Food waste is a HUGE deal. Did you know that 30-50% of the food produced for human consumption gets wasted globally each year?! That equates to 4 billion tons of food waste per year. Yikes! That's roughly 2 billion elephants of waste that we could avoid having go into our landfills and oceans.
As a kid, I grew up in a household that stressed finishing dinner. Having parents that lived in post WWII Poland, I can understand the scarcity they must have faced with food. Having that instilled in me, I found it a useful mindset when I transitioned into zero-waste living.
One of the things I do to reduce food waste is composting. Seattle has it a part of their waste management program, so just like we have recycling bins, we have a nice green compost bin that our biodegradable get tossed into. If you don't have a city wide composting program, you can still compost your scraps for gardening fertilizer for your own backyard.
Before you toss your items in the compost, did you know that you can give many of these food scraps a second life? It not only prolongs the life, but gives you more value for these items. Here are some clever ideas for reusing your food waste.
Coffee grounds have multiple reuses. Mixed with a bit of coconut oil, they are great body scrubs, exfoliating and firming your skin. The grounds can also be used to fertilize outdoor plants in your veggie or flower gardens as coffee contains nitrogen (which plants love).
Bananas are known for their potassium, but did you know their peels also contain this mineral? This is great for making a fertilizing tea for your house plants. Just add a peel into a jar of water and leave it for three days to infuse. Banana peels also make great face masks due to this, but also B6, Vitamins A and C. Just rub the peel on your face for fresh, hydrating skin.
Have some wine that's gone bad? Turn it into wine vinegar. Add three parts wine to one part vinegar and let this sit for a month. If it's just a couple days old, you can use this for cooking as well.
Use citrus peels such as orange and lemon for tons of DIY cleaning products. It's also great for a natural skin toner due to its low PH, brightening the face and removing sun spots. Just rub the inside of the peel on your face and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Citrus peels when dried are a pleasant smelling addition to potpourri bags too!
Food scraps hold a variety of possibilities. You can use stalks (such as broccoli and kale) for green juices. Potato peels, onion ends, chard stalks, and other vegetable scraps are great for making vegetable soup stock. If you're feeling extra crafty, you can use scraps such as onion peels and red cabbage and beet ends for natural clothing dye.
Used tea bags are great for various reasons. Aside from being good for your skin (use them instead of cucumbers for soothing dark eyes), you can resteep old tea bags and use the weak tea to polish your wood furniture. You can also dry the tea bags out to use for firestarters.
Bread that's going stale? If it's still got some squish, you can make french toast or add it to french onion soup. Hard as a brick? Add it to a grinder/processor to make some breadcrumbs. Store in an air tight container for future recipes.
For more holistic home and EcoSpiritual living tips (including zero-waste hacks), be sure to follow Honey Lune Hivery.
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