10 Clever Ways to Make Use of Common Food Waste

Surely you’re familiar with that old saying “Waste not, want not.” Almost just as surely, you don’t consistently adhere to the wisdom of this old adage. Americans are notorious for wasting food, we throw away 40 percent of the food produced in this country. While you would think that restaurants and institutions would be the ones tossing the most out, it turns out that most of America’s food waste is generated right in our very own homes.

Why is this? Well, partially this trend can be attributed to our tendency to buy more than we actually eat. Sometimes though things just disappear mysteriously into that dark back corner of the fridge. Other times we just aren’t sure how to properly store certain foods and, as a result, they go bad more quickly than they should.

Despite our shortcomings in the United States, most of these habits of food loss are an easy fix. Help your wallet and our environment by getting creative with your food scraps. No longer will you have food waste. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your path to food waste reduction.

1. Dry Bread

Dry bread is most definitely not wasted food. In fact, it is the perfect excuse to add breadcrumbs to your next dish. Just grind up your dry bread in a food processor and store food in an airtight container.

2. Watermelon Rinds

Sure, the pink part of the watermelon is your favorite, but that’s only because you haven’t tried the rind yet. Watermelon rind makes excellent, tangy pickles that can be added to your tuna, chicken, or fresh green salads. Just plan to make this a few days ahead. 

Get a recipe here.

3. Bones

Leftover bones are the key ingredient in homemade stocks and broths. Especially if you like bone broth, making your own will save you a pretty penny and the result will be that much fresher.

4. Cucumber Peels

Cucumbers can flavor your water, but the leftover peels are also great to toss into the bath water to help soothe itches and irritation.

5. Citrus Peels

Sweet stuff ? #candiedorangepeel #f52grams

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Besides being delicious when they’re candied, citrus peels are also an easy solution to freshen up your kitchen. Just throw them down the garbage disposal and grind up. They’ll leave your kitchen smelling deliciously fresh.

Get a recipe for candied orange peels here.

6. Apple Peels

Apple peels are great stain removers in the kitchen. The acid in the peels is strong enough to remove stains from pots and pans.

All you have to do is fill the stained pot with water and apple peels before you let it simmer on the stove for 20 to 30 min.  

7. Banana Peels

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Surprise, surprise. Once you’ve eaten your banana, you can then use the peel to shine your shoes. Just rub the inside of it on the leather and then use a rag to buff off the residue.

8. Leftover Lemons

Lemons are great for almost everything. In particular, you can sprinkle a little salt on the sliced side and use them to scrub and sanitize your countertops.

9. Coffee Grounds

Leftover coffee grounds make great beauty products. Because they’re already ground up, they make an excellent exfoliant, and their caffeine content does wonders for tightening your skin.

Learn how to make a coffee scrub here.

10. Eggshells

Eggshells have so many uses. Among the novel ways in which you can repurpose them is grinding them up into a calcium-rich eggshell powder that you can add to your smoothies.

Or you can use them to start your seeds in. That way you can just plant the whole eggshell with the sprouts and consider it a biodegradable planter.