Thanksgiving is here! It’s the perfect time as we near the end of the year to reflect in gratitude for everything we’re blessed with. But along with being thankful this holiday season, we want to make sure to practice responsible waste management, especially when it comes to food waste. In this article we’ll provide you with a helpful guide of how to reduce your food waste for a festive and sustainable Thanksgiving.
How Much Food is Wasted?
In a recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota, researchers found that each year roughly 305 million pounds of food are wasted from Thanksgiving alone. That’s not even considering Christmas. This is also just the food waste; it does not calculate the wasted energy and work it takes to grow and dispose of the food. This is particularly important considering recent changes to organics laws and programs in California.
With the increase of food waste around the holidays, it’s also harder to manage the odors in trash enclosures and trash rooms. One of the ways Strategic can help with this is with our Odor Control & Scent service, which releases atomized vapor technology to help keep trash rooms smelling fresh.
A Guide to a Sustainable Thanksgiving
There are several very simple, practical steps you can take to make sure no food is being wasted this year.
- Plan out your meal accordingly. Whether you’re having a simple meal with close family, or hosting a large event for friends and relatives, make sure you’re accounting for the number of people attending and how much food you’ll need. You want to have plenty for everyone, but not too much that it goes to waste. Maybe skip that extra pumpkin pie…
- Give away leftovers to guests. If you are having guest over, make sure to offer the leftovers before they leave. Everyone loves day-after turkey sandwiches!
- Donate leftovers to food banks. This is a great way to not only responsibly get rid of unwanted leftovers but also give back to the community. Search for local foodbanks or hospitals that may be taking extra Thanksgiving bags, cans and leftovers.
- Properly store leftovers in sealed containers. Making sure you have the means to properly store leftovers is crucial. If your Tupperware is old and less reliable, consider updating your food storage to keep food fresh for longer.
- Compost waste rather than throw away. This is another great way to utilize food that won’t get eaten. Rather than throwing food in the trash bin, try composting your leftover greens and fruits to dispose of them in an environmentally conscious way (compost can be frozen for storage too!).
One of the best ways to express gratitude this Thanksgiving is to steward your resources well. That’s why we created this guide to help you manage food waste as well as possible. So as Turkey Day approaches, be sure to have a responsible and sustainable plan for meals and food waste.
To learn about how you can donate your Thanksgiving leftovers, visit the EPA’s Interactive Excess Food Opportunities map to find food banks, hospitals, and charities accepting leftovers for the less fortunate.