carrot and radish tops.
Stinky garbage disposal? Add some citrus zest or peels to improve the scent!
Some last bits of jam left with not quite enough to use it for anything? Add equal parts of oil and vinegar to make a great salad dressing!
Apple peels can be added to hot water to make a tasty tea. The acid in apples also makes a great cleaner. Fill a dirty pan with water and add apple peels. Let the water simmer in the pot on the stove for 20 minutes, and rinse afterwards.
Potatoes are delicious, but potato peels can be, too! Throw them in the over with oil and seasonings like salt and pepper for a great snack! You can sprinkle them with cheese as well.
Squeezed lemon halves can be scrubbed over the stovetop for sparkly clean.
Pickle juice from jars should always be saved. Add leftover veggies to the jar, and keep it closed and refrigerated. Marinated vegetables will taste like a great snack, and can be used for a crudité platter as well!
Peels of cucumber have properties that can help your skin moisturize. Add them to your bathwater to help dry or itchy skin.
Do you have milk that’s expired? There are many uses for it.
- Before rinsing your silverware with warm water, soak them in some expired sour milk for a shiny clean.
- Enzymes in sour milk can help clean your septic tank, and if you have one, pour it down into the toilet!
- Sour milk can also be used as a deer repellent in your garden!
- Pouring sour milk at the base of your plants or garden will make it act like a great fertilizer!
- Sour milk is actually a frequently used ingredient for several dishes. For some ideas and inspiration, click here.
You’ll be surprised to know that there are several uses for banana peels:
Banana peels make for excellent compost, and add many rich nutrients in the soil.
- They can be rubbed on your teeth to whiten them (substances like manganese, magnesium, and potassium whiten the enamel). They have potential to cure acne if rubbed on it.
- Rubbing them on dry skin can help moisturize it.
- Try applying a banana peel to an area where you have a splinter, and hold it there for a while. This will assist the process of easing out the splinter from your skin.
Try using these tips and tricks to reuse food scraps and waste. Do your part in food waste reduction. When no other options are available, always compost your food scraps! Not sure how? Here’s a useful guide.