I hope everyone is continuing to stay safe and healthy during these trying times. One of the very few benefits of working from home and closing non-essential businesses is that we have had time to reflect on what is truly necessary in our lives. At least personally, trips to the mall and eating out have been replaced by digging up old clothes and home-made meals. So, in the spirit of frugality and reducing consumption, this week's digest theme is up-cycling from home. Rather than only feature new products, we are giving four examples of ways that you can get more out of the things you already own.
Compost? Freeze It For Stock First. 🍲
I keep a giant container of "kitchen bits" in my freezer. Whether it be onion peels, herb stems, tomato cores, or potato peelings, this frozen collection of food scraps has become a secret weapon in the kitchen. Whenever I need stock or am in the mood for a bowl of ramen, I dump all of these bits into a pot of water and boil it off for an hour. After seasoning, a splash of wine and a quick strain, I'm always left with remarkably flavourful stock. These scraps would otherwise have been thrown away, so this hack literally creates something out of waste.
Most of us know that we can donate our used clothes to Goodwill or The Salvation Army, but what should be done with used designer clothes and fashion staples that can be resold? ThredUp is the world's largest online consignment and thrift store, making it easy to buy and sell high-quality secondhand clothes. As budgets tighten and retail remains closed, we think ThredUp is a sustainable shopping alternative. They add fifteen thousand items daily, maintain a high quality collection and even have a payout estimator so you can see what your used clothes are worth.
Peel Your Veggies? We'd Rather Not. 🥕
If you're not saving peels to make broth, consider not peeling at all. Peeling vegetables means up to 20% of the weight goes in the garbage or compost. Many recipes call for peeling skinned vegetables, but most of the time this isn't necessary! For ginger and carrots there are almost no taste or texture differences between the peeled and unpeeled versions. Even potatoes can be left unpeeled in most recipes, assuming all the dirt is washed off and scabs removed. Plus, avoiding the peeling step saves time!
We've all had the experience of owning a gift card to a store we never shop at, or purchased things using a gift card we otherwise wouldn't have. It's not surprising that gift cards promote excess consumption: 20% of their collective value is never redeemed and when they are redeemed 60% of consumers spend more than the gift card's value. Gift Card Granny is simple: you can exchange your gift cards for cash or towards other retailers. There are a few services doing this, but Gift Card Granny currently has a promotion supporting local restaurants going through tough times we thought was commendable.