When we say “food waste,” we mean uneaten food, whether it’s spoiled or merely good food thrown away. In the United States alone, 80 billion pounds of food gets squandered every year— making us the global leader in food waste! This misuse of resources has a ripple effect on our environment and economy, contributing to climate change and the cost of cultivating food only for it to be tossed out.
It’s easy to spiral into pessimism when faced with global problems that feel too big to tackle. Still, there are ways to offset our impact on the environment without the overwhelming sense of dread! Begin by asking yourself, what are you doing with your food waste? Many people have begun composting their kitchen scraps, expiring food, or even leftovers (excluding animal products) to decrease their carbon footprint. Besides composting, our favorite method of making great use of kitchen scraps is finding creative ways to use them!
Citrus Peels Have Deodorizing Effects
Baking soda or vinegar works great, but did you know you could use citrus peels to deodorize the refrigerator or dishwasher? It’s not only effective, but smells much better! Getting a hint of lemon or orange every time you open the fridge for a snack will be a welcome surprise.
*Tip: Stinky garbage disposals could use a peel or two thrown in to spread the citrus scent and neutralize whatever may have been disposed of recently.
These Veggies Can Be Easily Regrown
There is no end to what can be done when it comes to regrowing vegetables— if you have the proper setup, you could have an infinite supply! The easiest vegetables to regrow without using soil are leeks, scallions, spring onions, and fennel. When cut, place the white root of all four veggies in some water on a sunny windowsill. Once the green leafy part grows back, feel free to trim as needed for cooking, and leave the white root in the water to continue growing.
*Tip: Change the water every 3-5 days to keep it fresh.
DIY Vegetable Stock
The vegetable trimmings or spoiling produce you’re left with can be more than just compost! Throw all of these things into a boiling pot with a little bit of salt and pepper to make your own vegetable stock— the more veggies, the better.
*Tip: It’ll last in the fridge (up to 1 week) and the freezer (up to 3 months).
Begin With a Scrap Bag in Your Freezer
With all the great things you can do with your kitchen scraps, it’s easiest to start by adding a few containers to your freezer to fill with anything leftover from cooking. It’ll give you some time to decide what you can use your scraps for, and give you lots of options for future uses!