Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on appreciating everything you have — both in a tangible and intangible sense. The act of being thankful for our food and other possessions can help contribute to minimizing waste. Studies have shown that food waste increases more than 25% during the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making Thanksgiving a great time to focus on waste reduction. According to this study from reFed, over 305 million pounds of food, worth more than $400M, will be wasted at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Luckily, we have the power to prevent this projection from becoming reality. Here are some of our favorite tips to help reduce waste on this food-centric holiday:
Plan your dishes in advance to incorporate all elements of any produce you use
Pumpkin-based dishes are a great example of this! If you’re roasting pumpkin seeds for a salad, consider using the pumpkin “meat” in either a pumpkin pie or in a roasted squash dish.
Avoid purchasing single use table decorations
Instead of single-use name place cards or table decor, try incorporating local natural fall elements such as leaves and pinecones attached to decorated cardstock. These elements are all able to be composted or tossed back out into your yard after the meal, and they pull inspiration from the typical Thanksgiving cornucopia theme.
Invest in re-usable cutlery
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be tempting to purchase disposable cutlery for the holidays, especially for those hosting large gatherings. Even though it does require water and energy to wash re-usable cutlery and dishes, the waste from manufacturing new materials and disposing them after one use far surpasses the cost of re-using your plates and silverware. In the event you don’t have enough place settings for everyone invited, this might be a great opportunity to stop into the thrift store or ask each family in attendance to bring their own!
Cut down on animal products at your holiday table
The resources needed to produce animal products often far outweigh the resources used to produce fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. You don’t have to commit to a fully plant-based meal in order to consider incorporating less animal products into your holiday feast.
Keep after-dinner activities waste free
Although Black Friday may feel like a time honored tradition here in the United States, choosing to spend time with family and friends outdoors, playing games, or even conducting a simple community service event such as a trash clean-up are great ways to continue appreciating what you have and committing to waste reduction.
Regardless of how you spend your Thanksgiving this year, our team at Compost Crew would like to wish you a happy holiday! Thank you for your commitment to reducing food waste throughout the holiday season and beyond.
By: Sara Mack, Marketing Manager