Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
It’s the mantra of living green. And one of the primary ways we literally leave our mark on the planet is by how much waste we create and what we do with it.
Thankfully, most major cities in Texas have extensive recycling depots that help its citizens to recycle paper, glass, and plastic. But what should you do with your food waste? Since it shouldn’t ALL go in the garbage, we’ve gathered seven tips on how you can keep your food waste out of the landfill, while simultaneously nurturing other areas of your life!
1) Eggshells in the Garden
How many eggs do you consume each week? I would estimate that I personally eat six per week, which adds up to more than 300 a year. With those numbers, think of all the eggshells nationwide that go into the landfills!
Instead of throwing them away, use your eggshells as seed starter pods. Start your sprouts in the eggshell halves, and then plant them into the soil. The shell will disintegrate over time.
If you’re a gardener and are having problems with snails and slugs, simply crush up your eggshells into pieces and sprinkle them around the base of the affected plants. The sharp edges are abrasive on the sensitive foot of a mollusk, forcing it to search elsewhere for easier dining.
2) Banana Peels
As a child, I always stuffed my banana peels into my mother’s giant staghorn ferns, an act which seemed perfectly normal at the time, but in hindsight, it probably looked weird to my friends.
Well, my mother was onto something. Loaded with potassium, banana peels are great for your garden! Cut your peels into small pieces, and layer them between the tree and the basal front of a staghorn. You can also add leftover banana peels to the soil around your rose bushes.
3) Coffee Grounds
Humans aren’t the only living creatures that love coffee. Since coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, you can’t dump then on just any plant. You need to select species that love nitrogen, such as camellias, roses, tomatoes, spinach, azaleas, and rhododendrons. It’s also said that coffee grounds are a deterrent to garden pests.
The ultimate way to turn your waste into treasure is by composting all your vegetable and fruit scraps. Composting is the act of turning two types of waste – nitrogen (vegetable and fruit scraps) with carbon (dead leaves, grass cuttings or pine needles – into what gardeners deem black gold.
Over time, a chemical reaction breaks down the waste into nutrient-rich matter for your soil and plants. It’s important to have your compost pile in an area where you can turn it regularly. It enjoys the warm sun and needs to occasionally be wetted down to stay moist, encouraging that chemical breakdown.
5) Old Stale Bread
Old loaves of stale bread can easily be turned into the most delicious homemade bread pudding. Layer your slices of bread with butter, raisins and dried apricots for even more decadence.
But if dessert isn’t your thing, head on down to the local duck pond and feed the ducks! Life is busy, and doing something like feeding ducks will transport you for a moment in time. Doesn’t that sound zen?
6) Scraps for the Chickens
If you’re lucky enough to have chickens, then you know they love food scraps! Stick with bread, rice, corn, oats, vegetable and fruit scraps only.
If you don’t have chickens, maybe your neighbors do, and you could work out a trade. For a week’s worth of old food scraps, you get a half-dozen free range eggs!
If you cooked up a feast over the weekend, but by Tuesday, you just can’t stomach eating yet another piece of homemade lasagna, consider bringing some for your child’s teacher! Teachers are moms and dads just like you, and with their time and energy stretched thin, they appreciate a home-cooked meal that didn’t come from their kitchen. Just check if the teacher has any allergies first before sending food to school with your child.
If you don’t have children, you can offer a meal to an elderly neighbor or your friends at work. Your younger co-workers who eat out for lunch every day will appreciate eating food that didn’t come from a menu. Ultimately, the point is to keep your unwanted leftovers and other food waste OUT of the trash.