Reducing Food Waste: Using Eggshells in the Home and Garden

by Nicole Wines

eggshells_01I just processed an absurd amount of eggshells, saved over the last ten months. I baked and crushed them and filled up three large jars, weighing in at over 6 pounds of eggshells. I can’t quite imagine how many dozens of local, organic (and some laid by our own backyard chickens) eggs make up the 6 pounds of eggshells I prepared today for another seedling starting season.

Why not just throw them in the compost pile? Well, that is actually a very good use for them. For those who have a compost pile, crushed up eggshells can go straight in. But, unfortunately, not everyone has compost pile or compost collection program. Also, you may find some of the more direct uses of eggshells more useful to your for use in your homes and gardens:

  • All Natural Fertilizer – Crushed eggshells can be sprinkled directly around your garden or into the holes where you are transplanting seedlings to give a small boost to the calcium and potassium levels in your soil, or can be made into a liquid fertilizer by soaking or steeping crushed eggshells in water for 5-7 days. This is especially useful for young plants and seedlings to help them get established. (Avoid this use if you have very alkaline soil or excessively high calcium levels).
  • Pest Repellent – Sprinkling crushed eggshells around the base of plants can repel slugs (they supposedly don’t like the jagged edges, but gardeners have tested this with varying results) and cabbage moths (the white on the eggshell tricks them into thinking this food source is already claimed by other cabbage moths and they often move on to find a new food source).
  • Chicken Food – Crushed up eggshells help boost your backyard chicken’s calcium which is needed to produce strong, healthy eggs.  Eggs must be crushed up into small pieces. This prevents them from getting hurt by the sharp edges of larger pieces and makes it look different than a whole egg, helping to keep them from pecking at and eating the eggs they lay.
  • Worm Composting – Do you have a worm bin? Add some crushed eggshells to the mix next time you feed your worms. Not only is it a food source, but actually helps the worms process their other food due to its grittiness, and it helps balance out the pH of worm bins that are too acidic.
  • DIY Calcium Supplement – You can actually eat eggshells by grinding them into a powder and adding the powder to soups, stews and smoothies or you use the powder to fill your own gelatin capsules. Besides calcium, eggshells contain 26 other microelements.
  • DIY Toothpaste – The link provided here is just one recipe/experience of many. A quick internet search for “homemade toothpaste recipes” will give you hundreds, if not thousands of results to peruse and choose from. Eggshell as an ingredient in homemade toothpaste is thought to help whiten and remove buildup, and some also say it helps in the remineralization of teeth to prevent and even reverse cavities.
  • DIY Sidewalk Chalk – Sidewalk chalk is not expensive to buy, but why buy it when you can make your own.  This is a fun project to do with children and helps teach them from a young age to use all of the resources at hand to reduce the waste.

Crushing eggshells with mortar and pestle

Want to learn about additional uses of eggshells? Check out these resources for more ideas:

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