Posted November 25, 2015 by Gabriel Posternak

How to put a stop to Thanksgiving waste

Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving reinventing old family recipes and decorating the house to receive guests, and with all of this season’s change of habits the increase in the amount of waste we produce is notorious. So, this is no better time of the year to grow consciousness and try to make our part in reducing the waste.

The USDA estimates that 30% of groceries in the US are thrown away every year. Think about your own household waste during Thanksgiving between the excess in buying that gets rotten and the elaborated dishes that you will only nibble -even after days passed by in the fridge- and end in the trash.

Time to stop the trash pile from growing up!

The first clever move to put a stop to Thanksgiving waste is to shop with the menu and the guest list in mind; make a written list the previous days, trying to remember everything you may need and cross all the items that are unnecessary. This will impact either in your waste generations and you holiday budget.

Then, you can concentrate in the disposable containers. For instance, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour! This is a good time as any to stop buying bottled water and get an ecological filter and start using regular tap water. You may also ask your guests to bring their own reusable food containers and share the leftovers after the party. This will prevent throwing away perfectly fine food, your guest will have something to bite the next day and you will avoid eating endless meals the same Thanksgiving dishes as it happens every year ;)

In the US, each person generates an average of 4 pounds of garbage every day that results in about 3,5 pounds after processing - an awful lot. During Thanksgiving holiday -and especially after the eating and buying rushes- the amount of waste increases at least 50%. With no shortage of garbage, this could be a very good time to waste sorting. Provide three separate bins: one for dry recyclable like paper, boards, wood and plastic, one for wet recyclable that can be transformed in compost or garden fertilizer like fruits and vegetable parts, infusions like tea or coffee and plant parts, and the third bin for waste that can be recovered. The firsts months you will be generating almost the same amount of waste, but you and your family will gradually grow conscious and used to recover and recycle.

Metals made the fourth largest percentage of American waste but, it is also one of the most recyclable materials. Do a little research in your community or county and you will find some non-profit organization that collect it and sell it for money rising. Keep a box outside the house -there is no risk that cats or animals will tear the bags like with the other organic waste- and collect beer and soft drink cans, preserve tin cans, aluminium foil, pie pans and oven-safe food delivery containers. When a good amount is collected, you just need to drive to the nearest pick up point and deliver it to the volunteers.

We know that the best way to manage solid garbage is to not make it in the first place, but with these simple steps to put a stop to Thanksgiving waste you will start to notice all the areas in your household that can be improved to reduce it significantly.

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