After a large meal at home, opening up the tap to rinse away food residues can seem like the quickest way to flush the remains down the garbage disposal without having to hassle with scraping. But that water flows out of your tap at up to 5-gallons-per-minute, an inordinate waste if you've got a fully open faucet to blast gravy off plates from the family dinner. After all, most dishwashers can handle the gravy.

Furthermore, many of those scraps will make for fine compost, cutting down on food waste. A sealable composting container is a sanitary way to hold scraps you'll bring to your own compost bin or local composter. For longer-term storage, keep it in the fridge or freezer to avoid rot and ensure that it won't attract flies. If you need help getting started composting, see composting care and maintenance at NRDC's Simple Steps.