Not sure what to do with holiday leftovers? According to the most recent statewide waste study performed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, more than 450,000 tons of food waste enters Oregon landfills and incinerators each year – that’s equivalent to 90 million 10-pound Thanksgiving turkeys!
Now is the time to think ahead about reducing waste.Here are some tips you can use to eliminate unnecessary food waste. Remember to cook what you can eat and think creatively about using leftovers.
Update Your Shopping List: Identify exactly what you need for your holiday recipes. In the produce section, think about buying loose vegetables as opposed to pre-packaged ones so you can take exactly what you need. Similarly, think about shopping in the bulk aisle of your local grocery store to measure out exact amounts of ingredients. This could save you money and prevent food waste.
Use Your Freezer! Food stays fresh for at least six months in the freezer, oftentimes even longer. Freeze meals in smaller portions so you can take out single servings and eat them for lunch or dinner when you’re in a pinch.
Makeover Leftovers! Try spicing up your meals with different recipes based on the ingredients you have at hand (even if they are leftovers!) The website www.cdkitchen.com allows you to browse recipes by course, cuisine, dish or ingredient based on what’s available in your kitchen.
Give to Guests: Send your holiday guests home with excess food that they can use for future meals.
Cook for Compost: This webpage features delicious recipes that are designed with composting in mind. While this website focuses on Thanksgiving, it can be applied to any holiday.
Compost Leftovers: By composting food scraps and food soiled paper you can reduce your trash. Visit the City’s composting resources webpage for more information about the benefits of home composting and learn how to get started.
Other holiday waste reduction tips include:
• Eat out at participating Love Food Not Waste restaurants! • Donate leftovers to people who need them:
• Eugene Mission 541-344-3251 • Food for Lane County 541-343-2822
• Borrow reusable dishware from friends and neighbors, or Lane County Waste Management Division can loan you a Waste Free Picnic Set (inspired by Master Recyclers)
Additionally, Lane County’s “Less is Best” Holiday Waste Prevention Guide" provides a number of useful waste prevention tips.