Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Something from nothing gets something

Traders have always known that everything has a value. The matter is to discover it and bring the product to those who need (and willing to pay good money for) it. A recent conversation about not being to eat the “hole” in a piece of meat led me to search for ultimate uses, in all senses of the phrase, of supposed garbage.

One use of garbage is for food.  For example, donut makers took the tiny pieces of dough removed to make the defining hole of a donut, baked them and sold them as, of course, donut holes.  So, you can eat the hole, at least in some cases.  In Israel, falafel stands take and fry the thin slice of pita bread that is cut in order to open the pita, adding it as a crunchy element to the choice of condiments. In wine countries everywhere, grappa, a very strong wine made from the remaining grape skins, is produced to celebrate the harvest and processing of the grapes.  It is not suggested for weak spirits.  As many still say, you should not throw out food; there are starving people in some country.

Waste products can also be used to make our lives better in other ways. Dry cherry pits, apparently, make a very effective filing for bed warmers although it takes a lot of them and requires you to remember to not throw them out in the summer.  People weave wheat shafts to create very nice baskets (and make money from it). Coconut shells make fine bowels. Walnut shells can be turned into portable fire starters. Ash is used to make home-made soaps.  Corn cobs make excellent barbeque cleaners. Your imagination is the limit.

In a world searching to end its dependence on chemicals, organic materials provide a rich source of alternatives.  Sunflower seed shells discourage weeds.  Bird crap has always served as an ideal fertilizer and is is known as guana. Egg shells can be used to keep pipes clean while cat hair can be used to clean animals coated with oil from spills. In terms of medical options, potato peels can help treat infections while apricot pits are used in cancer treatment.

Of course, some waste products can simply be burnt as fuel.  These include coconut husks and olive pits, to name a few.  You can even run an specially adapted engine on cooking oil. The smell is a bit French fries but the car runs.

Of course, this is only a partial list.  You can find out more details by looking up the relevant items in Google or Bing. In any case, to paraphrase the known expression, garbage is as garbage sees.

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