Did you know that from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, household waste increases by more than 25%? (Source: EPA). All of the added food waste that is destined for a landfill after thanksgiving, unless you are lucky enough to live in an area that provides organic waste collection, translates to more methane emitted into the atmosphere. Here are some ways you can reduce your own waste during the holidays, and if we all make changes in our wasteful habits we can collectively make big difference.
1) When shopping for meals.
- Buy in bulk
- Skip the produce bags and bring your own reusable produce bags
- Don’t forget your reusable bags! This is the first thanksgiving that the statewide bag ban will be in place, so no matter where you live in California single use plastic bags will banned.
2) Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle.
- Serve food with washable napkins, utensils, plates, and glasses, rather than disposable items.
- If you have to use paper plates, buy ones that are made from recycled content.
- Set out recycling bins for glass bottles and aluminum cans, and if you compost at home or your waste collection service offers organic waste pick up, set out a bin to collect compostables like food waste and paper plates from guests.
3) Don’t waste food. Three times as much food is wasted during the holiday season than during the rest of the year.
- Plan meals wisely.
- Compost food scraps.
- For leftovers, either freeze them or ask your guests to bring their own Tupperware to take them home in.
4) Try to consolidate shopping trips and carpool to holiday celebrations. If everyone reduced holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon (about twenty miles), we'd reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons (Source: Use Less Stuff).
- If driving long distances, be sure to check the air in your tires to achieve optimal gas mileage while traveling.
- If flying, consider offsetting the carbon emissions of your flight (at carbonfund.org or similar website.)
- Zero-waste traveling
5) The holidays are a time for giving.
- Volunteer and donate food or other necessities (blankets, clothes, toiletries) to local groups that help those who are in need.
- Get into nature and clean up a local trail, beach or waterway.
- Give the gift of less waste by supporting Californians Against Waste!