It’s amazing when you realize just how many common things we throw away each and every single day that can actually benefit us. It’s no secret that American households have become a major place for consumption and waste. If you think tossing something into the recycle bin is helping, just think about this. Out of the 267 million tons of trash we made as Americans in 2017 we only recycled 67 million tons of it and we composted only 27 million tons of it. So basically over half of all our waste was and is placed in a landfill.
Some time ago, I began composting. Which if you have ever wondered how to do this, you can find a step by step post I wrote in the archives you may find helpful. But compost aside, here are some of my favorite ways to reduce waste, save money and live healthier.
Number one: Orange Peels
Now we have an orange tree in our yard but its a common fruit that most people purchase so even if you don’t have a tree this is a tip for you. In a jar of any sort (which will be another tip, later on that) you simply feel it up with orange peels. So instead of peeling the orange and throwing it away, you can place the jar by your sink and fill as you eat the oranges.
We like to make orange juice so I do large batches at a time but any way you use your fruit just remember to save the peel. Once the jar is filled, pour in some white vinegar to fill and place the lid on top. In about two weeks you can pour the mix into a spray bottle and use it for an antibacterial cleaner in your home that not only works well, smells good, and is cheap to make but its healthier than using store bought chemicals.
Number two: Coffee grounds.
If you’re anything like me, you look forward to that first cup of coffee each morning. But instead of tossing out those used grounds, you can place them in another jar or upper ware and add them to your garden directly or even your roses or household plants.
I like to work them into the top couple inches of dirt around the plant or you can simply place them right around the base of the plants. The coffee grounds will slowly release nitrogen into the soil giving your plants and flowers a boost of free organic fertilizer. Used coffee grounds are neutral in PH so they shouldn’t cause concerns about acidity.
Number three: Brown paper bags
Where we live we are supposed to bring our reusable bags for shopping but some of us forget. And when this happens I always ask for the brown paper bags. They are actually cheaper than the thick plastic ones they sell and they are biodegradable. But they are also actually useful in the garden too. I take a few out when I have collect several and I cover weedy patches of soil in my yard.
The paper acts as a weed barrier and actually is good for your soil. It’s worked wonders on a few of my planter beds that have been plagued with weeds. The brown paper bag will actually break down over time and rot into the soil giving the soil a good boost.
Number four: Toilet paper rolls
You can also use paper towels for this as well. Just cut them in half or even in thirds so they are the size of toilet paper rolls. I use these to seed start. I line them up in a large tupperware, fill them with dirt and add my seeds. I label them on the side with a sharpie so I dont forget what they are are. Plus I don’t have to buy any additional tags to label. Once the plant is ready to transplant into the garden you stick the entire tube directly into the ground. It’s biodegradable, free way to start seeds and reduce the waste in your home.
Number five: Food jars
Now I know this may at first seem to be a funny one to mention. But I think it’s worth mentioning. Now I am not talking about the country crock plastic butter tubs here, although those are useful. I am talking about the glass ones. Pickle jars, salsa jars, jelly jars, mayonaise jars etc. These are so cute when you remove the labels.
Hot water seems to work best for me to remove them completely. But you can literally use these just as you would a mason jar without the cost. I place them around my house with small flower arrangements, use them as storage containers and have even spray painted a few to add pops of color to shelving decor. They make great candle holders for tea lights on the table.
I actually make the orange peel cleaner in these jars, tie a cute big of twine around it and give them out to people. But you can reduce a lot of your waste by doing this not to mention save money.
So there you have it. 5 things you are likely throwing away but could be using. I hope you find this post helpful. If so, leave a comment and I am happy to do more like this.