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Food Waste During the Holidays

Food Waste During the Holidays

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that between 30 and 40% of the food supply goes to waste each year in the U.S., with most of the loss taking place during the holiday season.

Studies have shown that food waste increases more than 25% during the short number of days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, making the holiday season a great time to focus on reducing the amount of food that we waste. According to reFed, a nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the United States, over 305 million pounds of food will be wasted at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

FOOD WASTE ALERTFood waste increases more than 25% during the short number of days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

More than 305 million pounds of food will be wasted at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are some tips for reducing food waste during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's:

  1. If you're hosting a holiday meal, calculate how much you'll need to serve to each person attending your gathering and purchase the proper amount of food accordingly. Use a tool like the "Save the Food" Guest-imator to tell you how much to make while accounting for all of your side dishes and different appetite levels.
  2. Check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer for food items that can be used for your holiday meal before you go shopping, and try to use what you already have on hand as part of your meal planning.
  3. If you have a Salvage Grocery Store near you, shop there first before going to your usual grocery store to do your holiday meal shopping. Items like stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, canned gravy, gravy in jars, frozen vegetables and frozen pies can frequently be found at salvage grocery stores.
  4. Making stuffing from scratch? Buy your bread at a Bakery Outlet Store. These outlet stores are pretty much guaranteed to be well stocked with loaves of white bread and often sell pies as well, so you might be able to find a pumpkin pie at a good price.
  5. Develop a leftovers strategy. Check with your guests beforehand to see if they'd like to take leftovers home with them, and aim towards cooking no more than that amount. Make sure you have plenty of containers, food wrappers, and other storage items in which to pack everything. You can also have your guests bring their own storage containers along with them or give them a gift of earth-friendly food saving beeswax wraps or storage containers (see food storage gift ideas for under $15 below).
  6. Starting a week or two before Thanksgiving, go through your freezer and use whatever you can to free up space for the possibility of having to freeze some of your leftovers. Thanksgiving leftovers can be stored safely for months if stored in proper containers. See the National Turkey Federation's web site for instructions on "The Best Way to Store Leftover Turkey", and "Fighting Food Waste with Your Freezer" for more freezer storage tips.
  7. See "What to Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers" for more ideas on what to do with holiday meal leftovers.
Earth Friendly Food Storage Gifts Under $15

Looking for earth-friendly food storage gifts that will help to prevent food spoilage? You can send your holiday guests home with some leftovers and let them keep the container or reusable wrap as a gift — at a very affordable price!

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