[In his ongoing but sporadic series Don't Throw That Away!, the Green Cheapskate shows you how to repurpose just about anything, saving money and the environment in the process. Send him your repurposing ideas and challenges, but whatever you do, Don't Throw That Away!]
I love eggs, and not just because I love the way they taste. Of course, part of my eggophilia is also due to the fact that eggs are an affordable, high-quality protein, usually costing less than twenty cents apiece. Despite much publicized cholesterol warnings, more and more research is revealing the many health benefits of eating eggs -- everything from strengthening muscles to improving brain function -- with most research now showing that an egg or two a day is just fine for most people.
Plus, eggs have clever packaging. I hate paying for packaging, but when it comes to the uber-chic engineering marvel known as the eggshell, I don't mind the cost. Madison Avenue marketing gurus or MIT engineering professors could never design packaging as cool and functional as the eggshell. If eggs didn't come in their own shell we'd probably package them in some form of plastic, which might be recyclable, but would never have the multitude of reuses attributable to Mother Nature's own packaging.
Take a crack at these eggshell reuses:
1. Compost for Naturally Fertilized Soil
Eggshells quickly decompose in the compost pile and add valuable calcium and other minerals to the soil in the process.
2. Nontoxic Pest Control in the Garden
Scatter crushed eggshell around your plants and flowers to help deter plant-eating slugs, snails and cutworms without using eco-unfriendly pesticides. Also, deer hate the smell of eggs, so scattering eggshells around the flowerbed will help keep Bambi away from your begonias.
3. Less Bitter Coffee
Add an eggshell to the coffee in the filter, and your morning coffee will be less bitter. The spent coffee grounds, eggshell and bio-degradable filter are then conveniently ready for the compost pile.
4. Splendid Seedling Starters
Fill biodegradable eggshell halves with potting soil instead of using peat pots to start seedlings for the garden. And an egg carton on the windowsill is the perfect way to start a dozen tomato seedlings in shells before transplanting to the garden in the spring.
5. Eco-friendly Household Abrasive
Shake crushed eggshells and a little soapy water to scour hard-to-clean items like thermoses and vases. Crushed eggshells can also be used as a nontoxic abrasive on pots and pans.
6. Eggy, Crafty Projects
"Blow out" the inside of a raw egg and paint/decorate the hollow shell to make your Faberge eggs or other craft projects. Pieces of egg shell (plain or dyed) are also used in mosaic art projects.
7. Clever Jello and Chocolate Molds
Carefully fill "blown out" eggshells (above) with jello or chocolate to make unique egg-shaped treats; peel away the eggshell mold before serving, or serve as is and let your guests discover the surprise inside.
8. Natural Drain Cleaner
Keep a couple of crushed eggshells in your kitchen sink strainer at all times. They trap additional solids and they gradually break up and help to naturally clean your pipes on their way down the drain.
9. Membrane Home Remedies
The super-thin membrane inside the eggshell has long been used as a home remedy for a wide range of ailments, from healing cuts to treating ingrown toenails.
10. Treat Skin Irritations
Dissolve an eggshell in a small jar of apple cider vinegar (takes about two days) and use the mixture to treat minor skin irritations and itchy skin.
11. Egg on Your Face
Pulverize dried egg shells with a mortar and pestle, then whisk the powder in with an egg white and use for a healthful, skin-tightening facial. Allow the face mask to dry before rinsing it off.
12. The Fuel of Tomorrow?
Just when your brain was totally fried by all my ingenious reuses for eggshells, researchers at Ohio State University recently discovered that eggshells might be the key to producing affordable hydrogen fuel. I've heard of walking on eggshells, but maybe some day we'll be driving on them too.
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