I feel good when I get the most out of something before I throw it away.
Once, when I was in a (manic?) phase about not wasting, I would carefully open every piece of mail received so as to not rip the envelope. Then I would turn the envelope inside out and, using a glue stick, put it back together. Then I would have a perfectly nice stack of envelopes ready to reuse.
I don't do that anymore, and although I'm the best at recycling in our family (even better than the kids) I discard things still useful.
For example, eggshells.
Like most people, I typically drop them into the food waste bin (we have a green bin system here in Ottawa whereby all food scraps get recycled) or in the compost. But lately I've been inspired to use eggshells more intentionally.
This spring I started using them in the garden.
I've been saving the shells from all the eggs we eat. First I rinse them (so they don't get stinky) and keep them in a bowl next to the sink to dry out. You can also dry them in an oven, at a temperature no higher than 175 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 10 minutes or until completely dry. If you don't want to turn your oven on, dry them in the hot sun. They are easier to crush when they are dry.
Which leads me to the next point - eggshells decompose faster and the nutrients are made more readily available if you pulverize them first. You could use a coffee grinder, food processor or a mortar and pestle.
Add crushed eggshells to the soil, either in your planting hole or sprinkle them directly in the soil around the base of the plant.
Eggshells are rich in calcium (95 percent calcium carbonate) and other minerals that help your garden thrive. They act as a sort of slow-release fertilizer, reduce the acidity of the soil and help aerate it, too.
Many gardening experts, including well-known Canadian gardener Marjorie Harris, say crushed eggshells also work as a slug and snail repellent. Sprinkling crushed eggshells around the plants where slimy little pests like to dine is believed to discourage them; the abrasive sharp edges of the eggshells keep soft-bellied land molluscs from crossing the shells to get to the plants.
Even after the growing season is over, you can still save your eggshells. Store them in a container and they will keep all winter. When spring rolls around again, you've got a great supply!