RECYCLE: What to do with expired items that are still good
09/25/2023 // Olivia Cook // Views

For purposes of this post, the term "expired" describes foods or items that are way past their expiration date, sell-by date or use-by date – old but still usable and not downright rotten.

Trust your senses of sight and smell. If the color or texture has dramatically changed or if it smells bad or different from how it used to smell, go ahead and throw it in your compost pile.

Here are some useful tips for putting expired foods and items to good use.


Shine stainless steel. Use your old mayonnaise to buff stainless steel appliances until fingerprints, marks and smudges are gone and the shine is restored.

Squeaky hinges. At the first sign of a squeak, slather your old mayo onto the hinge using your finger, then open and shut the object several times to get it worked into the squeaky hinge. Just use a paper towel or clean cloth to wipe up any excess mayo.

Remove sticker residue. Use your old mayo to remove stickers from containers you want to repurpose. First, remove as much of the sticker as you can then cover the remaining sticker and residue with a thick layer of mayo.

Let it sit for a few minutes so the fat or oil in the mayo can start to dissolve the adhesive. When the adhesive has dissolved enough, rub the rest of the sticker or its residue off with your fingers or a sponge.

Manicure treatment. Before your next home manicure, try soaking your nails in a shallow dish of your old mayo to soften and moisturize your cuticles. By doing so, your nails will also get a boost of protein for added strength.

Greek yogurt

You can use past-its-prime Greek yogurt to make an exfoliating face mask. Greek yogurt is packed with lactic acid, which helps exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin underneath.

In a small bowl, stir together two tablespoons of Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of honey. Apply the mixture to your face in an even layer, let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.

Stale bread

You can easily use stale bread to make baked French toast, bread crumbs, croutons or panzanella.

To make appetizing croutons: Cut your bread into cubes, spread it on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and add herbs of your choosing. Bake them for about ten minutes and enjoy them on top of a soup or as a finger food starter with a yummy spread.

Ground coffee

If your ground coffee has gotten stale, you can still put it to good use as a face scrub! Coffee is packed with antioxidants and has an astringent effect, a combination that can help nourish and tone your skin.

Just mix your stale ground coffee with enough milk to form a paste. Rub the coffee paste onto your skin for a minute or so, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then rinse clean.

Overripe fruit

Blend soft, ripe fruit with your favorite milk to make a healthy smoothie or sugar-free popsicles for your kids.

Alternatively, you can make fruit-infused water by adding mint and citrus. This can help you drink more water and and cut down on store-bought sugary drinks and juices.

Citrus peels

Use citrus peels to make a multi-purpose cleaning detergent. Collect a bunch of citrus peels in a glass container filled with vinegar and let them soak for 14 days to extract the essential oil from the peels.

Remove the peels and add them to your compost pile. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle and use it to clean surfaces naturally.

Used cooking oil

Lamp oil. Household oil lamps can be powered using used cooking oil. The process is really quite simple: You need a container, a wick and a metal lid. The used oil can fuel the lamp on its own.

Lubricants. Spent oil is often used as lubricants for various household products. They are good for smoothing lock-and-key mechanisms, as well as creaky hinges and other things. Spent oil can also be used to help deter rust from accumulating.

Paint remover. Paint is a substance that can be tremendously difficult to strip off surfaces or wash off your hands. Used cooking oil is great for removing paint from different surfaces.

Car cleaning material. You can use spent oil to remove dirt and other debris from the surface of cars and trucks. Simply pour the oil onto a rag or towel and apply it to the area that you are trying to clean. The oil will help strip the dirt or sticky substance off the surface of your car. It can also be used for other parts of the car under the hood.

Eye shadow

There’s a chance that your makeup goes bad even before its expiration date. Powder eye shadow lasts for two to three years whereas cream-based, water-based or other types of eye shadows that contain oil have a shorter shelf life.

Writing. Create different writings by using glittery, solid colors. This DIY is just so easy to make: Just mix your crushed ‘expired’ eye shadow and cleansing oil to make colored ink for writing.

Drawing. Expired eye shadow can also be used like paint to create a unique artwork. Simply crush and mix your chosen eye shadow color with a watercolor binder for about one minute.

Find more stories like this at

Watch the following video for more tips on how to recycle expired items.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on

More related stories:

DUMPSTER DINNERS: Brits now seeking out EXPIRED food to consume as they cope with meteoric rise in food prices.

Green and organized: Tips for recycling paper, plastic and other materials.

Wasted effort: Current recycling process does nothing good for the environment.

The recycling contradiction” Why recycling alone fails to protect the environment.

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