I try not to waste much of anything - but I do have trash go out for pick up each week. Cat litter, maybe an occasional pop can, some newspapers (I need to recycle those again), just random odds and ends. Much of it is limbs, sticks and poison yard waste (weeds) I don't want to put in compost bin.
Sometimes in the winter I can go 3 or more weeks without putting out trash.
We are a society of waste. We live in a throw away society. If something breaks - just replace it. I just hate this. I try to use everything and many things I use in a new way.
Here are a few ideas for everyone. (most you probably know)
- Leftovers - either eat for lunch or at another meal or remake them into something new and different. I know there are folks who 'don't like' leftovers - but if you jazz them up and hide them in a new dish - Wah-la!! Add veggies to make soups, stews or casseroles. Freeze for another day. Mix veggies in with eggs for omelets or quiche. Add to pizza. The list goes on and on.
- Shells and peels can be added to compost. You can actually crush egg shells and add directly to the garden and cut up banana peels for around roses. Citrus peels can be made into cleaners, Peels from apples and cling fruit or pears can be cooked down and made in jelly. You can add peels and cores to vinegar to make a flavored vinegar for dressings. Don't forget to dehydrate those tomato peels when you are canning. Grind - and they make great flavor enhancer. No need to waste a thing!!!
- Leftover meat can be used in stir fry or fried rice. Add to soups. Add to eggs for great scrambled or omelets. Meat bones can be added to a big pot of water and boiled down for homemade stock. Use the bones and any trimmings for extra rich flavor. You could even throw in the trimming from veggies as well. You can freeze in baggies (sealed tight) and lay flat to freeze or in jars - but leave a good 2"+ head space for freezing expansion.
- Bread - can be turned into croutons, bread crumbs, dressing bread, bread puddings, French toast, etc.. Freeze French bread and make pizza out of the halves. If you get down to bread that is starting to go bad - break off any mold!!!!! - and then throw out balance to birds. Never give them moldy bread.
- If you go out to eat - take your own containers with you. I know that sounds strange - but why bring your leftovers home in something that will never, ever break down (Styrofoam). OR if you know the servings are big - split the order with someone else.
- Clean out your refrigerator every week and use up what needs using. Make something with all the leftovers or with veggies or fruit that is on it's last leg. Use it up! That was money at one point!!!! Would you just throw dollar bills out in the trash? Doubt it! You either eat it, remake it, or freeze it. You can also declare a "find what you can" night. Just make sure it gets used.
- Veggies that have been cooked or steamed in water (without salt) or water from boiling eggs - can be cooled and poured on plants to water them. There are lots of vitamins in that water.
- Paper products - if at all possible quite using much. I know most will always use TP - although there are alternatives. Wash cloth, bidet, washable cloths, etc. Not sure how many are open to some of those. I do have a huge supply of wet wipes for emergencies (never flush). Paper towels are so wasteful. I usually keep a few rolls around - only to clean up cat yack! I use old rags or wash cloths for everything else. I need to start donating my newspaper again to the animal shelter - they are always in need. They can also be used to make crafts like paper mache' or for wrapping gifts. I love the funnies for kids. You can also turn newspaper into starter pots for plants or you can use your TP rolls for the same. We can get real creative if we just thing about it!!!!!
- If you use bar soaps - keep the slivers and sew them in an old wash cloth - great for cleaning garden hands. Or make a slit in a nice sponge and insert chips for cleaning messy hands. They can be melted down and used a a liquid soap
- Scraps of material - make a scrappy quilt or leg throw. Keep buttons and zippers off old clothes that are becoming rags
- Over ripe fruit - bananas getting dark or bruised peaches or apples, etc. Use in smoothies, or use in a milkshake or malt or make your own flavored ice cream or ice milk. Make apple sauce or peach sauce or pear sauce. It doesn't matter if it is bruised.
- Old cards you have received. Cut the fronts off and use as postcards or use for making shopping lists - I ALWAYS have someone at the store comment about my shopping list as it is most often from Christmas card. Use the fronts to make your own cards. Glue or double sticky tape them to card stock and use your own phrase or writings inside.
- If you have old towels, blankets or sheets that you just aren't willing to re-invent into something else for yourself - DONATE to animal shelters
- Old magazines can go to doctors offices, car mechanics, oil change place, or nursing homes for crafts. Check with pre-schools as well.
- If water is an issue in your area - keep a bucket in your shower and catch the run off. Use to water the garden or flowers or even flush the toilet. You can use dish water - scoop with a pan - to water plants as well. I always pour my scalding (w/vinegar) canning water in the fence row or in cracks in drive where weeds grow.
- If you drink soda pop at your house and have some that goes flat - use it in Jello. It will add extra flavor. Old coffee or tea or leftover wine (LOL) - freeze in cubes.
- Have knick-knacks you don't want or can't use - GIFT them to family (if heirlooms) or donate
Just a FEW ideas!! LOL!!
The old adage - waste not -- want not - is so very true. Try to find uses for everything. The things you bring into your houses, the things you flush or that goes down the drain -- COST MONEY!
We would never throw dollar bills in the trash or flush them down the toilet - but yet we do it ever day - just in a different form.
Save what you can and where you can.
Not only does it help you - but our environment as well.