by Madeline Stephen ’21 and Payton Morse ’20
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it is important to recognize the negative impact that wasting food has on our environment. Food waste is the single largest component of trash in landfills and is also the single largest contributor to total methane gas emissions from landfills. In fact, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year and just one-quarter of all wasted food could feed the 795 million malnourished people around the world who suffer from hunger.
Thanksgiving produces a mass amount of food waste due to the immense surplus of food served at the majority of tables across America. Despite attempts to buy the right sized turkey, more than 200 million pounds of turkey will still be thrown away. Help reduce the amount of food waste we produce by following some tips on how to reduce your food waste this Thanksgiving:
Try buying the ugly produce that would usually otherwise be thrown out simply because it is bruised or has a weird shape. Produce will be peeled, chopped, and mixed so what does it matter if they looked ugly at the store?
Try choosing recipes that “fit” together. This may take some more preparation than usual, but it is an extremely efficient way to reduce food waste. For example, if a stuffing recipe calls for half an onion, find another recipe that calls for the other half!
Don’t toss the scraps! Vegetable peelings and meat bones can be used to make a homemade stock.
Plan ahead and know how many people you will need to be providing food for. Have your guests bring containers so that they can bring home leftovers as well.
Eat your leftovers rather than tossing them out! Or, if you need a break from the holiday food, stick the turkey in your freezer and save it for a later recipe.
Finally, find a local food pantry and donate. Many people will go without food this holiday season so donate that extra can of cranberry sauce that never got opened so that someone else can enjoy it.
From 11a.m.-1p.m. in Raymond Dining Hall on Nov. 13, Waste Management and PC’s ECOPC and EcoReps will be hosting an event titled the “Clean Plate Challenge” to raise awareness about food waste! This is a great opportunity to learn a bit more about the issue of food waste and methods of reduction in the comfort of our own dining hall.