Recycle & Reuse to Save $ at the Grocery Store


With fueling our bodies, there is one aspect that may go overlooked and something all of us could always work on - reducing our food waste. According to Feeding America, the average American family of four throws out almost $1,600 a year in produce. Here are 10 ways you could reduce your personal food waste, which will help you save money, be creative, & give back to the environment!



Composting is a great way to put your food scraps to good use! The process utilizes these scraps and other organic materials to form a natural fertilizer that is then used to enrich soil. It reduces the amount of waste in landfills and also decreases the amount of methane emitted into the atmosphere. Here is a guide on what you can/cannot compost:

  • CAN
    • Produce
    • Grains
    • Coffee grounds
    • Paper towels/napkins
    • Meats
    • Dairy
    • Liquids
    • Food wrappers
    • Plastic cutlery (or any other plastic items)


Another way to utilize food scraps is to morph them into a beauty product. If you do not use all of the juice from a lemon or simply use the zest, you can take the leftover part of the lemon and rub the inside all around your fingernails. The acid from the juice can brighten your nails after rubbing for just a few minutes. Make sure to rinse your nails with warm water after. Another beauty product you can make is a natural exfoliant using fine coffee grounds or sugar. You can add any flavor/scent extract, and apply it to your face once a week. 



You can actually use your food leftovers to make even more food! Here are some ideas:

  • Bake leftover bread crusts to make croutons that are perfect for soups, salads, or crumbs on top of a casserole
  • Use apple peels and core, strawberry tops, or apricot peels to make a jam. It only takes a few ingredients and will provide a natural fruity taste.
  • Combine leftover carrot peels, potato skins, or celery tops into a broth or liquid to make flavored stock or soup.


Feed your plants. They will LOVE you after you feed them nutrients from banana peels. Simply place the peel in a bucket/jar of water, let it sit overnight, and use that water to water your plants. Bananas and their peels are very potassium- and phosphorus-rich, so the nutrients will leak out and give your water a rich additive. 


Freshen Up

You can also utilize the aromas of fruit for a better-smelling home. Tossing citrus peels down the garbage disposal is a key trick to get rid of that disposal smell. Another way to utilize the peels of fruits is to let them boil in water and create a natural home air freshener. 



Zests or peels of oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, or tangerines are perfect ingredients to infuse into many foods. You can infuse olive oil, water, and more to create a more flavorful recipe.



The seeds, pits, and cuttings of lettuce, ginger, avocado, celery, green onions, and more can even be regrown. Planting them in soil, watering appropriately, and making sure they get plenty of sunlight will give you even more veggies for the price of one!


Jar It Up

When you have nearly empty peanut butter jars, jam jars, or another jar or container, use that as the items you prep other recipes in. You can make overnight oats in a peanut butter jar that will give you every last bit of product and provide rich flavor. Another idea is adding a scrambled egg and veggies to a salsa jar and cooking it that way. The spice all around the jar will provide a flavorful product.


Find Purpose

A majority of people throw away the end pieces of bread. However, it can be used as something else if you do not like to eat those. For example, adding the ends of bread to a container of brown sugar will soften the sugar and prevent it from turning solid.


Use It ALL

Finally, you can use EVERY part of any herb. Adding herbs to ice trays with olive oil is a great substitute for butter in a recipe while also providing more flavor. The ends or stems of other herbs can be dried and made into spice blends as well. 


All of these ideas can be fun activities for families to do that reduce food waste, save money, help the environment, and utilize every part of the foods you purchase. 


*Written by Libby Siegel, an FLN Intern


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