banana peel

You already have your recycling bins in place, and maybe even a compost bin started… but I’ll bet that there’s still a lot of things going into the garbage can in your kitchen, no matter how hard you try to conserve and reuse. Did you know that there are three common food waste items that you can keep instead of toss?

Coffee Grounds

If you’re anything like me, every morning means the addition of more coffee grounds to the trashcan. But not only are coffee grounds a great addition to your compost bin, they’re also great for your hair!

If you’re a brunette, use coffee grounds to make your hair shiny and deeper in color, with added dimension and sheen. Mix about three to five tablespoons of coffee in three to five cups of boiling water, and let the mixture simmer for five to ten minutes. Allow to cool, then use as a rinse after your normal shampoo-and-conditioner routine. Allow to soak in about five minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Non-brunettes can take advantage of the beauty of coffee grounds as well: coffee grounds can be used as a natural exfoliant, perfect for buffing away rough patches on knees and elbows. The caffeine content of coffee grounds is also thought to help diminish the appearance of cellulite!

Orange Peels

Don’t toss your orange peels! Not only are there tons of culinary options for these, like infused olive oil or sugar, or candied orange peel, but you can also use orange peels or lemon peels in your very own homemade potpourri.

There are two common kinds of potpourri, and orange peels work well in both. For a dried version, combine oranges with star anise, cinnamon sticks, or other scented herbs and spices, and simply place in a wide bowl. Be sure to dry all ingredients before displaying, or else the orange peels may rot, giving off a different — and none too pleasant — odor.

For a temporary potpourri that infuses your home with a more intense aroma, boil orange peels — along with other herbs and spices, should you wish — on the stovetop in a few inches of water. The scents will quickly be dispersed throughout your home.

Banana Peels

Banana peels are more than just a prop for slapstick: they’re amazing for your skin. Banana peels can be used to treat or cure all sorts of skin ailments, including acne, psoriasis, poison ivy and warts. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel onto the affected area.

As you might imagine, banana peels can also be used to make a mask for your skin. Use a sharp knife to scrape the inside from the peel, and combine with a raw egg. Apply to your face, and allow the mask to sit for thirty minutes before rinsing thoroughly. You’re on your way to more gorgeous skin and less kitchen waste!

Image: claireknights