Americans discarded the equivalent of 6 million turkeys over Thanksgiving last year, according to environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. That has a huge environmental impact, even without accounting for the water and labor that went into raising those birds. It also doesn’t include all the stuffing and casseroles that will end up rotting in the back of your fridge in the days after the feast.
The entire holiday season can be an excuse to indulge, but there’s something about Thanksgiving specifically that urges us to buy more, cook more and inevitably squander more perfectly good food ― even as 41 million people in the U.S. struggle with hunger and food waste in landfills generates tons of greenhouse emissions.
“Thanksgiving almost exacerbates it,” said Nicole Civita, a lawyer, professor, food ethicist and director of the Food Recovery Project. “It’s a holiday specifically built around the meal, as opposed to a meal being a way to celebrate the holiday.”
But being mindful of how much food you’re making doesn’t have to cut into your sacred holiday traditions. Here’s how you can have your turkey, eat it too, and still avoid contributing to our global food waste problem.
Calculate How Many Ingredients You Actually Need
Running out of food is every host’s worst nightmare, but stocking up like a survivalist isn’t the solution. A nifty new tool from nonprofit Save the Food, called the “Guest-imator,”might be, though. You can input the number of guests you’re expecting, the types of eaters they are, what dishes you’re serving and how much you’d like to have left over after the meal. Then the tool calculates how much you need of each ingredient.
Yup so instead bring all leftovers to me, Thanksgiving is my Superbowl anyway so you’ll just be contributing to a great cause.