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A variety of home cooked foods all on a table in reusable containers such as plates and wooden bowls.

Squash Thanksgiving Waste

The holidays are a great time for friends, family, and good food. All of this celebration, however, does come as a cost. Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week! Here are some tips to squash your waste this holiday and have a sustainable Thanksgiving dinner.

Stick to your list – planning for large family meals can be tricky, so be sure to make a list of only what you need. This will save you money because you are less likely to buy something you do not need.

Use reusable utensils – by providing reusable plates, forks, etc. you can limit the waste you produce from your meal. These items can be washed and used again for many meals to come.

Pieces of peeled sweet corn and bell peppers on a dark wooden table.

Sweet corn and bell peppers are in season in Florida in November.

Make meals from what’s in season – there are many great produce options in season in Florida during the holidays. Buying locally grown food that is in season helps the local economy, saves on carbon emissions, and offers you fresher produce. It also provides the option to be creative with flavors and options for side dishes.

A black reusable bag hanging on a coat hanger.

Reusable items are excellent practical gives to give to your family and friends this holiday season.

Give reusable items as gifts – the holidays are a time of giving and a great practical gift is reusable items. Anything from to-go containers, water bottles, and shopping bags are great gifts that help promote sustainability and reducing waste.

Encourage taking leftovers – no food should go to waste during the holidays. If you do not think you will finish all of your leftovers, freeze them and eat them at a later time instead of just throwing it away.

Donate any unused food – there are so many people in this country who are food insecure; if you have any uncooked food that you do not need, donate it to a local food pantry and charity and makes someone’s holiday season a little brighter.