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8 Tips to Reduce Your Waste This Thanksgiving

Fill bellies instead of landfills!

A version of this article appeared in on the Food Shift website

The holiday season is here, so let’s remember that while we’re filling our bellies this Thanksgiving, we shouldn’t be filling landfills with perfectly good food! Here are a few tips on how we can move towards a zero waste holiday.

Thanksgiving food tablePhoto by Satya MurthyHope you have a zero waste holiday!

1) Bring to-go containers. Ask your dinner guests to bring a tupperware and send them home with some leftovers. This way, you won’t be stuck with a month’s worth of food, and everyone gets to enjoy an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

2) Your freezer is your friend. Freeze leftovers and enjoy a nice treat next month when you want a delicious meal. Read more about how to store your leftovers and how long they will last here.

3) Plan out your meal. Sounds simple, but holiday stress is usually just the thing to prompt us to unnecessarily triple every recipe for fear of running out. Try to make only what you need, wasting food not only has an extreme environmental impact, but can cause you to blow your budget or over eat as well. Read some tips about how to shop smart, store food properly, and use up some food scraps on Food Shift’s reduce your waste page.

to-go food containers Bring to-go containers

4) Repurpose your leftovers. Check out some recipes that will help you use up those leftovers from Food Network and Martha Stewart.

5) Go zero waste. Aside from wasted food, try to keep other resources out of the waste stream too. The EPA has a great list of tips that includes opting for reusable dishes and napkins and washing and reusing jars and containers.

6) Compost your food scraps. Directing scraps away from landfills reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Read more about the environmental impacts of food waste here.

7) Reach out to your community! Consider giving your leftovers away to someone who may be in need of extra food. One in five people in the U.S. don’t have adequate access to food, so consider bringing your extra food to a friend, neighbor, or make a post about your surplus food on freecycle, an online sharing platform.

food donation box

8) Food businesses can take action too. Companies, grocery stores, restaurants, or entities with leftover holiday food can donate it. Businesses are protected from liability, and food with approaching date labels is often still good. If you have leftover food in the Bay Area, we recommend contacting SF Food Runners, Peninsula Food Runners, ExtraFood.Org in the North Bay, and Food Shift in Oakland to make a donation.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

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