Traditionally Thanksgiving is the one time of the year when Americans celebrate overindulging. Although overeating on this holiday can lead to gaining a few extra pounds, you may not realize that it can also lead to lots of unnecessary waste in landfills.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some 30 million tons of food waste end up getting sent to landfills each and every year, which adds up to $165 billion worth of food being thrown away (or $640 per household) each year.1 When you think about how many people are hungry, both in the U.S. and other nations, you can see why this is such a problem. There are a whopping 17 million households in the United States that are food-insecure, or lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food.1
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that more than one-third of the turkey meat Americans buy each year ends up being thrown out, and a good portion of that takes place during Thanksgiving.1 Having a bunch of turkey end up in landfills might not sound like a big deal, but you may change your mind when you learn that it is actually the second leading source of methane in junkyards and may be contributing to global climate change.1
In fact, more food waste comes from households than from restaurants, and it’s not even a close contest. Home food waste actually equals the amount of restaurant and grocery store waste combined.1 Americans usually have good intentions of feeding their loved ones and making their families happy, which is great but that often leads to wasted food.
Realizing the problem is only half the battle, the rest is figuring out what to do about it so we can avoid filling up our landfills with potentially dangerous chemicals and throwing away food that many people would be thrilled to eat.
You’ve probably heard the expression “there’s an app for that,” which is usually true. Apps have been developed to help with the problem of throwing away too much food. Various apps help you with food storage and safety tips, keeping track of what’s already in your fridge so you don’t buy food you don’t need and offering unused food to interested community members.
Most grocery shoppers guesstimate how much of each item they will need. Spending a few minutes calculating portion sizes might help you to reduce food waste and your grocery bill. You can also alter recipes when needed to try to cut down on waste.
Your freezer is a valuable tool in the battle against wasted food. One simple tip is to prepare perishable foods soon after you buy them and then freeze them for later use. You can also freeze many foods and cook them later on. You might be thankful at dinner time if you have already prepared and frozen your meals ahead of time.
What Else You Can Do
- Offer to-go containers to your dinner guests
- Consider composting your waste
- Learn how to store your food most effectively so it will last longer in the fridge/freezer
Seasonal Waste Collection in Sioux Falls
RBS Sanitation can remove your seasonal waste, including Christmas trees and wreaths. As a friendly reminder we do not pick up on observed holidays (Nov. 24 and Dec. 26), and will promptly pick up your trash the following day if the holiday falls on a weekend. Contact us today for a quote for residential services.