· Food & Recipes · Food Hacks · 10 Easy Ways To Waste Less Food And Save More Money

10 Easy Ways To Waste Less Food And Save More Money

10 Ways To Cut Down On Food Waste

You don’t need a degree in environmental science to understand why it’s important to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Our household waste is processed by landfills and incinerators that add millions of tons of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, so reducing our household waste can reduce those emissions and help the environment.

You may already be cutting back on disposable products in your home, but there’s another area where you can cut back on waste — your kitchen. Food waste is not only a waste of money, but it’s bad for the environment, too!

Today I’ll be sharing 10 easy hacks for using up common food items. Using as much of the food you buy as you possibly can is an easy commitment that will save you money, and do some good too!

Related:  The Easy Way To Get The Most Juice From Limes & Lemons

10 Ways To Cut Down On Food Waste

yellow spoon putting oatmeal into a peanut butter jar

1. Peanut Butter

If your peanut butter jar is empty, you can still get one last use out of it before throwing it out (or better yet, recycling it!)

Choose a morning to have hot oatmeal for breakfast, and scoop it right into the empty peanut butter jar. The heat from the oatmeal will help melt the remaining peanut butter, and you can mix it into your oatmeal for a tasty breakfast!

jar of nutella with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

2. Nutella

There are few sights in this world more tragic than an empty jar of Nutella. (Okay, slight exaggeration.) But like the peanut butter tip above, you can still get one more use out of that jar before you get rid of it!

Scoop your favorite flavor of ice cream right into the Nutella jar for a delicious snack. The leftover Nutella will mix right into your ice cream, and you can rest easy knowing that your jar of Nutella did not die in vain.

plastic container with butter and an egg in it

3. Butter

If you’ve reached the bottom of a tub of butter, don’t toss it out just yet! Hang on to that container and make some delicious poached eggs in it – right in your microwave!

Crack an egg into the container, then add 2 tablespoons of water and a dash of salt. Place the container into your microwave, and cook for 1 minute. You’ll have a tasty poached egg without the mess or effort!

loaf of chocolate chip banana bread on a wooden board with bananas in the background

4. Bananas

Have a few bananas that are going brown? Save them for a batch of banana bread later on! If you don’t have enough for a batch, just store them in a freezer bag in your freezer. Keep adding brown bananas to your collection until you have enough to make bread. Yum!

Read More: How To Quickly Ripen Bananas For Banana Bread

various dried herbs in small glass

5. Fresh Herbs

If you have some fresh herbs in your fridge that are on their way to going bad, extend their life span by drying them! You can easily dry herbs in your oven.

small glass jar filled with homemade strawberry jam

6. Fruit

A few weeks ago I had a pound of strawberries that I wasn’t sure what to do with, until I remembered my Instant Pot! I’ve been slowly getting acquainted with my new favorite appliance, and I was delighted when I learned that I could use it to make jam. I used that pound of strawberries to make some of the easiest and most delicious jam I’ve ever had! Check out my post below for all the details.

Read More: How To Make Fresh Strawberry Jam In Your Instant Pot

hand holding ice cubes with lemon peels in them over a kitchen sink drain

7. Lemons

Sometimes you need a lemon just for the zest, and then you’re not sure what else to use the lemon for. Don’t toss it out, because there are all kinds of ways you can put that lemon to good use!

You can use half of the lemon along with some coarse salt to scrub your cutting board clean. Or you can use that lemon to make your own sanitizing vinegar cubes to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal! (Get instructions on how to make them below.)

Read More: How To Naturally Clean And Sanitize Your Garbage Disposal

hand holding a small wooden spoon over a glass jar full of dried lemon powder

8. Lemon Peels

If you don’t need a lemon for the zest, you might have bought it for the juice. But good news – you can use the peels, too! Learn how to dry the peels to make your own dried lemon peel. It’s easy to do, and lends great lemon flavor to almost any recipe!

jar full of homemade vegetable stock surrounded by various vegetables

9. Veggies

Save the peels, ends, and discarded parts from the fresh veggies that you use to make your own homemade vegetable stock. Store your collection in a freezer bag in your freezer, and keep adding to it until you have enough veggie material to make your stock!

Related: Homemade Instant Pot Chicken (& Veggie) Stock

jar of homemade mayonnaise next to a sandwich and two pieces of bread on a wooden board

10. Eggs

Sometimes you need egg whites for a recipe, but what should you do with the yolks? Use them to make homemade mayonnaise, of course! Here’s a recipe that’s perfect for any occasion where you have a couple of spare egg yolks on hand.

Homemade Mayonnaise


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


Add the yolks, vinegar, mustard, and salt to your blender or food processor and turn it on low.

Pour the oil into your blender or processor SLOWLY while it blends, to allow the mixture to emulsify properly. Once the mixture has reached the desired texture, turn off the blender and transfer your mayo to a storage container.

What are your favorite tips for cutting down on food waste?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • Two of your suggestions pose a health risk: cooking in plastic containers and eating raw egg yolks in homemade mayonnaise, a possible source of salmonella.

  • Cooking in a butter bowl in the microwave is not a healthy decision especially to save what little you would of the product. Scrape it out the best you can or put some warm not really hot oatmeal in it and enjoy. Orbiter food you like butter in.

  • Don’t throw away your banana peels…make them into a sleep tea. Google it! I made it last night for the first time and slept like a baby. Afterward, throw them into the compost heap for your garden.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon reading your tips and ideas. They are so practical, inexpensive, and time saving. Look forward to following you from now on. Thanks!!

  • I never throw away a peanut butter jar. They are great see-through containers, stack nicely, and often take up less shelf space. They can hold left-overs, candy kisses, individual packages of condiments, nuts in the refrigerator ……and spools of thread, craft supplies, hair curlers, pennies, home-made cleaning formulas …and these handy containers are free

  • I just tried to poached egg in the microwave idea – AWESOME! I have always shied away from making poached eggs cuz I always lose half the white in the water. This was great – I didn’t need FIVE eggs to get the egg/toast ratio even!

  • Feel the need to add my 2 cents: Most of these hacks are fabulous, as always. :)

    However, being someone with a mother who is currently dying of aggressive breast cancer (and with no family history of breast cancer), I have to agree strongly with the comments about not heating plastic. Heating food in plastic has been associated with cancer – and using plastic as food storage, in general, has been linked to breast cancer, in particular.

    Like most red-blooded consumers in the modern world, I grew up being led to believe that plastic is just soooo convenient and cost-effective. Guess what though: cancer treatment? Not so convenient or cost-effective. Not to mention heart-breaking for everyone involved.

    I strongly urge people not to store food or water in plastic, and at the very least, please don’t heat food in it. In addition to not microwaving food in plastic, that includes not adding hot foods to plastic containers just to get the last bits of food out of them. I totally applaud frugality and avoiding wasting food, but not at the expense of health and well-being.

    All of that being said, I think this is one of the best blogs on the web, and I very much appreciate your very useful tips, Jillee. :)

    Wish I’d known about the dangers of plastic a few decades ago. :(



  • When my bananas start going over the Rainbow Bridge [you can tell I’ve been to Best Friends in Kanab, yay! Love those forgotten animals] I cut them up, freeze, along with the strawberries, cherries [pitted], mangoes, blueberries, any old fruits in separate bags, and make a sort of sorbet in my wonderful Cusinart food processor—1 Banana, a cup of strawberries, a few chunks of mango, cocoa powder, 1/8 tsp him. pink salt [yes! you must use salt] 3-4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa, 6 soft prunes, and, if you must a Tbsp of maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract—whiz it up until it looks like sorbet/ice cream. Put in little paper cups with a stick or whatever you use for homemade “pops” and freeze, though I eat some soft. It’s not real sweet, but it suits me and you-all might just love it. I don’t eat ice cream anymore because of the sugar and fat…Love to hear if people like it at ginkgopro@aol.com.
    Stevie in Longmont, Colorado

  • I freeze slightly overripe peeled bananas and use them in smoothies instead of ice- makes the smoothies creamy like a milkshake!

    (And I agree about the nix on egg poaching in the butter container- that type of plastic is not for the microwave…)

  • Best way to get the last of whatever out of a jar or can is just the lowly ‘rubber’ scraper, or silicone or whatever they are made of now. Always works. I have several and use them for many things.

  • The liquid from canned vegetables, any meat and vegetables that are in amounts too small to use the next day all go into a freezer container. When that container gets full we thaw it and add seasonings and broth. We might add a little more meat and/or veggies, as needed. Makes a great soup.

  • I tried the poached egg idea using a small glass ramekin. After about 35 seconds, the egg started to “pop” and shortly thereafter totally exploded! The white was all over the inside of the microwave, and the yolk was hard as if it were hard boiled. even blew off the paper towel I had laid on top to contain the “pops”. I don’t recommend this idea.

    • The yolk must always be pierced before microwaving! In my single days, I would pierce with whatever (skewer, ice pick, paper clip), then slightly swirl the egg. It was perfect on an English muffin with melted cheese. Try again, gf!

  • Great idea! By reducing the amount of household waste we produce, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help sustain the environment!

  • My favorite use for the nearly empty peanut butter container is to give it to our dog when she’s bored or as a treat after dinner. She manages to get the last bits of peanut butter out and has fun while doing it! (Note: do not do this with glass jars, only plastic ones.)

  • I would not poach the egg in a plastic container that was for butter, usually that quality of plastic is not to be used in a microwave. I personally don’t use any plastic in a microwave.

    • I am pretty careful about plastic in my microwave, even removing frozen dinners from most of the packaging into a glass dish or pie plate before proceeding. But I like the idea of poaching a pierced egg in microwave cooking for a quick meal clean up.

  • When you are down to the last of the mayo, before you recycle the jar, add a little milk and a spice or two. Shake and you have a quick salad dressing .

  • Great ideas. I love the Insta-pot strawberry jam idea. Unfortunately I was unable to get it to print. I like that one because it gets so hot and humid where I live in the summertime in the Midwest. And it won’t make the kitchen too hot.

  • Today’s “One Good Thing by Jillee” e-mail included this article as well as “15 Things You Must Never Microwave”.
    As Janette and Alice already pointed out, it is not a “good thing” to microwave food in is plastic containers due to harmful toxins that they release in the process (namely plastic butter/margarine tubs). I would also be wary of adding hot oatmeal to a peanut butter jar for fear of releasing the same harmful toxins as described in that article. A contradiction of “Good Things”… is not a good thing!

    I also agree with Alice about using raw egg yolks to make mayo. The risk of Salmonella is definitely not a “Good Thing” and potentially life threatening to some!

    A Note to Jillee – Please don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoy receiving your helpful hints as I have learned a great deal from them. Although the thoughts of harm coming to just one person is not worth me keeping my thoughts to myself! I sincerely thank you for your time and efforts in all that you do, it is truly appreciated.

  • Oh, these are great tips as always Jillee. I’m going to share this post with my social media groups. Going to see how I can incorporate more of your posts into my blog too. Your type of tips are just what my readers are always looking for too. Keep up the great work. The oatmeal in the peanut butter jar has certainly got me wanting my peanut butter jar to empty faster!

  • When you get to the end of the jelly jar, use it to flavor and sweeten your tea. Just pour your hot tea into the jar. If you’re going to put the lid on it, though, give it a moment to cool down first.

  • Not sure about raw egg yolks in the mayo due to potential salmonella. I know two people who have suffered from salmonella poisoning and it’s not fun.

  • The poached eggs in the empty butter/ margarine tub idea may not be safe. Items that are ment to be kept cold are probably not packaged in microwave safe containers and could release toxic chemicals during heating.

  • Thank you so much for all your good tips Jillee, have been trying some and they really work. I so look forward to your email every day
    Kind regards Ethel

  • >