Food Quiz

Zero Waste Kitchen: Practical Ways to Use Food Scraps


A cutting board featuring creatively used food scraps alongside vegetables and spices.

Are you tired of seeing food go to waste? It’s time to get creative and find new ways to reduce food waste in your kitchen. In this blog, we will explore the world of food scraps and discover why saving them is not only good for the environment but also beneficial for your wallet. From supporting environmental health to improving your soil and even saving you money, there are so many reasons to start using those leftover vegetable peels and fruit scraps.

We will dive into various examples of food scraps that can have a second life and provide you with practical tips on what to do with them. Get ready to unleash your creativity and learn how to turn food scraps into delicious recipes, homemade beauty products, compost, and more!

Reducing Food Waste

Reducing food waste is not only crucial for the environment but also a fantastic way to be more mindful of our consumption habits while saving money. Explore various creative ways to diminish food waste and make a positive impact. One effective method is composting. Instead of discarding scraps, convert them into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Meal planning is another excellent approach. By planning your meals ahead of time, you can avoid buying unnecessary ingredients that may ultimately go to waste. Extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by utilizing food preservation techniques such as canning, freezing, or pickling.

Save Food Scraps An overhead shot of fruits, seeds and spices in bowls
Save Food Scraps An overhead shot of fruits, seeds and spices in bowls

Why Save Food Scraps?

Saving food scraps is beneficial for several reasons. By reducing waste, we contribute to a healthier environment. Food scraps can be composted to produce nutrient-rich soil for gardening. Additionally, certain scraps like vegetable peels can be utilized to make homemade broth or stock, adding flavor and saving money.

Supports Environmental Health

Taking a proactive approach to food scraps supports environmental health and reduces waste. Instead of throwing them away, composting scraps diverts organic waste from landfills, reducing methane emissions and preserving natural resources. Compost celery stalks, citrus peels, and vegetable trimmings to create nutrient-rich soil for gardening or landscaping. By doing so, you’ll nourish your plants and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Give your scraps a second life through composting instead of discarding them.

Compostable Food Improves Your Soil

Did you know that your kitchen scraps can enrich your soil? Instead of throwing away leftovers, start composting them in your backyard. Composting reduces food waste and revitalizes your garden. Vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, and stale bread can all be composted to create nutrient-rich soil. These organic materials release essential nutrients that improve soil structure, water retention, and fertility. Give it a try and turn your kitchen scraps into a valuable resource for your garden.

Recycled Food Leftovers Save You Money

Don’t waste your food leftovers! Recycle them to save money and help the environment. Transform kitchen leftovers into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Add celery stalks, carrot tops, and leafy greens to your compost bin to create fertile soil. Citrus peels make great natural cleaners and add flavor to dishes. Use beet scraps, onion skins, and herb stems to make vegetable broth for soups and stews. Get creative with your food scraps and become a kitchen superhero. Your wallet and the planet will thank you!

Examples of Food Scraps That Can Have a Second Life

Discover the endless possibilities of food scraps and reduce waste with these creative ideas. Instead of tossing those stalks, trimmings, and peels, turn them into a composting powerhouse. Collect your veggie scraps, coffee grounds, citrus peels, and more to create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Don’t let leftover bread go stale – transform it into flavorful breadcrumbs or crunchy croutons. Infuse your water or add extra zing to your meals by using fruit peels and scraps to make flavored vinegar. Embrace the challenge and find innovative ways to use food scraps!

What to Do with Food Scraps

ways to use food scraps assorted vegetables on brown textile
ways to use food scraps assorted vegetables on brown textile

Wondering what to do with the leftovers from your meals? Don’t let them go to waste! Instead of tossing them in the trash, there are plenty of creative ways to make the most of your food scraps and reduce your environmental impact. One great option is composting, which transforms your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to nourish your garden and help your plants thrive.

Another option is to use vegetable scraps to make flavorful homemade stock or broth, adding depth and richness to your soups, stews, and casseroles. And don’t forget about the power of citrus peels and coffee grounds as natural cleaning solutions for your home.

Make Your Own Compost

Looking for creative ways to reduce food waste? Making your own compost is an excellent solution. With scraps like veggie trimmings, coffee grounds, and eggshells, you can transform organic material into nutrient-rich compost.

Say goodbye to throwing away food scraps that could be put to good use. Instead, gather your vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds from yesterday’s brew, and eggshells from breakfast, and create a compost pile in your backyard. Layer them with brown materials like leaves or shredded newspaper, and watch the magic happen. In just a few months to a year, your compost will be ready to enhance your garden. Say hello to a more sustainable way of gardening and reducing food waste!

Contribute to a Commercial Composting Program

Contribute to the community by participating in a local commercial composting program. Many cities and towns in the US have initiatives that accept food scraps and turn them into compost. By joining, you can make a difference and reduce food waste. Contact your local waste management or recycling department to find a program near you. If none are available, reach out to community gardens or farms that may accept your food scraps for composting, benefiting the environment and supporting local agriculture.

Make Vegetable Stock with Food Scraps

Transforming your vegetable scraps into a flavorful homemade vegetable stock is a fantastic way to reduce waste and elevate your culinary creations. Instead of discarding those celery stalks, carrot tops, and onion ends, give them a new lease on life by embracing their potential in a rich and savory broth. By collecting these often overlooked scraps in a container or freezer bag, you can create a simmering pot of goodness that will infuse your soups, stews, and sauces with depth and flavor. It’s a brilliant solution that not only reduces food waste but also adds a delicious touch of creativity to your meals.

Regrow Plants From Scraps or Seeds

Reduce waste and get creative by regrowing plants from food leftovers. Instead of composting, save veggie scraps like carrot tops or celery stalks. With water and sunlight, they’ll grow quickly, giving you fresh herbs and veggies for your meals. Give your scraps a new life – regrow plants!

Feed Scraps to Companion Animals

Your furry friends can benefit from your food scraps too! Instead of tossing them in the trash, why not feed your companion animals with these delicious and nutritious treats? Vegetable peels, fruit rinds, and cooked grains can be a great addition to their diet. Just make sure to research beforehand which scraps are safe for them to enjoy. Not only will you reduce waste, but you’ll also provide your pets with a varied and eco-friendly meal. So let’s make their mealtime as exciting as ours!

Get Creative With Food Scrap Arts & Crafts

Don’t let your food scraps go to waste! There are so many creative ways to give them a second life. Instead of tossing those vegetable peels and fruit rinds, why not use them for some arts and crafts fun? Transform them into natural dyes for fabric or paper. Crushed eggshells can add a unique touch to mosaics or be used as plant fertilizer.

Coffee grounds mixed with flour and water make for a clay-like sculpting material. And don’t discard those banana peels – dry them out and turn them into stunning artwork or even jewelry! Let your imagination run wild with these creative ways to repurpose your food scraps.

DIY Beauty & Cleaning Products

Get creative with DIY beauty and cleaning products! Instead of throwing them away, repurpose them into natural, homemade alternatives. For instance, give your skin a treat with a coffee grounds-based exfoliant or infuse citrus peels in vinegar for a fresh-scented all-purpose cleaner. Don’t forget to boil vegetable scraps and peels to make a nutrient-rich broth for your next soup or sauce. By finding imaginative ways to use food scraps, you’ll not only reduce waste but also save money on conventional products. Embrace creativity and make the most of your kitchen leftovers!

Reuse Food Leftovers in Recipes

Don’t waste vegetable scraps and fruit peels. Instead, find creative ways to use them in your recipes. Reusing food scraps reduces waste and maximizes ingredients. Transform vegetable peels and scraps into homemade broth or stock. Use citrus peels for natural cleaning solutions. Coffee grounds make great fertilizer for plants. Give your food scraps a second life and get creative in the kitchen!

Ingredient Leftovers to Treasures

Ingredient Leftovers to Treasures assorted fruits in store
Ingredient Leftovers to Treasures assorted fruits in store

Don’t let ingredient scraps go to waste – turn them into treasures! Use leftover bread to make croutons or breadcrumbs. Save vegetable trimmings and scraps to create flavorful homemade stocks and broths. Citrus peels can be dried and used for zest in baked goods or infused in oils for a burst of flavor. Even potato peels can be transformed into crispy snacks with a sprinkle of seasoning. With a little creativity, you can transform simple scraps into culinary delights. Say goodbye to food waste and hello to delicious new dishes!


Don’t throw away those celery scraps! There are plenty of creative ways to use them in your cooking. Celery leftovers can be used to make a flavorful homemade vegetable broth. Simply save the trimmings, leaves, and any leftover celery stalks and simmer them with water and other vegetables for a delicious base for soups and stews. You can also use celery scraps to infuse flavor into stocks or sauces by adding them to the pot while cooking. Don’t let those celery scraps go to waste – get creative in the kitchen and make the most out of every ingredient!

Citrus Peels

Citrus peels are versatile food scraps that can be put to good use. Instead of throwing them away, consider using citrus peels in various ways. One way is to infuse the peels into vinegar or oil to create a flavorful ingredient for cooking and dressing. Citrus peels can also be dried and used as aromatic additions to potpourri or homemade cleaning products. Additionally, they can be grated or zested to add a burst of citrus flavor to recipes or used as a natural air freshener by simmering them in water with other herbs and spices. Don’t let those citrus peels go to waste – get creative and make the most out of them!


Beets are versatile food scraps that can be used in various ways. Don’t throw away those beet greens! They can be sautéed or added to salads for a nutritious boost. You can also use beet peels to make a vibrant and flavorful vegetable stock. Additionally, leftover cooked beets can be pureed into a delicious dip or added to smoothies for an extra dose of vitamins and minerals. Get creative with your beet scraps and reduce food waste while enjoying their health benefits.


Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be used in various ways to reduce food waste. Don’t throw away those broccoli stems! They can be diced and added to stir-fries, soups, or salads for added crunch and nutrition. You can also blend the stems into a creamy broccoli soup or use them as a base for homemade vegetable stock. Additionally, broccoli leaves can be sautéed or used as a substitute for other leafy greens in recipes like wraps or stir-fries. Get creative with your broccoli scraps and discover new delicious ways to make the most out of this nutritious vegetable.

Leaves of beets, carrots, and radishes

When it comes to reducing food waste, one creative way is to save the leaves of beets, carrots, and radishes. These greens are often overlooked but can be used in various ways. They can be added to salads for an extra burst of flavor and nutrition or sautéed with garlic and olive oil as a delicious side dish. Additionally, you can blend them into smoothies or use them as a garnish for soups and stews. By utilizing these often discarded parts of the vegetables, you not only reduce waste but also add a new dimension of taste to your meals.

Pickle Brine

Pickle brine is a great way to use food scraps and reduce waste in the kitchen. Instead of throwing away leftover vegetables or fruit peels, you can save them and make a flavorful brine for pickling. Brine is a solution of salt and water that is used to preserve and flavor foods. By using food scraps in your pickle brine, you are not only creating a delicious condiment, but also minimizing food waste and maximizing the use of ingredients. Pickle brine can be used to pickle a variety of vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, onions, and peppers, adding a tangy and savory twist to your meals.

Watermelon rinds

Watermelon rinds are often discarded, but they can actually be repurposed in various ways. One way to use watermelon rinds is by pickling them. Pickled watermelon rinds make a delicious and tangy snack or condiment. Another option is to blend the rinds into a refreshing smoothie or juice. Watermelon rinds can also be used as a natural fertilizer for plants, providing nutrients and moisture to the soil. Additionally, you can get creative and use watermelon rinds in recipes such as stir-fries or salads for added texture and flavor. Don’t let those watermelon rinds go to waste – explore the many possibilities of using them!


Spinach pasta salad is a delicious and nutritious way to use up food scraps, specifically spinach. Instead of throwing away wilted or leftover spinach, you can incorporate it into a refreshing pasta salad. Simply cook your favorite pasta according to the package instructions, then toss it with chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. The addition of spinach not only adds vibrant color to the dish but also provides essential vitamins and minerals. This spinach pasta salad is a great option for a light lunch or as a side dish for any meal.

Recipes Using Food Scraps sliced vegetables on white ceramic bowl
Recipes Using Food Scraps sliced vegetables on white ceramic bowl

Recipes Using Food Scraps

Banana peels

Don’t toss those banana peels just yet! Instead of discarding them, you can use banana peels in a variety of creative ways. One popular option is to make banana peel tea. Simply boil the peels in water for about 10 minutes, strain, and enjoy a cup of soothing tea with a hint of banana flavor. Another idea is to use banana peels as a natural fertilizer for your plants. Chop up the peels and bury them in the soil around your plants to enrich the nutrients and promote healthy growth. You can also blend banana peels into

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon

Make the most of your food scraps and reduce waste with this creative way to use vegetable trimmings. Homemade vegetable bouillon is a fantastic way to transform your veggie scraps into a flavorful broth. Instead of throwing away celery ends, onion peels, and carrot tops, collect them in a freezer bag, and save them for your next cooking adventure. Simmer these scraps with water, herbs, and spices to extract all the flavors and create a rich, aromatic broth.

Your homemade vegetable bouillon will be the perfect addition to soups, stews, and sauces, infusing them with incredible taste. Don’t let your food scraps go to waste – turn them into something delicious and environmentally friendly!

Creamy Squash Soup

Looking for a creative way to use up your leftover squash or pumpkin scraps? Look no further than Creamy Squash Soup! By simply roasting the scraps until they’re tender, then blending them with vegetable broth and spices, you can create a creamy and nutritious soup that’s both delicious and sustainable.

Customize the soup to your liking by adding in other veggies, like carrots or thyme, for an extra pop of flavor. Not only does this recipe help combat food waste, but it also results in a comforting and hearty meal. Top it off with a sprinkle of fresh herbs or a dollop of sour cream, and you’re in for a treat!

Kale Walnut Basil Pesto

Transforming vegetable scraps into something delicious and nutritious is always a great idea. Kale Walnut Basil Pesto is a creative way to utilize those leftover kale stems and leaves that would otherwise end up in the compost bin. This flavorful recipe combines kale, walnuts, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Simply blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, and you have a creamy and fragrant pesto ready to elevate your meals.

Spread it on sandwiches, toss it with pasta, or use it as a dip for veggies – the possibilities are endless! By incorporating your vegetable scraps into this pesto, you not only reduce food waste but also add a burst of flavor to your dishes.

References and Sources


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some creative ways to repurpose food scraps?

You can get creative with food scraps by making homemade vegetable broth or stock using vegetable scraps. Turn fruit peels into delicious candied snacks or garnishes for cocktails. Compost food scraps to enrich your garden’s soil. Additionally, try regrowing vegetables like lettuce, celery, and green onions from their scraps.

How can I compost food scraps at home?

To compost food scraps at home, select a suitable method like a backyard compost bin or a worm composting system. Gather food scraps in a separate container, including peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Add brown materials like leaves or shredded paper to balance the compost’s carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. Regularly turn or mix the compost to aid decomposition and minimize odors.

Are there any limits to what types of food scraps can be composted?

While many food scraps can be composted, such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and bread, it’s important to avoid composting meat, dairy products, oily foods, and processed foods. These items can attract pests or decompose slowly. When in doubt, it’s better to dispose of questionable food scraps in the regular trash.

What are the environmental benefits of reducing food waste?

Reducing food waste has several environmental benefits. It conserves precious natural resources like water, energy, and land. It also helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing food in landfills. Additionally, by reducing food waste, we can lessen the demand for intensive agricultural practices that harm the environment and contribute to deforestation. Moreover, less food waste means less packaging material is needed, resulting in a reduction in plastic waste and pollution.

Are there any health or safety concerns associated with using compost made from food scraps?

Compost made from food scraps is generally safe for gardening, but it’s important to take precautions. Avoid using scraps treated with pesticides or chemicals and properly compost to prevent harmful bacteria growth.

What else can food waste be used for?

Food waste can be repurposed in various ways. It can be composted to create nutrient-rich soil for gardening. Vegetable scraps can be used to make flavorful homemade broth, while dried fruit peels can serve as natural air fresheners. Additionally, some food waste can be safely fed to animals like chickens or pigs.

How do you get rid of food scraps without composting?

If composting is not an option, consider utilizing a food waste collection service, repurposing scraps in recipes or DIY beauty products, donating to community gardens or composting programs, or freezing scraps for homemade broth or stock. Explore local resources and get creative with reducing food waste.

What can you make with vegetable trimmings?

You can repurpose vegetable trimmings in several ways. Make your own vegetable broth or stock, use them for compost or plant fertilizer, create infused oils or vinegars, or add them to stir-fries, soups, and stews for extra flavor. The possibilities are endless!


In conclusion, reducing food waste and finding creative ways to use food scraps is not only beneficial for the environment but also for your wallet. By repurposing food scraps, you can contribute to a healthier planet by supporting environmental health and improving your soil through composting. Additionally, recycling food scraps can save you money by reducing the need to buy new ingredients.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to what you can do with food scraps – from making your own compost to creating delicious recipes like homemade vegetable bouillon, creamy squash soup, and kale walnut basil pesto. Get inspired and start reducing waste today! For more ideas and recipes using food scraps, check out our blog post.

Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson

Hello! I'm Emily, a dietitian and professional chef passionate about healthy cooking and creating plant-based, nutritious meals. When not gardening or running, I enjoy helping others achieve their health goals through tailored meal plans and sustainable ingredients. Join me on our journey to wholesome, colorful culinary creations!