18 Odd Ways To Reduce Food Waste

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/20/22 •  4 min read

We know how much food waste occurs around the world but what to do about it? Home is a great place to start.

Before you toss another colorful pile of food scraps into the garbage or down the disposal here are some super creative and strange ways to make the most of your fruits and veggies…

1. Make berries last longer by soaking in diluted vinegar

Soak blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, etc. in a bowl of water mixed with a splash of vinegar. Refrigerate after straining. This method helps preserve the berries and keeps mold from growing.

2. Regrow lettuce, celery and green onions in water cups

Place green onions in a cup of water and refrigerate. They’ll stay fresh and last much longer if the roots soak in water.

3. Make house plants with potatoes that have sprouted eyes

This works especially well with sweet potatoes!

4. Water plants with cooled pasta water

Never dump your pasta water down the drain again! Use it to water your plants which provides healthy minerals such as phosphorous and potassium to the soil which boosts plant growth.

5. Dice hardened bread to make croutons

No butter, microwaving or cooking required! Once you find yourself with a hard baguette or any other bread that’s dried up simply dice into cubes and use these easy croutons to garnish salads.

6. Add old coffee grounds to gardening soil

Coffee grounds work as a great ground fertilizer, adding organic material to soil. This helps improve drainage, aeration and water retention.

7. Exfoliate skin with old coffee grounds

Perhaps you’ve tried other DIY beauty tricks, masks and remedies. Coffee grounds can be used to exfoliate the skin and improve skin health, for instance.

8. Feed apple cores to squirrels

Toss your apple cores outside and watch how happy you’ve made a furry friend. Be sure not to throw food out car windows or too close to oncoming traffic.

9. Make potpourri with citrus peels

Recycle orange, lemon and tangerine peels as a natural air freshener.

10. Dry pumpkin and squash seeds for birds

Birds and other wildlife enjoy all kinds of seeds and squash leftovers even eaten fresh out of the gourd. Dry seeds for a cleaner garden feed.

11. Give your dog an empty, plastic peanut butter jar

Keep your dog busy for hours licking every last bit of an empty plastic peanut butter jar. Not recommended for dogs with weight issues.

12. Make broth with carrot peels, potato skins, celery tops

Homemade vegetable broth can be made by boiling water and adding carrot peels, potato skins, celery tops and other scraps. Drain and use immediately or refrigerate and use in the next few days.

13. Put cucumber peels at entry points around your house to keep away ants

Cucumber is a natural ant deterrent and a great way to use cucumber discards.

14. Rub houseplant leaves with banana peels

Banana peels can be used on houseplants to remove dust. Additionally, it helps make leaves shine!

15. Cook with old wine

Wine that’s gone bad can be used for cooking instead of pouring it down the drain.

16. Use browned bananas to make banana bread or face masks

Banana bread is a common way to use brown soft bananas. You can also try a DIY skin treatment by rubbing the mush onto skin and letting it moisturize for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

17. Boil carrots and broccoli stalks, let cool and feed to your pets

Carrots and broccoli are healthy treats that most pets enjoy! Steamed and softened plain veggie leftovers work better than raw.

18. Freeze packaged foods before they go bad

If you spot something that’s about to expire and can’t consume it in time, stick it in the freezer for later. When we freeze foods they use nutrition but it’s much better than letting them spoil and go to waste.

I’m Adriane Marie, the author of this list and founder of HEALabel, an ethical consumerism website and app.

Subscribe to the newsletter to get free, useful insights about what we buy and how it impacts animals people and the planet.

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.