12 Ways to Use Food Waste and Save Money

On average, Americans waste more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. Make the most of groceries, reduce trash and food waste, and save yourself money with these 12 simple ideas. I have also included a few recipes that utilize multiple food scraps to feed your family on a budget.


Vegetable trimmings

Add all inedible vegetable trimmings—carrot peels, zucchini stems, onion ends, celery root ends and more—to a large ziptop bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, add trimmings to a large stockpot, cover with water, and simmer for 4–6 hours to make rich vegetable stock.


Chicken Bones

Make a stock by covering a pile of chicken bones with water in a large stockpot. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 3–4 hours or until reduced by half and golden brown.


Apple Peels

Toss with a bit of sugar and cinnamon. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 400˚ for 10 minutes to make chips.


Citrus Peels

Peel the outer skin of citrus, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. Dry in a 200˚ oven for 2–3 hours, and add to herbal teas. You can also infuse water by tossing peels in and letting them steep for a while.

Darkening bananas

Of course, you can always use past-their-prime bananas to make banana bread. But they’re also good in smoothies and milkshakes, or frozen slightly and blended into one-ingredient “ice cream” or whipped into a nutritious pudding with avocado and peanut butter.


Herb Stems

Use parsley or basil stems right along with the leaves in a batch of pesto.


Parmesan rinds

Add to a simmering pot of minestrone or chicken noodle soup to impart flavor.


Potato Peels

Make chips by tossing potato peels with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 400˚ for about 10 minutes.


Romaine lettuce

Chop the thick outer leaves into slivers; then sauté quickly in olive oil with a thinly sliced garlic clove, salt, and pepper.


Stale bread

Toast, and crumble into bread crumbs to use in meatballs. Or cube, and toss with tomatoes, diced cucumber, chickpeas and vinaigrette for a quick panzanella-style salad. You can also toast and toss into a food processor to make bread crumbs. Use bread crumbs right away, or store in a ziptop bag in the freezer.

Vanilla beans

Cover scraped vanilla beans completely in sugar in an airtight container. Store for 1–2 weeks; then use vanilla-scented sugar in baked goods or stirred into tea.


Author Credit: Amy Palanjian

Art Credit: Jennifer Olson and New Hope Network

This post (or portions of this post) was provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.

7 thoughts on “12 Ways to Use Food Waste and Save Money”

  1. I love all these ideas, the vanilla beans is my favorite because that probably smells good and adds a little jazz. Thanks for sharing.

  2. All these ideas are very useful!! Not only will they save on trash and god waste, but doing these money can be saved! We can all use that!
    I knew Americans were wasteful, but not to the tune of more than 20 pounds of food per person per month!! There are people in poor countries that would love these “scrapes!” Of course this was pin worthy! Thank you for sharing! We have used chicken bones and potato peels for chips and the over ripest bananas for banana nut bread All delicious uses!

  3. Great ideas! We waste too much food that ends up in the garbage. My husband doesn’t even want to have a compost, because of pests and rodents. I’m working on it!

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