What To Do With Food Scraps — 13 Smart Ideas — Sustainably Yours

Every day that you cook, you have plenty of scraps from your fruits and vegetables. Have you ever wondered what to do with food scraps?

Instead of throwing them away, why not get one more use out of them?

Reusing food scraps will get you more food without spending extra money. Plus, you’ll prevent food scraps from ending up in the landfill.

Keep reading to find 13 smart ideas for what to do with food scraps.

Food Scraps vs Food Waste

Although food scraps and food waste are similar, they are slightly different.

Food scraps are parts of food that we can’t eat. Things like onion peels, celery ends and carrot tops.

Food waste is food that we can eat but don’t. Whether that’s because we put too much on our plate, accidently drop food or buy groceries that we forget to cook. It’s all food waste.

Both of these contribute to climate change. Food waste is easily avoidable. We can do things like meal prep, order less food at restaurants or be mindful with how grocery shop.

On the other hand, food scarps are unavoidable. That’s why we should try to get as much use out of them as possible. This will not only save us money but will prevent some scraps from ending up in landfill.

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Food Waste and Climate Change

Did you know what food wastage is one of the leading causes of climate change? Surprisingly, almost 1/3 of all the food produced goes to waste.

When food goes to the landfill instead of compost, it releases methane. Methane is the greenhouse gas that is responsible for heating up our planet.

Basically, we want to avoid sending food to the landfill. That’s why it’s so important for us to compost our food!

Whether it’s food scraps or food waste, make sure to throw it in your green bin. This will help drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, it will help slow down our planet from overheating.

SUGGESTED READ: How Meal Prepping Is Good For The Environment

Food Scraps Uses

Vegetable broth/stock

Vegetable broth is so easy to make. All it takes is some prep. Throughout the weeks, save vegetable scraps and freeze them in silicone zip pouches.

Then, when the bag is full, dump the frozen veggies into a pot with water and simmer for hours. You can find the exact steps on how to make it here .

Not sure what veggies to save? You can add:

  • Mushroom
  • Pepper
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Carrot
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Chicken broth

Chicken broth is made the same way as vegetable broth but instead, you use chicken bones. This is a great way to get another use of out chicken bones before they have to be composted.

Broth does not last long in the fridge so make lots and freeze it in glass jars to use later.

Citrus peels for cleaner

When you’re done with your lemon or orange, save the peels. They are great for cleaning with.

Put them into a jar and fill the jar with cleaning vinegar. Then, put the jar in a dark space like under your sink for two weeks.

After two weeks, it’ll be ready for to use! Use it to clean counter tops, mirrors and your sink. The citrus peels will give it a pleasant scent.

Coffee grinds as a scrub

Used coffee grinds are a great exfoliator.

Mix 1 cup of coffee grinds with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup liquid coconut oil. Once the oil hardens, the scrub will look granular.

If you don’t want to make a huge batch, you can half this recipe.

Coffee grinds can be a little abrasive so don’t use this on your face. Use it on your body in the shower to clean your skin without any toxic ingredients.

Make sure to use small batches so that your shower can drain properly.

Add it to water

Flavoured water is the best way to hydrate yourself. Drinking water can get boring so adding some natural flavours to it will taste so much better. Plus it’ll help you use up fruits that you may not have time to eat.

Some great tasting foods you can add to water:

  • Lemons
  • Cucumbers
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Strawberries

Potato peel chips

You can eat the skin of potatoes! I always try to air fry my potatoes with the skin to reduce waste and get the nutritional benefits.

But sometimes, you need to take the skin off. So instead of throwing out that skin, use it for chips.

All you have to do is pour some oil on it then season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven and you have crispy, tasty potato peel chips. Or toss in your air fryer for 5 minutes.

Freeze herbs in olive oil

I used to hate buying herbs because I never used it all of it. I would use a small portion and the rest would go to waste. But then I learned that you can freeze them and save them for later.

What a great way to avoid throwing out food scraps. Not only that but it’s such an easy way to save money too.

Divide the herb into ice cube trays. Then pour some olive oil in the tray. Freeze until you’re ready to use it again. How easy is that!

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Use pumpkin insides for pumpkin puree to make pie

Pumpkins are so popular around Halloween for jack o lanterns. But people tend to have all the fun carving the pumpkin and throw out the rest.

Instead, keep the insides of a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree. You can use that to make a pie for dinner.

This is a great way to make sure you get every penny’s worth of your grocery bill.

Toast pumpkin seeds

While you’re making the pumpkin puree, use the pumpkin seeds too! You can toast them with olive oil and salt to make an easy snack.

Set them out on the table for your family to snack on while you wait for the pie to be finished.

Homemade air freshener

Leave some ingredients simmering on the store to make a homemade air freshener. This will make your home smell so great without using store bought air fresheners.

Those usually have chemicals in them and you can’t properly recycle the containers.

The best homemade air freshener would be to citrus peels to a pot of water and let it simmer. It smells so delicious.

Make bread into croutons

If you have left over bread, bake them to make croutons. All you have to do is cut the bread into small pieces, season with olive oil and your favourite seasonings then pop it in the oven.

After a few minutes, you’ll have tasty, crispy croutons to enjoy with your salads.

Almond or oat pulp into pulpmeal

Do you make your own almond or oat milk? If you do, you’ve probably thought of how to reuse the pulp from it. Make pulpmeal!

It’s oatmeal but with the pulp of almonds and oats. Pour hot water over it and add your favourite fruits to add some flavour.

Personally, I like to add little bits with my overnight oat so because I love the chunky texture.

Kale stems in smoothie

Generally when making a salad, they say to remove kale stems. Instead of throwing them out, use them in your smoothies!

The beauty of a smoothie is that when you blend everything together, you can hardly taste the vegetables.

Adding vegetables is a great way to make your smoothie healthier.

Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup is perfect because you can throw almost any vegetables into it and it’ll still taste good. It’s a great way to use the leftover vegetables in your fridge.


Making thanksgiving stuffing? Add in some veggies to make it healthier! You can dice up almost any vegetables and toss it together to make your stuffing.

Don’t Forget to Compost!

Using food scraps is no use if you end up throwing them into the trash after you’re done with them.

Make sure to throw out your used food scraps in your compost bin. Whether you use the green bin that your city provides or you compost at home, that’s where the scraps belong.

Final Thoughts

Do your part to reduce climate change by using your food scraps and reducing food waste.

This post gave tons of great ideas on what to do with food scraps. Whether you make broth, pumpkin puree or a coffee scrub, they will all help you save some money.

So now that you know about how harmful food waste is to our planet, what are you going to do to reuse food scraps?

Let me know in the comments below which of these tips you are going to use next!

(This post may contain affiliate links which means that I earn a commission if you make a purchase through my link at no cost to you.)

Originally published at https://sustainably-yours.com on February 15, 2021.

I have a passion for living a sustainable lifestyle to help heal our planet. Read my posts on living an eco-friendly lifestyle at Sustainably-Yours.com.

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