So much of the food produced in the US ends up going to waste. In fact, food waste in the US is estimated to be between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply. This situation isn’t just resulting in wasted money and natural resources. Our food waste often ends up in landfills, where it begins to produce methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Thankfully, there are ways to significantly reduce food waste at home.
Once you understand where your garbage ends up and how it impacts the environment, you’ll be more motivated than ever to recycle food waste. That’s why we’ve created a guide filled with food waste recycling methods and useful resources that simplify everything.
If you’re not sure what to do with food waste at home, there are plenty of methods for you to choose from.
What to do with food waste: 10 ways to recycle food scraps
Once you know what to do with leftover food waste, you can begin living a much more rewarding and sustainable lifestyle. There are plenty of methods to accommodate your interests, needs, budget, and living situation. So, what can we do with food waste? Whether you're drawn to an efficient kitchen composter or fun DIY recipes, we have all the info you need down below.
1. Create beauty products
Did you know you could create DIY beauty products using food you’d normally just throw away? You can, for example, use the juice from a lemon to brighten your nails and pass on some vitamin C to promote nail growth. You can also make your own natural exfoliant using organic waste like fine old coffee grounds or sugar.
2. Backyard composting
Backyard composting is a fantastic way to dispose of fruit scraps, veggies, egg shells, coffee grounds, and more. You can also use the pile for grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste. All you have to do is dump the waste in the pile and turn it every few days so the oxygen can help break everything down into usable compost.
There are plenty of ways to go about composting. You could look into worm composting, also known as vermicomposting. If you’re understandably squeamish about dealing with worms, you could simply make a designated compost pile using wood pallets. If you don’t have enough yard space, you could ask to use a neighbor’s compost pile or look into buying an electric composter.
3. Composting with Lomi
Your kitchen waste has the potential to become a natural fertilizer that you can add to gardens and potted plants. Thankfully, all you need to unlock that potential is a Lomi electric composter. Lomi uses heat, abrasion, and oxygen to break down a wide range of Lomi Approved certified compostables, including cotton tea bags, banana peels, eggs, rinds, coffee grounds, and so much more.
So, why choose Lomi over a non-electric compost bin? Unlike basic compost buckets, Lomi has a carbon filter to ensure that unfortunate odors don’t escape into your kitchen. This composter is also compact, quiet, and incredibly efficient, as it can transform your waste into nutrient rich dirt in less than a day. There are plenty of other ways to use Lomi dirt - all of which are straightforward and eco-friendly.
4. Prepare more food
Why send your household waste to municipal solid waste landfills when you could turn them into even more food! If you don’t know what to do with food waste at home, it’s time to start looking up some fun recipes. There are plenty of cookbooks and videos out there to help you convert your leftovers into something new and delicious.
Food scraps have the potential to be transformed into all kinds of flavorful meals and snacks. Apple peels and cores can be turned into an amazing apple jelly and carrot peels can be added to a broth. Of course, fruits and vegetables aren’t the only foods that can be given new life in the kitchen. You can also use stale bread to create your own croutons!
5. Make the most of herbs
There are lots of things that you can do with leftover herbs. There’s no reason not to use every part of them, including their ends and stems. You can dry these leftover bits and use them to create spice blends, as they’ll retain their flavor. You can also use them to make different kinds of oils and butters.
6. Put scraps in the green bin
One simple solution for disposing of household waste is to use your green bin. If you live in a city that offers a green bin program, you should definitely take advantage of it. This program reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfills, as it’s diverting organic waste to composting plants or an organic waste recycling center.
A wide variety of organic waste can go into the green bin. This includes food scraps and yard waste like leaves and grass clippings. If you’d like to learn more about where green bin waste goes and the challenges related to green bin waste collection, check out the informative article offered on our website.
7. Regrow your vegetables
If you have any interest in gardening, you may want to look into regrowing your vegetables. Seeds and pits of vegetables that would normally be thrown out can be used to grow even more delicious veggies. This process isn’t too complex, though you’ll need to learn how to collect the seeds, plant them in soil, and how to water them correctly. If you’re an inexerienced gardener, this indoor gardening guide for beginners is sure to help.
8. Feed farm animals
One of the most sustainable ways to recycle food waste is to feed animals your kitchen scraps. Giving scraps to domestic pets isn’t always ideal, but the same isn’t true for farm animals like chickens, goats, and pigs. Many farm animals can consume organic waste from our kitchens without any trouble, though it’s important to do your research before you feed animals anything outside their typical diet.
If you have chickens, for example, you should stick to kitchen scraps that are safe for chickens. This long list includes bread, fruit, cooked meat (cut into small pieces), greens, grains, and so much more. Please note that some foods are toxic to chickens, like avocados and uncooked potato skin. If you don’t have any farm animals of your own, you could look into donating food scraps to a local farmer.
9. Make flavorful infusions
Reduce food waste by infusing your citrus peels into different foods and liquids. With orange peels, or the zests and peels of grapefruits, limes, lemons, and tangerines, you can create infused water, olive oil, and more. Fruit peels are an excellent way to add some extra flavor to whatever you’re preparing.
10. Freeze for stock and smoothies
Recycling food waste becomes much easier once you learn how to freeze food and how to store food properly in general. Freezing causes microbes to enter a dormant stage, which prevents the activity of microorganisms that results in your food spoiling. When you know how to freeze food, you can preserve leafy greens and other veggie scraps to create stock and more nutritious smoothies.
8 resources on food waste solutions
When it comes to repurposing food waste, your options are limitless. With these helpful videos, books, and blogs, you can learn even more about composting, preparing meals with food scraps, and reducing food waste in general.
- Beyond Food Waste: If you’re passionate about combating food waste, you’ll love the Beyond Food Waste platform. This website shares well-researched articles from around the world that cover food waste legislation, recycling programs, and more.
- Trash Kitchen: Trash Kitchen is a series of videos from the popular YouTube channel Goodful. Each video involves turning leftover food scraps into delicious meals.
- Cooking with Scraps: Cooking with Scraps is the ultimate cookbook for anyone interested in transforming scraps into flavorful meals. Written by Lindsay-Jean Hard, this book of 85 stellar recipes is sure to bring some excitement to your kitchen.
- Composting for Beginners: Tips, Methods & More: If you’d like to learn more about composting, this guide has all the information you need. It contains plenty of useful tips, products, and methods for people of all lifestyles.
- 23 Genius Food Waste Solutions: You won’t have to worry too much about disposing of food waste if you create less food waste to begin with! This helpful guide offers lots of tips on how to prevent wasted food, from seasonal growing your own produce to donating food you don’t think you’ll eat.
- Batch: Preserving food is a fantastic way to reduce waste. This book by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison is a great resource for experts and beginners looking for recipes and preserving techniques.
- Beginner’s Guide to Preserving: Delilah Snell’s Beginner’s Guide to Preserving is another excellent resource to learn more about preserving, whether you’re interested in dehydrating, fermenting, smoking, or salting.
- How to Use Food Scraps to Reduce Kitchen Waste: This article from Food Revolution Network offers an impressive amount of information in one place. This includes the importance of reducing food waste, what to do with scraps, and more.
With these resources and food scrap recycling methods, you have all the info you need to know what to do with food waste. Whether you’re interested in turning your scraps into jam or nutrient-rich dirt, you’re doing your part to combat the environmental impact of food waste.
Not sure about purchasing an electric composter? Check out this helpful guide to determine if you should buy Lomi with your current living situation and needs. We have plenty of other articles to aid you in living more sustainably, including guides on how to recycle cardboard, paper, and more.
Written by: E Sawden