Recycle Waste Management – Keep It Out Of The Garbage Can!


All Of Us Must Think About Recycle Waste Management

Our modern society throws away too much so…recycle that waste!  Get crackin’ with some good recycle waste management techniques!

What do you do with the throw-away parts when you slice, dice, and prepare your foodstuffs?  If they end up in the garbage disposal (not recommended) or the trash can, you may want to rethink this practice and salvage them for use elsewhere.

You can recycle that waste because, many of the peelings, leaves, cores, seeds, and stems can be used to extend your food supply.  At a minimum, these “throw aways” are great candidates for your compost pile…or evenly distributed throughout your garden…because, they will decompose and add additional nutrients to the soil.

Garbage bag full of throw-away vegetable parts.

NOTE:  Any diseased plants should be burned or placed in a trash bag for disposal.  Scattering them in the garden or dispersal in a compost pile will spread the diseases…infecting future plants!


Why Not Reuse Unwanted Foodstuff Parts When Possible?

Recycling symbol


I have put together a wide-ranging list that will give you insight into how useful peelings, leaves, cores, seeds, and stems of vegetables, fruits, and herbs can be.  My goal in creating this informative listing is to influence your “throw-it-away” mentality and make you realize that you don’t really have as much “actual” garbage as you think you do.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see that you can constructively utilize more of your organic waste than you think!


Other Good Candidates For Reprocessing

In addition to the group of vegetables, fruits, and herbs discussed here, there are other items, normally tossed out as garbage, which can be salvaged for adding nutrients to your garden or compost pile.


Eggshells to recycle.

Lack of calcium can cause blossom-end rot in tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, yellow squash, and a host of other veggies and fruits growing in your garden.  Eggshells are an enormous source of calcium.

I love eggs…fried, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, scrambled, omelets, etc…and I always grind up the eggshells for reuse.

I will either deposit crushed eggshells directly into my garden around specific plants or dump them into my compost pile!

NOTE:  Rinse the eggshells to remove any egg juices.  The juices of egg whites and yellows fall into a no-no category because they will produce anaerobic bacteria…which are the wrong kind.  I crush up the eggshells with a blender and a little water so that they will decompose faster and more completely.

  • Sprinkling eggshell pieces around the garden will not only add much needed calcium to the soil, the sharp edges act as a barbed-wire fence to crawling garden pests like slugs and snails.
  • Putting crushed eggshells into a compost pile will add a “calcium supercharge.”
  • For chickens, you can substitute crushed eggshells as a replacement for oyster shell supplements…and they will love you for it.
  • Grind eggshells into a powder and give salads or other food preparations a calcium boost. Some pet owners have successfully used the powder to treat their dog’s diarrhea!
  • I have even used eggshell bits to help scrub food off a hard-to-clean pan!

Coffee grounds to recycle.

Coffee grounds should never go down the kitchen drain…even through a garbage disposal.  Mixing with soaps and fats in the drain pipe, the grounds can quickly plug the drain.  And, coffee grounds should never be trashed unless they are decaffeinated!  Grounds containing caffeine are an excellent addition to sprinkle around plants or enhance a compost pile.  The grounds will help draw more flavor and nutrients into the fruits of plants in a backyard garden.

Make the most of used coffee grounds.  They will:

  • Contribute nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus to the soil.
  • Act as pest repellent for ants, slugs and snails.
  • Attract more useful worms to your garden or compost pile.
  • Remove the dead cell surface layer and encourage blood circulation of your skin. This is really beneficial for sufferers of acne and cellulite.
  • Soak up onion and garlic smells from your hands. Coffee grounds also work in place of baking soda to remove smells from my refrigerator.  Throw a few tablespoons of into an ash tray to reduce stale smoke stench.
  • Reduce slipperiness and speed up ice melting on an ice covered sidewalk or driveway.
Tea to recycle.

Tea grounds also contain a moderate amount of caffeine so, these grounds can add to the health and well-being of both you and your garden plants…almost as much as coffee.

  • Create weak tea by boiling used tea bags in a big bucket of water. Cool it…then use the liquid for watering plants.  Sprinkle the tea leaves around plants.  This will not only fertilize the soil and help protect plants from fungus diseases, it will discourage mice.
  • Throw old tea bags into the compost pile. NOTE:  Metal staples do not decompose.  Remove them!
  • Just like coffee grounds, dry tea leaves will absorb nasty odors from refrigerators, litter boxes, trash cans, and any other items that may potentially reek of nose twisting scents!
  • Wet tea bags can draw the venom out of insect bites and stings. They are also a help to reduce swelling, cool sunburn, minimize pain, and remove infection…to aid in healing.

Do not put meat, chicken, or fish in a compost pile.

Caution – It is not wise to add Meat, fat, and bone to your garden or compost pile!  Do not add beef, chicken, or fish!  If you do this, it will introduce the wrong kind of bacteria…anaerobic.  And, adding animal products will attract a host of uninvited guests including raccoons…and mice, which will bring in snakes (lovers of mice as their primary food source).


And, Then…There Is Jed…

My neighbor Jed stopped by to see my garden the other day.  Jed was a retired farmer and he always seemed to have a new and fresh story about his many years on the farm.

On his farm, he had cows, horses, mules, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, and bulls, along with fields of corn and wheat.

On this occasion, he recounted the time a tornado came through and demolished his farmstead.

He said that he was able to get his family into the storm cellar just before the tornado struck.  The twister seemed to last forever.  But, when it was over, he peeked out and saw that both the farm house and the barn were completely destroyed.

Jed then checked on his farm animals and saw that the cows, horses, mules, chickens, sheep, goats, and pigs were all lying flat out on the ground…not moving.  Sadly, he realized that they had not survived the terrible storm.

Then, Jed looked on the other side of the barn and saw that all of his bulls were still standing which completely amazed him!

He walked over to them and asked how they were able to remain standing when all the other animals had fallen to the ground?”

The bulls replied, “We bulls wobble…but, we don’t fall down!”

We bulls wobble. But, we don't fall down.


If you’re interested, you can search this website for more of Jed’s stories

After learning more about recycling your garbage, are you ready to recycle that waste?  What do you think about recycling eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags into your garden or compost pile?  Let me know in the comments below or email me:


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

4 thoughts on “Recycle Waste Management – Keep It Out Of The Garbage Can!

  1. roamy Reply

    Hello Jim
    Thanks for sharing this post,really informative and things very well explained in an easy way to understand.
    It`s a shame that people still litter, not only is waste unhygienic and an eyesore, it`S just disgusting when not disposed of properly.
    Luckily we recycle everything in my country and littering is prohibited and can ensure really heavy fines.Having said that, there are countries where garbage collection is a foreign word so even if someone wanted to recycle, it gets hard.
    It`s funny that items we throw away like eggshells still have so many uses.You mention using eggshells in scrubbing hard to scrub the pan, brilliant knowing it cost NIL.
    Using coffee on sidewalks to melt away snow, this is new to me but again a brilliant idea.
    Really useful post, not only does our garbage help save cash, it helps save the planet, personally, I wish people could recycle more.
    Really enjoyed your post, thanks so much for sharing.

    • Jim Reply

      If more folks took the time to discover how much of their food scraps could be recycled for their own personal benefit…both health-wise and money-wise…they would be completely astounded!

      But, alas, most people, especially in the U.S.A., go about their busy lives convinced that they do not have the time to learn basic concepts that would repurpose what they call garbage.  Just a little knowledge on ways to use those throw away bits and pieces of so called waste food products would not only enhance their lives but, save them a ton of money!

      Using eggshells for cleaning pans and coffee grounds to melt snow are tried and true techniques and, as you said, they cost absolutely zilch!

      Thanks, for your comments.  Come back soon!


  2. Helen Doyle Reply

    Jim, a man after my own heart. I usually have a large composting area. At the moment our composters are possums and wallabies with a few ducks. So we get pre-digested compost. Well we can’t keep them out of the area so if you can’t beat them – join them. We now have a lush lawn over what was previously somewhat barren ground. With no weeds!
    With a lot of food scraps, use hot composting to kill weed seeds and the baddie organisms don’t survive. I do this and often we could see steam coming off the compost. That is when I turn it so it treat the waste that hadn’t been heated and also make sure it didn’t burst into flame. I never had weeds or microorganism problems in or from my garden. (The bull liked eating this hot meal too!)

    Another great answer to food waste is worm farms. Even meats can go in as long as you can keep the meat eating critters away. Use a handful of dolomite regularly when you feed them. This prevents odours. Don’t put citrus or things like watermelon seeds in as they can ferment and really upset the worms’ tums (this will most likely kill them). You also need to check what else upsets them.

    Paper goes into the farm and I also use it as a weed mat in my above ground gardens.

    At the moment I haven’t had time for the garden and my weeds look as lush as your vegetables.

    Great looking garden and very informative post.

    • Jim Post authorReply

      I’m glad you liked the post, Helen! Composting is a great way to not only fertilize your garden but, as you say, to kill the weed seeds!

      You may be interested in some of the product reviews here at The Perfect Vegetable Garden…especially Greenhouses and the related Accessories…since you are a serious gardener.

      Also, check out my article on some amazing ways to use throw-away parts of vegetables and fruits. It is an eye opener!

      Great to read your comment!

      Keep on growing!


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