If you’re an avid home cook (or even just an occasional home cook), you know that cooking yields a LOT of waste! While we may not think that all of that waste is useable, there are surprisingly many ways to repurpose waste and limit how much you produce. Keep reading to see how you can make the most of your products and save a little money!
Coffee grounds are typically thrown away, but did you know that they can be used for various purposes? Here are just a few of the many ways coffee grounds can be reused:
- Natural exfoliant: coffee is an excellent skin exfoliator! Just mix your used grounds with the oil of your choice (coconut, vitamin E, jojoba oil) and use it during your next shower.
- Freshen up your pets: gently rub 1-2 cups of grounds into your pets’ fur during their next bath. It’s known to help kill fleas and freshen up their coat!
- Bug repellant: ants and snails hate the smell of coffee, making it a great repellant! Sprinkle some grounds around your garden or any outside area where you don’t want bugs.
- Neutralize odors: coffee is an excellent odor neutralizer! You can occasionally put grounds into your sink’s garbage disposal to get rid of odors (not too often, once a week or less). Dried grounds can also be placed in an open container in your refrigerator to help absorb unsightly odors.
Use Smart Containers
The biggest reason why fruits and vegetables spoil quickly is that they aren’t being stored properly! Each produce item has a different way they like to be stored. Utilizing the fruit and vegetable crisper in your refrigerator is a great way to keep your produce fresher longer. The crisper alters the drawers’ humidity, making it suitable for fruits or vegetables (there is typically a setting you can place it on). If you’re running out of storage or don’t have a crisper, there are smart produce containers with special ventilation caps that help keep your produce fresh. While these are unnecessary, they can help expand their shelf life, leading to less food being thrown away! Check out one of our recent blogs on how to store certain Produce Items!
Saying Goodbye to Single-Use Items
We’ve all become used to the idea of single-use products, especially in the kitchen. We think that resuing may be unsanitary, but many companies have created reusable items that can help limit how much waste we make! Here are a few examples of our most-used things:
- Coffee filters: Instead of using a new filter every day, coffee filters buy a reusable filter that can be easily cleaned and reused!
- Straws: one-time use straws can be disastrous for the environment (save the turtles)! While many restaurants and shops have opted for paper or bamboo straws (biodegradable), we can make a difference at home. Using reusable plastic or metal straws lets you enjoy your drink all the same, without hurting the environment.
- Cleaning clothes: using a paper towel seems like the best way to clean a kitchen counter, but in reality, it’s a very wasteful habit. Using reusable microfiber clothes not only gets the job done but also saves paper (which means fewer trips to the store to buy a huge pack of paper towels and napkins).
- Sponges: sponges do last a while, but eventually, they get thrown out. Several companies have developed eco-friendly, biodegradable sponges that do the job just as well (if not better) than regular sponges! Other companies have also developed microfiber sponges that work wonderfully and can easily be thrown into the washing machine to a throughout cleaning.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is great for the environment and your wallet! Try buying your pantry items in bulk (ex. Oats, cereals, grains) and putting small amounts in reusable containers for easy access. This uses substantially less plastic and saves your trip to the grocery store. Most pantry items have long shelf lives, making it perfectly okay to keep it in your back pantry or storage for a while. Some grocery stores even allow you to purchase items and place them in your container. They have a refill station filled with grains, oats, nuts, and seeds, allowing you to refill your reusable storage container without using any plastic.
Composting can be challenging to start and harder to maintain. If you’re still looking to do your part by minimizing waste but don’t feel comfortable composting, use any of these tips to make a difference in the environment and your home!