In the U.S., we generate an extra 5 million tons of household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s including 3 times as much food waste compared to other times of the year. With the holiday season in full swing, here are some simple steps to help make this season less wasteful.
1. Plan your meals.
Before the meal, plan your menu and exactly how much food you will need. With large gatherings, we often fear that we do not have enough food for everyone and end up cooking TOO MUCH. Being realistic about how much your guests will consume will help you stock up accordingly. If you need help calculating portion size, lovefoodhatewaste.com can help.
2. Encourage self-serve.
This helps to make the meals feel more familiar and reduces the amount of unwanted food left on guest’s plates.
3. Store leftovers in small containers.
Store leftovers in smaller, individually sized containers make them more convenient to grab for a quick meal rather than being passed over and eventually wasted.
4. Repurpose your leftovers.
Vegetable scraps and turkey carcasses can be boiled down for stock and soups. Left over bread can be used to make homemade croutons or bread crumbs.
5. Donate excess.
If you have canned food and dried goods that you won’t use, take them over to a local food bank or shelter. Some food-recovery services will even come to your house and clean your pantry. The holiday season is a busy year for these organizations. In addition to food, you can donate your time to help them out as well!