Tips for Planning a Zero Food Waste Holiday

Happy Holidays, Hartford! Did you know that, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Americans produce five million more pounds of food waste than at other times of the year? On an annual basis, 40% of food goes to waste. If just 1/3 of our nation’s annual waste was redirected instead of tossed out, we could solve food insecurity across the country and here at home.To minimize waste, local composting guru Sam King advises getting a few extra uses out of the turkey by making a stock after the meal, trying not to use processed foods out of a box, and of course, composting. “Avoid making your food out of the box or can – use fresh ingredients instead,” says Sam. “There will be no packaging and your food will be healthier!”

Some other tips include: 

FREEZE IT!

We all have the best intentions of eating our leftovers, but often they sit and sit until they end up in the garbage.  If you divide up your leftovers leaving only 3 days worth in your fridge and freeze the rest right away, you can ensure yourself a delicious meal on a cold winter’s day with little effort!

CREATE NEW MEALS

No room in your freezer and sick of dry, leftover turkey? Make a turkey pot pie, turkey salad sandwiches or make turkey soup! You can make a delicious turkey stock out of the carcass and even your vegetable scraps. Add the leftover turkey, vegetable and some noodles and you’ve got yourself a hearty plan that would warm any heart on a cold winter’s night!

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING

Ever thought to ask your guests to bring their own Tupperware for leftovers?  This ensures that the leftovers will be spread out and that you don’t lose track of all your containers! Still have extra cans of sweetened condensed milk or stuffing?  You can donate your canned or dried goods to a local food drive. If you’d like to do more, please consider volunteering your time with a local nonprofit that encourages community gardening, increases surplus food distribution or addresses food policy issues like KnoxKeney Park Sustainability ProjectFoodshare, or Hartford Food System.

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Hopefully these tips will help you to have a less wasteful, more warm and fuzzy holiday season! The NRDC and Save the Food also have more information, and EPA has a great toolkit!

To learn more about how Hartford is combating hunger, check out the Climate Action Plan, and the Advisory Commission on Food Policy, which works year round to eliminate hunger, increase access to healthy foods, and reduce food costs.