If you are a reduce, reuse, recycle kind of person who enjoys finding ways to eliminate waste, it is likely that you are always looking for new ways to do so like using a banana peel as fertilizer. You probably enjoy finding new ways to upcycle things that cannot be recycled. Maybe you even compost. Besides composting there are a lot of surprising ways to use food waste that you might not have considered yet. If you are a lover of eliminating waste, try out some of these 4 uses for food waste instead of throwing it in the garbage next time.
Use a Banana Peel as Fertilizer
Rather than just tossing it, consider using that banana peel as a fertilizer first! There is no need to compost it or to have an outdoor garden. Simply save the peels from your bananas and chop them up into small pieces. Then, toss them into a bowl of water and mix. Let them soak for at least an hour, but longer if possible. Now use that banana-infused water to water your houseplants. Using a banana peel as fertilizer could not be any easier!
Using a banana peel as fertilizer makes sense because banana peels contain lots of nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. All of these nutrients are good for plant growth. When you soak a banana peel, the idea is that the nutrients are released into the water. Then when you pour that water onto the soil of your plants, they soak up all those nutrients. This sort of “banana tea” can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants.
The added bonus here is that it is cheap (bananas cost around $0.60 per pound and the peels are just going to go in the trash otherwise) and using a banana peel as fertilizer means your plants are free of any chemicals, unlike if you were using most store-bought fertilizers. If you do compost, after you are done using that banana peel as fertilizer, deposit it in the compost pile and give it an even longer life. If you do not compost and throw the soaked bits away, you can know that you got all the life you could out of that banana before discarding it.
As an alternate idea, rub the inside of a leftover banana peel on the leaves of your houseplants to clean them and leave them shiny. This will gently dust your plants without using any sort of potentially harsh cleaner and while getting a second use out of some food waste that would have just been tossed.
READ MORE: 10 Sustainable Living Practices to Reduce Your Family’s Environmental Impact
Repurpose Cucumber Peels into Fertilizer Too
Since you are already on board with using a banana peel as fertilizer, why not double down with some cucumber peel fertilizer too? For cucumber peel fertilizer, simply take your leftover cucumber peels and lay them out flat on a baking sheet. Bake them in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. They will come out black and burned – that is what you are looking for! Next, grind them up in a coffee grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle. You will end up with something that kind of looks like dirt.
Sprinkle the cucumber dirt right on the soil of your houseplants. It is full of potassium and phosphorus, which your plants will love. Imagine how lush and brilliant your plants will look when they are reaping the benefits of your using that banana peel as fertilizer and those cucumber peels too!
READ MORE: Ways to Live Zero Waste at Home
Make a Face Mask out of an Avocado Pit
Instead of throwing away the avocado pit when you make your avocado toast, save it to make an antioxidant-rich face mask. Start by chopping up the pit a little. Then throw the pieces in a blender or food processor. The pit is actually pretty soft inside, so do not worry about it messing up your blender. Set the ground avocado pit aside. Next, separate the egg white from the yolk of one egg. Beat the egg white in a mixer until it becomes fluffy and it holds a peak (about 2 minutes). Mix the avocado powder with the egg white.
Applying your homemade face mask to your face and neck immediately. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes. You will feel it harden during this time. When the time is up, wash off the mask. You will see results right away. Your face will look clean and smooth, and it will feel super smooth.
It is best used immediately, but you can store any leftover mask in the fridge for up to a week. Or have a little spa night and invite a friend over to share your luxurious avocado mask.
READ MORE: 5 Steps to a Glowing No Make-Up Look
Make Chalk with Eggshells
Instead of throwing away your used eggshells, use them to make sidewalk chalk! Start by washing and drying four to five eggshells, removing the thin membrane from inside the eggshells if possible. Next, crush the eggshells as finely as you can in a food processor or an old coffee grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Set aside. In a bowl, mix one teaspoon of flour and one teaspoon of hot water until it becomes a paste.
Next, add a tablespoon of eggshell powder to your paste. Add a few drops of food coloring if you want to make colored chalk! Mix until combined. Shape the mixture into a log. If it will not shape, add a little more water until it is moldable.
To dry your chalk, use one of the following two methods. You can wrap the piece of chalk in a piece of paper towel and let it sit for three to five days. If the chalk starts to crumble when you try to use it, let the chalk sit for another day or two. For a faster method, place the chalk on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 150 degrees for 90 minutes before letting the chalk sit for an additional 24 hours to finish drying.
If you have extra eggshells, you can save them and add them to the pot when making bone broth to add extra calcium. Or you can crush them up and add the bits to your bird feeder to give the neighborhood birds a little extra calcium that they will love.
READ MORE: Moral Development and Why “Heartschooling” is the New and Improved Homeschooling
Don’t Throw Out That Spoiled Milk
When milk goes bad and it smells sour, your first instinct is to pour it down the drain but hold on just a second. Expired milk can actually be used for a number of things that you probably did not realize. Instead of pouring that old milk down the kitchen sink drain, consider flushing it down the toilet if you have a septic tank instead. The enzymes in spoiled milk can help clean the septic tank.
Other things expired milk can be used for include as a deer repellent in your garden. Just pour it around your plants to save them from those nibbling deer. It is also another great fertilizer. Pour expired milk at the base of your plants or in your garden.
From using a banana peel as fertilizer to making chalk from eggshells to protecting your garden from deer with spoiled milk, there are all sorts of ways that food waste can be put to use. Reduce your waste and live more sustainably by applying any of these uses for food waste to your kitchen. They are all super useful ideas that can benefit your home. Reduce, reuse, recycle and reap all kinds of benefits.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on How to Create a Simple Indoor Garden and Gather Wellness Benefits.
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Sources: Real Science: Eggshell Sidewalk Chalk