The newest law in a slew of legislation coming from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office could be that New Yorkers have to separate their food scraps for recycling. The city will take it from there, using those food scraps for composting.
For most city-dwellers, composting is impossible. To do it properly, you need a large outdoor space, and it should be far away from your home because it can get smelly. In that sense, this is a brilliant idea — the landfills won’t be filled with food scraps that could otherwise be used for good, and the city will gain some quality soil ingredients. Furthermore, the city has had a dismal record when it comes to recycling: historically, only about 15 percent of waste makes its way to a recycling facility. This new requirement would definitely help that. However, it could get restrictive.
According to the New York Times, ”In the latest 12-month period recorded, the Sanitation Department issued 75,216 summonses to home and building owners for failing to recycle. Officials expected that more summonses will be issued in the current fiscal year, because the department has redeployed personnel to recycling enforcement.” The fact that summonses are being issued for failure to recycle means that someone is checking, which seems a bit like Big Brother.
However, considering New York has diverted much of its waste to other states’ landfills, it is definitely time for a drastic change.
Many people don’t know that composting and treating your puppies aren’t the only things you can do with food scraps. Here are five more ways to use scraps, and they are perfect for apartment-dwellers and people who just don’t want to compost alike.
1. Clean Your Stove
With all of the “natural” cleaning products on the market, people are obviously interested in getting their homes clean without all the chemical ingredients. Did you know you can get this same effect for free? If you have halves of oranges, lemons, or limes that have been used for their juice, these are perfect for cleaning surfaces like your stove. The enzymes in the citrus clean tough grease and stains easily. Just rub the half of your fruit on the stove and wipe off with a damp cloth.
2. Make Broth
Don’t throw vegetable peels or scraps away. Put them in an airtight container and freeze them. As you collect vegetable scraps, keep adding them to your container in the freezer. Once you have a good amount, put them all in a pot, cover them with water, and put it on the stove. Allow it to simmer for at least an hour, more if you want a stronger flavor, and then drain it. Keep the liquid as broth for your next homemade soup. Before adding peels, though, be sure they are cleaned of any pesticides, wax, or dirt. You don’t want that in your broth!
3. Take a Bath
Cucumber peels are great additions to bath time. They won’t add a pleasing scent — for that, you’ll have to use lemon or orange peels — but they will add a soothing element to your next soak. You know how spas put cucumber slices over your eyes to sooth puffiness and redness? The peels in a bath do the same thing and can work miracles on bug bites or other skin irritations.
4. Make Tea
Adding citrus peels to your tea enhances flavor and can add some great nutrients, too. Lemons and limes might not be at their best in the winter, but you can save those summer peels to add to tea later. Just scrape the white part of the rind off, because that can be really bitter, and lay your peels out to dry for a few days. Once they are dehydrated, they can be stored in an airtight container for months. Add the peels to your tea as it steeps for a great flavor.
5. Shine Your Shoes
Banana peels are great shoe-shiners. Since you don’t want all that toxic stuff from your shoe polish anyway, next time try using a banana peel. Just rub the inside of the peel on your shoes and watch it shine up! Banana peels can be used to shine other things, too.
Photo Credit: fdecomite
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