7 Unconventional Ways to Upcycle Food Waste

7 Unconventional Ways to Upcycle Food Waste

7 Unconventional Ways to Upcycle Food Waste


Food waste is a major problem around the world. Nearly one third of all food produced globally ends up as waste. This waste ends up rotting in landfills, releasing methane gas which contributes to climate change. However, there are many creative ways we can upcycle food waste, giving it new life and keeping it out of landfills. In this article, I will share 7 unconventional ways to upcycle food waste that you may not have considered before.

1. Make Homemade Broth or Stock

One of the easiest ways to use food scraps is to make homemade broth or stock. Keep a bag in your freezer to collect vegetable peelings, herb stems, onion skins, mushroom stems, and meat bones. Once you have enough scraps, simmer them in water for a few hours to extract all of the nutrients and flavor. Strain out the solids and you’ll be left with a nutritious, delicious broth perfect for soups, stews, risotto, and more. Making your own stock reduces waste and saves you money compared to store-bought.

2. Blend Vegetable Scraps into Smoothies

Many vegetable peelings and ends can be blended up into nutritious smoothies. Carrot tops, beet greens, celery leaves, spinach stems, parsley stems, and broccoli stalks all pack extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Just run them through the blender with your favorite fruits, milk, yogurt, or juice. It’s an easy way to get in some extra greens. The mild flavor of most blended vegetable scraps meshes well with sweeter smoothie ingredients.

3. Make Vegetable Scraps Chips

Stale veggies like carrot peels, beet skins, and broccoli stalks make surprisingly delicious chips when roasted. Simply toss the scraps with a bit of oil, salt and any other seasonings you like. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F until browned and crispy. Kids love these chips as an alternative to less healthy packaged chips. They satisfy a craving for crunchy and salty.

4. Bake Vegetable Pulp into Crackers

When you juice vegetables, don’t discard the pulp! That dry veggie pulp can be mixed with some flour and baking powder and baked into crunchy, savory crackers. Add spices, seeds or nuts for extra flavor and nutrition. Spread them with hummus, nut butter, or avocado for a healthy snack. This gives new life to what would normally be wasted pulp.

5. Ferment Vegetable Scraps into Pickles

Fermenting is an easy preservation method that enhances nutrients and health-promoting probiotics. Many discarded veggies like onions skins, carrots, radish tops and beet greens can be pickled. Simply mix with salt and spices, keep submerged under liquid, and allow to ferment. In a few days you’ll have probiotic-rich pickles to enjoy. Fermenting transforms scraps into something delicious with health benefits.

6. Make DIY Beet Ink

Here’s an unusual way to use an abundant farm scrap: transform beet waste into DIY ink using alcohol! Simmer beet scraps in rubbing alcohol, then strain out the pulp. Add a few drops of vinegar. Your ink is ready to use. Make custom art projects with kids. It’s a fun way to demonstrate sustainability and use the brilliant purple-red color of beets.

7. Upcycle Stale Bread into Croutons

Bread crusts and heels going stale? Don’t waste them. Instead, transform stale bread pieces into crispy, flavorful croutons. Simply cube the bread, toss with a bit of oil and desired seasonings, and bake until toasted and crunchy. Use them to top soups and salads. Making your own croutons is tastier and cheaper than buying them. It’s a simple way to reduce food waste.


With a bit of creativity, food scraps can be upcycled into something even more useful and appetizing. Next time you’re about to toss those carrot peels, broccoli stalks or stale bread crusts in the trash, consider giving them new life instead. Upcycling food waste keeps it out of landfills, saves money, and results in nutritious foods to enjoy. Implement one of these unconventional ideas in your own kitchen!