What to do with banana peels

July 31, 2020 by  
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Banana peels. They’re so associated with comedy, you probably crack a smile just thinking about these famous casings. Bananas are a delicious snack and a little taste of the tropics that just about everyone enjoys, but they’re also an environmental problem. So what can you do with banana peels once you’ve eaten the delicious treats they keep wrapped inside? What’s the big deal? Other than being an obvious slip-and-fall hazard, what’s the big deal with banana peels? For starters, they produce methane gas. This gas is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is already pretty bad stuff for the planet. Related: 10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas Americans eat around 3.2 billion — yes, billion — pounds of bananas every year. That is a lot of methane-producing peels. But don’t give up on eating bananas just yet. There are plenty of environmentally friendly uses for banana peels. Banana peels as fertilizer and compost If you’re a home gardener, banana peels are a valuable resource. Wrap your peels around the base of your tomato plants. This works as a great slow-release fertilizer that provides your plants with nutrients, namely phosphorus, throughout the season. You can also soak your peels in water overnight. Take the banana-rich water and mix it with standard water to use for all your indoor plants. You want to get a ratio of about one part banana-peel water to five parts normal water. Banana peels are a great addition to the compost pile or bin because they are so rich in nutrients. The peels break down very quickly in compost. These peels are also great for animal feed as well. If you keep chickens, rabbits or any type of livestock, grind up dried banana peels and add them to your feed. Do you have aphids in your garden ? Cut two or three banana peels into pieces and dig one-inch holes near the base of your plants that are damaged from insects. Drop the pieces of peel inside. Ants and aphids will be drawn to the peels instead of to your plants. Home remedies If you have itchy bug bites or a rash, such as poison ivy, these fruit skins provide soothing relief. Rub the peel directly on the area to reduce the itchiness and help your skin heal. You can even use banana peels as a cheap polish. Rub the outer layer of peels on leather items of all kinds, including shoes and furniture, to polish the leather. Blend a peel with water to make silver polish. Need to remove a splinter? Leave the needles in the sewing kit and grab yourself a banana peel. Tape a piece of the peel to the skin directly where the splinter has embedded itself and leave it there for about 30 minutes. The enzymes in the peel will naturally draw the splinter toward the surface of the skin so it can easily be pulled out. You can integrate banana peels into your daily skincare routine, as they may help fade scars and soothe acne. Rub the fleshy part of the peel directly on your face. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you rinse your face thoroughly. Do this every day, and you could notice an improvement in scars and acne within a week or two. Banish bugs Grab a container with a lid and poke some small holes in the lid. Place the peel inside and cover the container with the perforated lid. This is a great way to attract and trap fruit flies and other little insects. They’re drawn to the sweet smell of the banana, and then they’re trapped by your DIY trick. You can throw the peel away after a day or two and freshen the trap as needed. Cook with banana peels Get creative and start experimenting with cooking banana peels. They can be made into vinegar, pickled in brine, broiled with cinnamon and sugar to become a unique dessert or even turned into a spicy curry. There are dozens of ways to cook with the peels that you once threw away. Once you start using them in your recipes, you’re going to find all kinds of ways to give new life to those peels. Add a peel to any roasting pan when you’re cooking meat or fish. This helps to tenderize and moisten the meat while it’s cooking. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can actually just eat your banana peels. They’re full of antioxidants and nutrients, so they’re actually really good for you. Boil peels for about 10 minutes in water and run it through the juicer or blend it up with other fruits and enjoy! Banana peels make a great chutney ingredient, too. Soak them in cold water, then boil the peels and chop them up to mix in with other chutney ingredients to add a tasty, nutritious burst to your dish. There are several different recipes for banana tea online, or you can play around with your own recipe . If you boil the peels for about 10 minutes, enough flavor will be released into the water to create a great flavor. You can also candy your peels to use as a topping for cupcakes, cakes, yogurt, ice cream and a variety of other treats. Chop up the peel into small pieces and cook it on medium heat with a half-cup of sugar and a half-cup of water. Once it caramelizes, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet or parchment paper to allow it to cool. Then, you can chop or break it into pieces and have a sweet banana topping any time. Getting serious about banana peels It’s no laughing matter — banana peels have too many uses to simply be thrown away. The peels are a great source of both potassium, magnesium and fiber, and they’re packed with Vitamins C and B6. So if you’re throwing out your peels, you’re losing out on an all-purpose personal care product, household remedy, garden aid and cooking ingredient that can be added to just about anything. Images via Louis Hansel , t_watanabe , Vicran and bluebudgie

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What to do with banana peels

12 things you should never compost

July 7, 2020 by  
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Composting is an easy and effective way to deal with food waste and fertilize your garden. Compost bins are readily available for purchase in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. You can also easily make your own composter or even simply create a compost pile. Layers of brown material, food scraps and green material decompose, turning into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Although composting is simple and advantageous, there are still some items that you should never toss into the mix. Here are some compost no-no’s to abide by. Pet waste Although it may seem like a natural material , dog poop and cat litter are not suitable for the compost pile. Remember, in essence, if it’s in the compost, it’s on next year’s lettuce. Do you want cat poop in your lettuce? Besides the yuck factor, parasites, bacteria, germs and viruses that are harmful to humans can survive in this waste. Fish Even though fish scales and other parts break down quickly, it’s not quick enough if you have cats in the neighborhood. Fish is best left out of the mix mostly because it is likely to attract animals. Plus, the smell is likely to offend the neighbors. Meat Meat is another stinky attractant. Not only will your dogs and local wildlife be unable to resist the temptation, but the internal temperatures created during the composting process might not get high enough to kill pathogens. Related: Compostable, portable Stak pods eliminate the need for individually wrapped snacks Treated wood Pressure-treated lumber is a durable choice for fencing, decking and other outdoor projects. But when that wood has served its purpose, find a disposal method where it doesn’t end up in your compost. The chemicals in pressure-treated lumber can leach into your food and also compromise the balance of your compost mixture. Untreated lumber and bark chips can go into the compost, as can other natural materials, such as straw.  Fire ashes Similar to the reasons explained above, wood ash can contain chemicals that affect the end product of compost. However, if you’re certain the ashes are exclusively from clean, untreated, natural wood , it can be a nice addition to the mix. Dairy products All animal products are likely to attract unwanted attention to your compost pile, so cheese, yogurt, milk and other dairy products should not be composted. Although some critters, such as worms, are useful for composting, the rodents and flies that would go after the rotting dairy would just cause problems for your compost pile. Fat, oil and grease Again, these items attract animals , but they also upset the balance and repel some of the water that is essential to the decomposition process. Diseased plants Although the composter is the perfect spot for plants you’ve pulled from the garden or yard, make sure the plants are disease-free. Any bacteria or other infestations can transfer to other plants down the road, so it’s best to dispose of them instead. Weeds For a backyard composter, the temperatures are often lower than commercial facilities that treat all kinds of yard debris, so use caution with which plants you add. Weeds can often survive the heat limitations of a backyard composter, meaning they can pop up again in the garden after you’ve dispersed the compost. Grass clippings with pesticides Grass clippings are a welcome element and typically make up the “green” portion of the compost recipe. However, if your lawn is treated with pesticides , keep the clippings out of the composter and, subsequently, your food supply. The chemicals in the grass can also kill organisms essential to the composting process. Black walnut components While nearly every organic plant, with the exception of weeds, is welcome at the composting party, black walnut trees produce juglone, a substance that can be dangerous or even deadly to many vegetable plants. Plastics It might seem obvious that these are inorganic materials, but some packaging is deceptive in its phrasing and might claim to be compostable. The truth is that many plastic-like polymers still have to reach temperatures only achieved at commercial facilities. So while the label may say it is compostable, read the fine print. It will usually clarify whether the statement pertains to a commercial facility or is suitable for the backyard.  The advantages of composting are both obvious and extensive, so don’t derail your efforts by adding the wrong materials. Instead, focus on the many options you do have to create a healthy compost pile. All organic food scraps, mostly those from fruits and vegetables, can be combined with eggshells and even coffee grounds. For the second element, include brown items such as unprinted paper bags, toilet paper rolls, unbleached napkins, small twigs, leaves and bark. Finally, round out your ingredients with the green from healthy plant materials and untreated grass. Once you get started, you’ll find out just how many items can be diverted from the street cart to the compost pile — a win for your garden and the planet. Images via Shutterstock

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Cooking for Compost: Thanksgiving

November 20, 2019 by  
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For the Thanksgiving edition of our Cooking for Compost series, … The post Cooking for Compost: Thanksgiving appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Cooking for Compost: Thanksgiving

The Screen House comfortably and sustainably connects with the outdoors

October 23, 2018 by  
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When Camberwell-based design practice Warc Studio Architects was tapped to renovate and extend an existing Edwardian residence in Victoria, the Australian firm also wanted to open the house to greater connection with the outdoors. To mitigate the site’s potentially harsh western aspect and hot summers, the architects strategically constructed an externally operable screen that inspired the project’s name, the Screen House. Passive solar principles were also applied to keep the home comfortable year-round as were other sustainably minded design decisions, such as low-VOC finishes, formaldehyde-free plywood and the inclusion of a compost and vegetable garden. Completed in 2016, the Screen House began with the renovation of an existing detached weatherboard Edwardian residence. The architects upgraded the bathrooms and private areas while simultaneously improving internal circulation and making room for greater landscaping and a new swimming pool. To make the most of the newly added gardens and swimming pool, the firm designed an addition to house a new open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area overlooking the landscape. The main corridor that connects the extension to the existing house provides immediate views to the rear garden from the front entrance. “Windows, cabinetry, walls and ceilings were strategically placed to unveil views and openings to the outside,” the architecture firm explained. “As the the occupants proceed toward the rear, a series of views unfold: the North garden framed by cabinetry; glimpses of the sky through a strip skylight ; views of trees through high level windows; screened views to the western outdoor areas.” Related: An energy-efficient extension in Melbourne captures the owners’ adventurous spirits Timber hardwood screens envelop the rear additions to mitigate unwanted solar gain without compromising views and can be manipulated to maximize seasonal variation in passive solar radiation. To minimize energy needs and waste, the Screen House has also been equipped with high-performance insulation, double glazing, rainwater harvesting and hydronic heating underfoot. + Warc Studio Architects Images by Aaron Pocock

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The Screen House comfortably and sustainably connects with the outdoors

This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers

October 23, 2018 by  
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For those looking to enjoy a serene glamping retreat, this tiny geometric cabin in Slovenia is a dream getaway. Located near the region of Maribor, the itsy-bitsy wooden hut is designed to blend seamlessly into the natural landscape thanks to a large glazed front wall that looks out over the expansive rolling hills. Guests can enjoy the fresh air while swinging from a hammock on the wooden deck or soaking in the hot tub. Guests of the tiny cabin , which starts around $170 per night, will enjoy the modern simplicity of the design. A geometric volume expands the space of the compact interior while adding character to the overall aesthetic. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the front facade were used to connect the interior with the exterior. Of course, the swinging hammock on the front deck is the best way to enjoy the panoramic views of the rolling green hills, mountains and valleys that surround the cabin. Related: This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape The cabin comes with everything needed for a romantic getaway for two. The interior is small with just a queen-sized bed, but it is flooded with natural light . There are also a few tables and shelves for personal belongings. The bathroom is located just a few steps away, and linens and towels as well as bathrobes and slippers are all provided. The best part of the tiny cabin is the wooden deck that has a hammock as well as a small sitting area to enjoy the views. This deck is perfect for a morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. Guests can also enjoy a community fire pit onsite as well as a large fireplace for barbecues. As an extra bonus, the hosts provide a breakfast basket every morning, filled with products from local farms . + Glamping Hub Via Apartment Therapy Images via Glamping Hub

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This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers

These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

October 9, 2018 by  
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In a world headed toward sustainability at every turn, Ochis Coffee is ahead of the curve with its newly-revealed sunglasses made from natural coffee and flax. Unlike standard plastic frames, this coffee-scented eyewear is biodegradable — according to the company, these sunglasses decompose 100 times faster than traditional glasses and become a natural fertilizer for plants . The only thing better than a morning greeted with sunshine is the smell of coffee , which makes the subtle coffee scent of these sunglasses a win-win. The sleek glasses can be fitted for any prescription lenses, or buyers can select one of four colorful UV options. In an innovative design, the temples flex to comfortably fit all face shapes, and the ear-tips can be bent to further improve the fit. Related: HuskeeCup is an eco-friendly cup made entirely from coffee waste The mastermind behind these eco-friendly sunglasses is Max Gavrilenko, who as a child observed as his dad worked in an optical store. Gavrilenko wanted to do things differently though, and after extensive research and development, he is about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first five sustainable models of the organic sunglasses. Ochis Coffee isn’t the first to focus on sustainable sunglasses. However, while most other companies tend to focus on bamboo products for the frames, Gavrilenko and his team have developed a process that eliminates all petroleum, opting instead for a biopolymer made from coffee cake (not the breakfast kind, but rather compressed coffee grounds), flax sawdust and a natural glue made from soybean oil. If you garden, you know coffee is good for the soil — these frames will naturally decompose at the end of the wear cycle, taking about 10 years to break down and become fertilizer. The Kickstarter campaign is preparing to launch soon. In the meantime, you can sign up on the Ochis Coffee website to receive notifications and discounts. Glasses are expected to be priced between $69-$120. + Ochis Coffee

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These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

What To Do With Autumn Leaves

September 21, 2018 by  
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Ah, fall. Back to school, sweater weather, and warm drinks. … The post What To Do With Autumn Leaves appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What To Do With Autumn Leaves

Soil-Savvy Advice for Perky Plants and Tasty Veggies

June 12, 2018 by  
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If you want your yard to yield succulent vegetables, spectacular flowers, … The post Soil-Savvy Advice for Perky Plants and Tasty Veggies appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Soil-Savvy Advice for Perky Plants and Tasty Veggies

4 Tips for Jump-Starting a New Compost Pile

April 5, 2018 by  
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Food scraps and yard waste make up about a quarter … The post 4 Tips for Jump-Starting a New Compost Pile appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

December 22, 2017 by  
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Although frost has arrived in most subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, farmers still carry on even in the most extreme cold climates with the help of innovative technology and thoughtful design. Polar Permaculture Solutions of Norway  and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse of Canada are outstanding examples of defiant, determined agriculture in the Arctic. With features such as hydroponic systems, insulated greenhouses, and compost-warmed geodesic domes, these farms are far from frozen despite their high latitude locations. Benjamin Vidmar, founder of Polar Permaculture Solutions , was inspired to make a change through observations of his home, Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s largest island. “This whole island is about extraction: whales, coal, animals, fish, gas, oil,” Vidmar told Mic . “Everything here is based on taking things from the Earth . I feel like I have to do something for this town.” Vidmar, a chef, began researching methods for growing food in harsh, frigid climates and started growing microgreens for home and restaurant use in an insulated geodesic dome. Since then, Polar Permaculture Solutions has opened its doors for tours and classes for those interested in the challenge. Vidmar hopes to acquire a biodigester, which would create heat and fertilizer from food waste and quail droppings. Related: New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 d Across the Atlantic, then again across the most northern regions of North America, communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories are also implementing innovative systems to grow food despite the short season. In the small town of Inuvik, the Inuvik Community Greenhouse , which was converted from an old hockey rink, is now a cherished community space for all ages. The Greenhouse has 250 members, 149 community garden beds, and 24 smaller beds that grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. During the growing season, which lasts from May to September in the greenhouse, community members donate 100 pounds of food to the local food bank. The Greenhouse also offers a compost collection service for town residents, which reduces local food waste, helps to build greenhouse soil, and financially supports the greenhouse’s growth. Via Mic Images via Polar Permaculture Solutions and Inuvik Greenhouse

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

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