5 Ways To Use Your Food & Household Waste Wisely
In one of our recent podcast episodes, our guest Samata, CEO of Red Carpet, Green Dress reminded us that waste is only waste if you waste it. As we strive to lead a more zero waste lifestyle, we are continually learning useful hacks and have recently discovered that a lot of household and food waste can actually be put to good use and given a second purpose! Here Creative Editor, Grace shares 5 simple and easy ways you can use your waste wisely.
1. Citrus Peel Surface Cleaner
Household cleaning products are one of the biggest sources of waste we produce in our homes, especially as a lot of these kinds of products come packaged in plastic. Not to mention some of the harsh chemicals in conventional cleaning products have been found to irritate or cause sensitive skin problems like eczema and even respiratory problems like asthma [Source: Tincture London].
Whilst we love to refill our cleaning products, making your own, natural version is also a wonderful, economic and sustainable way to use up citrus food waste and cut back on plastic – simply by mixing your citrus peels and distilled white vinegar. This video by Bon Appetit offers an easy step by step guide of how to make your own organic citrus all purpose cleaner at home.
2. Exfoliating Coffee Body Scrub
We are big coffee drinkers at the REV office, preferably French press/cafetiere style, but this means we are left with a lot of coffee grounds just from our morning pot. Whilst the coffee grounds can be composted with your food waste we have recently discovered a much better way to use them – making our own natural coffee body scrub.
Simply by mixing coffee grounds with a plant based oil (such as jojoba, Argan, hemp seed, sweet almond) you can make an effective, zero waste body scrub that really helps to exfoliate the skin. I especially love using mine in the morning as the aroma of coffee really helps to make me feel awake and revitalised.
I like to use the ratio of about 2 parts coffee grounds to 1 part oil. Keep your scrub in the fridge and use within 2-3 days. Some of my friends don’t even drink coffee, but they are always asking me to save the grounds so they can make their own scrub!
3. Zero Waste Vegetable Stock
Even if you’re composting them, vegetable peels and ends don’t necessarily have to go to waste! The lovely Alexandra Dudley recently shared with us how to make your own vegetable stock at home as part of her editorial all about sustainable cooking. Read the complete editorial here.
Alexandra’s recipe: Keep hold of your vegetable peelings until you have at least a cereal bowl full. Place into a saucepan, cover with water and simmer slowly for 1-2 hours. Use for risottos, broth and noodle dishes, soups and stews. Or keep it in the freezer and save it for later.
4. Add Egg Shells To Compost
Egg shells are very beneficial when added to your compost pile as they help to add the vitamins and calcium back in to the soil [Source: Mama Bee’s Farm]. So if you grow your own produce at home or have a compost pile, we recommend putting some of your egg shells to use here rather than straight into the food waste. If you’re feeling particularly green fingered, Mama Bee’s Farm has also written a guide to starting seeds in egg shells.
5. Dry Your Flowers!
Taking one look around the REV office, and it is pretty obvious we are huge lovers of dried flowers! Drying is a beautiful and simple way to preserve flowers and can be especially sentimental if the flowers were given at a special time in your life.
To dry your flowers, use a piece of string to tie your bunch together, I like to remove some of the leaves before doing so. Hang them upside down in a dry, (preferably) darkened space for about 1 to 3 weeks or until they are dry and ready to put on display.
Note: not all flowers dry as well as others. Our favourite kinds of flowers to dry include lavender, roses, eucalyptus and gypsophila.