Food Waste and the Holidays
This year's Thanksgiving is likely going to be different for everyone due to COVID-19. Some of us are having virtual Thanksgivings, some of us are hosting much smaller gatherings than ever before, and some of us may be trying Thanksgiving alfresco/outdoors for the first time. Regardless, it's going to be different and we will likely have to adjust.
One meaningful way you can adjust is to be cognizant of food waste this Thanksgiving. In the United States, 40% of food goes to waste. Across the supply chain, an average of 1,200 calories a day is wasted for every American, adding up to more than 400 pounds of wasted food a year per person. Most of that wasted food is sent to landfills, making up the largest component taking up space inside US landfills and 22% of municipal solid waste. In 2016 we estimate that 8,910 tons of food waste in Hallandale Beach was thrown in the trash. If global food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world.
All of this food waste happens while 37 million people across the US, including 11 million children, suffer from food insecurity. In Hallandale Beach, 17.2% of households receive SNAP benefits (aka Food Stamps), a higher rate than our County and Nation on average.
What can you do?
- Embrace ugly or odd-shaped produce.
- Plan your meal and menu to prepare "just enough", not more than is needed.
- Make plates of leftovers for senior, lonely, or at-risk neighbors and friends and deliver them in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
- If you bought more non-perishable goods than you needed, consider donating them to the Hepburn Center or other food pantries in the City.
- Encourage friends and family to take leftovers home. Ask all your guests to bring their own Tupperware(s) with them.
- Freeze vegetable and meat scraps to make stock or broth at a later date.
- Store leftovers in the freezer to enjoy after you've had a break from them for a little while.
- Compost food scraps if you are able.
Regardless, please follow these CDC recommendations for Thanksgiving celebrations during the pandemic
. Stay safe this Holiday Season.