By Hayden St. Mary
Every single day, around 330 million pounds of food are wasted across the U.S. That’s the weight of about 55,000 trucks!! Even if just the people who read this article start to use some of these easy ways to reuse or repurpose food, it can make a big difference!
If you’re an adult, chances are you have to wake up early for work and need to have your daily dose of caffeine through a steamy cup of coffee. But wait, don’t throw the grounds away! Coffee grounds have a surprisingly wide variety of uses, ranging from fertilizer to exfoliator. If you love your garden, you would be pleased to find out that used coffee grounds are a great fertilizer. If you use fresh coffee grounds, however, it can actually harm your plants. Fresh coffee grounds contain a high level of acid, which can cause issues for plants that are sensitive to higher acidity levels in their soil. When the grounds go through the process of getting heated and washed when you’re making your coffee, the acid levels go all the way down to zero, making them perfect for your plants. When you add coffee grounds to your soil, it helps loosen it up, making it easier for seeds to sprout, and it also helps the soil retain more moisture. Another use for coffee grounds that might be surprising, is that they can be used as a concrete additive to make it 30% stronger! If spent coffee grounds were to be used in making concrete, we could keep organic waste out of landfills, and better preserve other natural resources that would’ve been used like sand. With coffee grounds’ coarse texture, it makes them great for many other things. You can use them to scrape off stubborn food on dishes, exfoliate your skin, and get tough messes off of surfaces! Just make sure to be gentle when using it for cleaning, or you might scratch the surface.
Doctors recommend a person should eat 5 portions of fruit per day. That means that plenty of skins and peels will go to waste. Of course, most people would think to compost their fruit scraps, but there are a lot more uses than just that. One thing that my dad has done a few times is make tepache. Tepache is a partially fermented drink made from the rind of a pineapple. You can easily make it yourself with a big jar, water, brown sugar, and the rinds you cut off of your pineapple. If you’re a fan of fruity tea, you’ll be glad to know that there are many fruits you can use to flavor your tea! You can use kiwi rinds, strawberry tops with some fruit still on them, mushy berries, apple cores, pineapple cores, mango cores and pear cores.
There are plenty of farm animals around our area, and they would be more than welcome to some extra snacks. If you have chickens or know someone with chickens, then you can give back to them to thank them for their eggs, by giving them the shells of their eggs as an extra source of calcium. Chickens are also open to eating a lot of food scraps, but be careful because some things are harmful to them.
Holidays come and go, and then you’re left with things like your carved pumpkins and Christmas tree. Ask around and you will surely find some goat farmer who would love your pumpkins and tree for their animals. It may seem like an insane idea for an animal to enjoy eating a tree, but they really do! Pretty much any scraps would be welcomed by farmers, as long as they are safe for their animals!
After reading this article, you now know many useful ways you can reuse things that you would normally have thrown away! I hope with this new knowledge you have gained, you will become a more resourceful person, and help our environment by reducing waste.
Hayden St. Mary is a student at Spring Grove High School. She is one of 13 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 25th year.