24 nut shell repurposing ideas to crack your DIY eco-inspiration wide open

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1) Use assorted shells as a lightweight packing material that will effectively cushion delicate household possessions, holiday ornaments or items that need to be shipped.

2) NEC’s bioplastic – purportedly twice as durable as corn-based PLA plastic and far more water resistant – is composed of agricultural byproducts such as cashew nut shells and plant stems. This innovation will be mass produced and widely available in various electronic devices such as cell phones in as little as three years.

3) For the vegetarians - - Oregon’s Rogue Creamery cold-smokes their artisan Smokey Blue cheese with hazelnut shells for 16 hours, imparting the final product with a distinctively upcycled nutty nuance.

4) Create a tiny little gift box for a trinket or romantic note by hinging two perfect walnut halves together and carefully lining the interior with red velvet fabric. A slight variation on the theme: tuck money or other unexpected surprises inside hollowed-out walnut shells, carefully gluing them back together and watching the delighted look on recipients' faces when they hit the mother lode of all nuts.

5) Make a floral-shaped pistachio shell brooch.

6) Pour leftover nut shells into the bottom of a flower pot (prior to adding soil and the plant of your choice) to capitalize on their innate drainage capabilities. The roots of your assorted houseplants will thank you!

7) You might also want to enrich the potting soil around your household plants with assorted, finely pulverized shells or add them to your vegetable garden this year.

8) For a rainy day project that the kiddies will love, challenge them to make a crushed nut shell mosaic -- it'll keep them busy for a lonnnnngg time, too ;)

9) Make a pistachio-shell-adorned wind chime -- you can even spruce it up by hand-dying or painting each shell in a rainbow of hues to accent your decor or artistic whim.

10) Add assorted nut shells to a large mortar and pestle, pound them into a coarse grind and then mix them into a homemade, highly exfoliating face/body scrub or a batch of soap. (A makeshift yet still effective alternative would be to pour your shells in a large zip-top bag, place the whole parcel on your counter top with two kitchen towels cushioning the front and back, and then pound away with a rolling pin.)

11) Sick of spending mucho-money on kitty litter? Maybe it's time to offer your feline a naturally nutty alternative using peanut shells and baking soda...

12) Jewelry makers will appreciate the natural polishing effects that crushed walnut shells can bestow on their jump rings and chain maille pieces.

13) If you have access to macadamia nut hulls, you might want to emulate the striking design of Marc Harrison’s decorative shell bowls.

14) Insert a teeny-tiny fortune inside two empty pistachio shell halves, glue them back together (sort of like suggestion #4), gild or adorn the exterior so it looks super-glitzy and then sell or offer the mini treasure as a novelty gift.

15) Teach the kiddies how to make a percussive nut shell shaker.

16) Use crushed shells as a natural landscaping material or vegetable garden mulching material to retard the growth of weeds and maintain optimum soil moisture.

17) Pistachio shells are highly effective at absorbing the mercuric chloride released from power plants, serving as a conveniently cost-effective carbon sink.

18) To ensure that no one takes an accidental nose dive while walking on your icy driveway or sidewalk, sprinkle assorted crushed nut shells on top of slick surfaces for instant traction.

19) AGL’s Australia-based macadamia nut processing facility burns leftover shells for power, which then generates enough energy for 250 homes in the surrounding community while also stoking their onsite processing and manufacturing activities.

20) Infuse barbecued foods with pecan, walnut or almond essence by tossing shells directly on the fire.

21) During Halloween season, make mini walnut Jack-o'-lanterns by gently sanding one end of each nut so they stand upright without assistance, paint them orange, and then adorn them with distinctive faces using recycled materials that you find outside or in your curbside collection bins.

22) Big Island Carbon plans to transform the shells of Hawaii’s wildly popular macadamia nut industry into hybrid-car-bound activated carbon, a material that is commonly used to produce various filtration devices.

23) Start stockpiling all of your peanut shells now because you can use them as a greener alternative to charcoal briquettes during barbecue season.

24) Pour homemade soy wax candles into walnut halves for totally eco-friendly, instantly buoyant tea lights that, once fully ‘spent’, can then be used as fireplace starters or organic fuel for a pellet stove.

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
Elizah Leigh's master's degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as a green journalist. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/anchovypizza

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