Thanksgiving generates a lot of food waste, with millions of pounds of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing headed to landfills each year. This year’s holiday gatherings will generally be smaller due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so adjust your meal planning accordingly. Estimate how much food you will need with an online calculator tool like this one: https://savethefood.com/guestimator. Minimize food waste with careful planning, reasonable servings, and being sure to use any leftovers.
40% of the food supply is wasted in the United States every year. Nearly 36 pounds of food are wasted per person per month in the US, which is equivalent to throwing out $218 billion each year. Food production and transport takes up about 10% of the United States’ energy budget, 50% of US land use and 80% of freshwater consumption, so wasting food is also wasting precious resources.
Everyone can help reduce food waste and prevention is key. There are things that can be done before, during, and after meals to prevent food from being thrown away. Make sure food storage is organized to avoid clutter in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Implement a “first in, first out” practice with regard to pantry and fridge contents so the oldest items are used first. Take inventory before going food shopping and buy what you need based on realistic meal planning. During meals, don’t overserve food to others or yourself. Start with small helpings and allow people to go back for seconds. If there are leftovers, save and store them properly. Create new meals with leftovers or they can be frozen if they won’t be used right away. Take non-meat food scraps to a compost pile so that you have a soil amendment that can be added to next year’s garden.
New Jersey Department of Agriculture and other partners
Includes general information on reducing food waste for individuals and businesses. Provides resources, videos, food tips, and connections to local food banks.
United State Environmental Protection Agency
Provides toolkits, videos, and policy information about food waste and related issues.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Amy Rowe webinar video
Addresses the environmental impacts of food waste, how much food is lost at each step of the US food system, and what you can do at home to reduce food waste. Presented in May 2020 for Rutgers Cooperative Extension Earth Day at Home webinar series.
Recording link: https://rutgers.webex.com/rutgers/lsr.php?RCID=ddf78f636fc1a2399021e99a0f556bec
Reminder to join us for our last fall Earth Day, Every Day session!
- Monday, 11/2, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM – The Basics of Recycling
Let’s Talk Turkey: The Impact of Food Waste During Thanksgiving
- Thursday, 11/5, 5 PM – 6 PM – Presented by Sara Elnakib, Registered Dietitian and Family & Community Health Sciences Educator for Passaic County.
In the United States, we waste about 30 – 40% of the food we grow. However, on Thanksgiving Day alone, we waste approximately 172 million pounds of turkey, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes, and 38 million pounds of stuffing. Waste has social, economic, and environmental impacts. During this session, we will discuss the impacts of food waste, as well as ways to reduce food waste on Thanksgiving and beyond.
Information and registration: www.cvent.com/c/express/d536c748-5d5c-44bd-a616-4d425233fa3b
Backyard Beekeeping 101
- Friday, 11/6, 10 AM – 11 AM – Presented by Tim and Mim Dunne of Woodsedge Tree Farm
Are you thinking about starting your own colony of honeybees? Join us on Zoom to learn about the benefits and see if it’s right for you.
Register in advance: https://rutgers.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYsc-GrrTIvGddqv2A46USR-v2VSNI6IzSQ
If you’re looking for fresh local seafood, here is a NJ storymap were you can find restaurants and retailers, some with home delivery. Eat well and enjoy!
Earth Day Every Day | Rutgers Cooperative Extension | 42 Riva Ave | North Brunswick | NJ | 08902
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To enhance the vitality, health, sustainability and overall quality of life in New Jersey by developing and delivering practical, effective solutions to current and future challenges relating to agriculture; fisheries; food; natural resources; environments; public health; and economic, community, and youth development.
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