6 Ways To Plan For Zero Waste This Thanksgiving

4 min read

This December, Cadet employees will donate time serving dinner at the Vancouver Men’s Share House. It is a stark reminder that many people wonder where their next meal will come from. This week as we focus on giving thanks for all we have, let’s also plan ahead to make the most of the food we have.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, in the United States we throw away up to 40 percent of our food each year. That translates to about $2,275 worth of food for the average family of four. Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in our landfills.

Here are a few simple tips to ensure you don't waste any food this Thanksgiving:

  • Cook only what is needed. Take advantage of the many online food calculators if you’re not sure how much turkey and sides you’ll need.
  • Make a list before heading to the store and shop wisely.
  • Cook once, eat twice. Plan ahead how you will use the leftovers.
  • Package and store leftovers correctly. Keep in mind that the back corner of the bottom shelf of your fridge is where food goes to die and turn green!
  • Freeze food before it spoils.
  • Compost spoiled food instead of throwing in the trash.

Keeping those things in mind, here are a few ideas from our employees on how to get more life out of your Thanksgiving leftovers:

  • Melisa Blum said her family made a conscious decision to change the Thanksgiving focus from food to family. They’ve cut back on the amount of side dishes and leftovers are shared. A favorite post-holiday dish is stuffing balls.
  • Guy Ralstin saves plastic food take-out containers and re-uses to package leftovers to send home with dinner guests. He boils the turkey carcass for broth and meat to make turkey noodle soup. Leftovers with a short shelf life wind up in the compost pile.
  • Greg Klose makes turkey enchiladas and uses the carcass for his “famous” turkey barley soup.

Other leftover suggestions are to add cranberries to oatmeal, place stuffing in a cupcake holder and remake into biscuits, puree pumpkin pie and add to vanilla ice cream or remake into cookies and turn mashed potatoes into potato pancakes.

With a little planning you can make sure to eliminate food waste this Thanksgiving.

We hope you all have a wonderful week with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!