Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The Washington State Recycling Association claims that in 2011, the United States threw more than 36 million tons of food waste into landfills. When these food remains break down, they contribute significantly to the production of methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas that is known to be one of the causes of climate change. Using food scraps previously destined for the trash helps you reduce that waste and saves you money in the long run, leading to a happy planet and a fuller bank account. What kind of food scraps? Think of things like citrus rinds, sourdough starter, and of course, eggshells. When looking for ways to cut down on kitchen waste, there are likely many solutions that come to mind before using eggshells. However, eggshells can be incredibly useful in a number of ways around the home and garden. DIY enthusiasts everywhere recommend sprinkling coarsely ground eggshells in your garden to dissuade or eliminate any pests who are eating the plants. An all-natural, eco-friendly pest repellent? Score! Deer are incredibly sensitive to the scent of eggs. And if you're having a problem with neighborhood cats using your garden as a litter box, eggshells will discourage them as well, since they find the broken shells uncomfortable to step on. Ground eggshells also work in a way similar to diatomaceous earth for keeping out smaller insects that crawl along the ground, essentially creating your own chemical-free insecticide. To use eggshells in your garden as a pest deterrent, simply crush the shells with a rolling pin or coarsely grind them in a food processor and then sprinkle the broken fragments anywhere you have been having problems. There's another bonus here, too: eggshells are good for your soil! Adding crushed eggshells to your soil can boost the calcium content, which is crucial to building healthy, strong plant cell walls. Just mix ground eggshells into the soil twice per year, once in the fall and once in the spring, as eggshells take a while to break down and allow the nutrients to be absorbed by the plants. Tomato plants especially love calcium, so be sure to use this trick if you are trying to grow them. Eggshells also are known to lower the pH content of overly acidic soils, and help aerate the ground, and that is very important, as the soil can become compacted over time, which prevents plant roots from getting the oxygen they need. We're not done with gardening just yet, as you can use eggshells for a thrifty, environmentally-friendly container to grow plants from seed. "I beg your garden!" "What? Oh my god! I can't believe it!" You can start just about any seed in an eggshell, and using eggshells for seedlings comes with the added bonus of being able to plant the eggshell along with your young plant directly in the soil once it has sprouted leaves and is ready to be outside on its own. Eggshells are compostable and made almost entirely from calcium carbonate, so as they break down, the shells will supply your new plants with the calcium and nitrogen essential to helping them develop. Just make sure to keep at least half of the eggshell unbroken to provide enough space for your seeds to grow. According to Taste of Home, eggshells aren't only useful in the garden, but are also really great at cleaning up in the kitchen and bathroom. You can create your own non-toxic, all natural abrasive cleaner, similar to household cleaning product AJAX, with eggshells and baking soda. To create this mix, you will need to dry your shells out in the sun or in a low oven, and then grind the dry shells into a fine powder. Mix one cup of powdered eggshells — about a dozen eggs worth — with three cups of baking soda. When you are ready to clean, simply combine the powder mix with a little vinegar or water to create an abrasive paste that is safe to use on pots and pans, showers, and toilet bowls. Eggshells are great at removing coffee stains from your thermos, as well. Just crush some up and fill your thermos about a third of the way with the shells and hot water and shake. Within a few minutes, the stains inside should begin to dissipate. Who would have thought eggshells are so useful? Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite foods are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one.