From Garbage to Good-ness!


As I cleaned up from cooking a big Sunday breakfast—tossing eggshells down the disposal and putting a second filter-full of coffee grounds in the trash—I wondered how many of these food waste items go to the landfill, if not down the drain. And were there practical uses for what we typically consider trash? A search uncovered a multitude of surprising uses for these two food waste items as well as many others (think apple cores, for instance).

Get cracking with these ideas.

Mixed with a little soapy water, ground eggshells make a powerful, non-toxic abrasive for hard to clean pots and pans.

Drop an eggshell into a small container of apple cider vinegar, let it soak for a couple of days, then dab the mixture on itchy skin and skin irritations for a soothing effect.

Make your own sidewalk chalk and let the kids draw to their hearts’ content. Finely grind 5-8 eggshells, add 1 teaspoon each hot water and flour, and add food coloring. Mix the ingredients and pack the mixture into toilet tissue rolls (another use for these cardboard tubes) and let it dry.

Crush eggshells and scatter them around flowers and vegetables to keep away slugs, snails and cutworms. These critters don’t like crawling over the sharp edges. And the smell of the eggs also helps deter deer.

In addition eggshells can be used to restore glow to your skin when used as a facial mask, start seedlings for the garden, create calcium and mineral supplements for people and pets, take the bitterness out of brewed coffee, and as a first aid treatment.

Banana peels can be amazing, and we typically readily toss them away. Don’t let these ideas slip by!

Peels make a great shoe polish. Rub the peel over your shoe and then buff with a white cloth for a like-new look shine.

Add a ripe banana peel to your next roast and it will add just enough moisture to help ensure that meat doesn’t get too dry.

Bury banana peels around your roses and other plants that attract aphids and you’ll deter the pesky aphids from coming around.

When planting tomato starts wrap a banana peel around the base and the plant will enjoy the nutrients from the peel as it grows.

Banana peels can also be used for acne, hemorrhoids, polishing silver, tooth whitening, splinter removal, as a dry skin remedy, and in cooking.

Typically destined for the trash, a search over the Internet will net you an array of ideas and directions for using food waste items, creating more good-ness and less garbage.

By Kristal MacDough. A resident of Tucson, Arizona, Kristal is a regular contributor to, and an author.

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