What is the proper way to reduce, reuse, and recycle food waste?
We have all heard the phrase “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” This phrase is most commonly associated with handling things like plastic, paper, and metal. However, this phrase and way of thinking should also be associated with the food we eat, or rather, the food we don’t eat. Keep reading to discover how to reduce, reuse, and recycle food waste.
Upcycle Food Waste
Upcycling food waste is a great way to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. This can be beneficial for the environment as it’ll reduce the production of methane and carbon emissions, which happens when organic material gets mixed with other types of garbage.
[Upcycling food] can also save money by making the most out of the food you buy. Some tips and examples for upcycling food waste include:
● Make Broth– When you’re chopping vegetables, don’t throw away the scraps. Instead, use them to make a flavorful vegetable broth, which you can use later for cooking. Save the scraps in a container or a bag in the freezer until you have enough to make a batch.
Once you’ve collected enough, simmer the scraps in water with herbs and spices for several hours. Strain the broth and use it in soups, stews, and other recipes.
Similarly, you can use citrus zests to flavor recipes like baked goods, marinades, and dressings. Use a zester or a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the fruit, chop it finely and store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
● Make Bread Crumbs– If you’ve accumulated some stale bread, you don’t have to throw it away. Cut the bread into cubes, or grind it into crumbs, and bake it in the oven with olive oil and herbs until it’s crispy. Afterward, you can use the croutons to top salads and soups and the breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish dishes.
● Make Smoothies– Don’t throw vegetables away if they are starting to wilt or go soft. Instead, use them in smoothies. Chop the vegetables and add them to your blender along with fruits and liquid such as milk. Adding other ingredients like protein powder or nut butter will make your smoothies even tastier.
● Compost– Composting is an affordable way to nourish your plants and reduce household waste. Luckily, even if you don’t have a yard or live in a small apartment, you can still take up the practice and reap its benefits indoors.
Even if you don’t have a compost bin, you can save vegetable and fruit scraps in a container and take them to a local community composting program or drop-off location.
You can store a composting bin in any dark and dry space, such as a basement, closet, or under the kitchen sink. It’s up to you to decide what method of composting suits you better, but the best ones for indoor spaces are vermicomposting and Bokashi.
Homemade compost has many uses. It can be spread over potting soil and used as mulch for your plants. Combining one part potting soil with two parts compost makes a great, nutrient-rich soil that can serve as the perfect base for starting a vegetable garden.
When collecting the compost out of the bin, you can also use any liquid collected in the tray below it. Dilute it with ten parts water and fill it in a spray bottle. It’ll make a perfect spray for nourishing houseplants.
If you don’t have a way to use your ready compost, you can always share it with neighbors, friends, and relatives who garden or compost. Or [you can] donate it to local farms or animal sanctuaries.
● Grow Food From Scraps– Some types of food waste can be used to grow new plants. For example, you can regrow celery from the base of the stalk, new potatoes from sprouted ones, or plant garlic cloves that have started to sprout.
You can also grow herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro from cuttings. All you have to do is place the cuttings in water until they root and then plant them in some soil.
● Make Tea– Some food waste can be made into tea used to water plants. For example, banana peels, eggshells, or vegetable scraps make an excellent, nutrient-rich tea. Steep the food waste in water for a few days, then strain out the solids and use the liquid to water your plants.
● Deodorize Your House– A great way to make your whole house smell incredible is a stovetop simmer from food leftovers. You can do it in a pot or a slow cooker.
Fill your vessel halfway with water, and add any combination of ingredients with scents you like, such as leftover orange, lemon, or other citrus peels. You can also add cinnamon, cloves, vanilla extract, lavender, etc. Bring it to a boil or heat your slow cooker on low.
If you go for the slow cooker, let it sit and simmer all day. If you’re doing it in a pan, bring it down to a simmer once it has boiled and let it stay like that for a couple of hours. Make sure to watch the pot on the stove while the slow cooker can be left unattended.
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