Every year, a large amount of food goes to waste during the holiday season. According to the EPA, food waste accounts for about 24 percent of the municipal solid waste across the country. Without mindful planning, this number can only get worse.
Food is an important part of holiday celebrations, so that means we buy more, cook more and, on average, waste more during this time of year. The spoiled produce, expired products, and uneaten leftovers contribute to this waste which, most often, ends up in landfills. Food waste makes landfills the third largest human-related methane emission source in the country. The process of growing, processing and transporting food, and eventual hauling of the food waste also consumes a large amount of energy and generates emissions, polluting the air.
As consumers, we can help reduce food waste and its environmental impacts with the following tips:
- Plan what and how much to buy before your shopping trip.
- Buy only what you need.
- Extend the life of your leftovers in the freezer.
- Compost your food scraps at home.
- Participate in a food scraps drop-off program or residential food scraps collection service.
- Donate your extra nonperishable foods and canned goods to a food bank, or volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen.
Let’s do our part for the environment by reducing the amount of wasted food coming from our kitchens this holiday season.