Living a healthier lifestyle and making more of your meals at home comes with an often-overlooked consequence: more food waste. You may end up with leftover peels, stalks of vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, and bones that you toss in the trash. Fortunately, all of these things can be repurposed and reused!
This article will discuss a few easy ways to be more environmentally friendly by using leftover scraps from meal prep.
How to reduce food waste and be environmentally friendly
Allow them to dry out overnight then finely crush them. Spread them in your garden as a natural calcium supplement for your soil.
Mix your coffee grounds with coconut oil in a 1-to-1 ratio for an excellent exfoliating facial mask. For example, mix one tablespoon coffee grounds with one tablespoon solid coconut oil. This simple homemade made will leave your skin glowing!
Coffee grounds can also be used as an abrasive cleaner for hard-to-clean dishes.
Scrub your shoes with a fresh banana peel for a shiny finish. Wipe your shoes clean with a dry cloth.
Banana peels can also be cleaned, boiled, and blended with other fruits to increase the fiber content of your next smoothie.
Make a fresh-smelling cleaner by using 2-3 orange peels and 2 cups of vinegar.
First, put the orange peels and vinegar in a glass jar and allow the mixture to sit for 2-3 weeks. Then, remove the peels and put the remaining liquid in a spray bottle. Use on counter tops, bathroom sinks, or wherever needs a fresh clean!
You can also grind them in your garbage disposal for a fresh scent or hang them in breathable bags to combat musty odor in your closets.
Broccoli and cauliflower stalks
Grate them into shreds and stir them into steamed rice or pasta dishes, use as a base for coleslaw, or sprinkle over salads for added fiber and nutrients.
Allow them to dry out, crush them, and add them to your bird feeder or sprinkle in your garden.
There are so many uses for brewed tea bags. Here are a few of my favorite options:
- Hang a couple of bags in your pasta water or rice water to provide a flavor to your favorite grains.
- Allow them to dry out, put a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil on them, and hang as an air freshener.
- Place the moist leaves around the base of your plants to help repel pests and fertilize your plants.
Leftover bones can be boiled for 1-2 hours with vegetable scraps, herbs, and spices to make a homemade broth or soup. Freeze any extra broth in 2 cup portions to be used with our next suggestion!
Reinvent your leftovers by tossing them into your favorite broth. This works with grains, meats, vegetables, and beans. Add fresh herbs and spices for enhanced flavors!
Composting food waste is also an option. However, there is more to it than just throwing all your food scraps into a heap or bucket. We’ll talk about composting in a future article.
Overall, have fun reducing your food waste and finding new ways to repurpose your scraps! For more ways to be environmentally friendly and make your grocery budget go further, check out EPA.gov.