Thanksgiving Meals Generate Waste
For some, Thanksgiving is a day of oversized meals, loud family gatherings and classic football games. Yet, the most characteristically American thing about Thanksgiving may be its wastefulness.
Americans waste large amounts of food throughout the year, especially compared to other nations and in the context of a world facing a global food crisis in the coming decades among those in poorer countries with rising populations.
According to a Nov. 14, 2014, USDA Blog post by Dr. Elise Golan, Americans waste around 20 percent of the food they have available to them. The statistics on global food insecurity emphasize the impact of this statistic, as the United Nations’ World Food Program’s fact page on hunger states that one out of every nine people in the world are undernourished.
While one fifth of all food is wasted when accounting for the whole year, holidays, especially Thanksgiving, result in an even higher rate of food going to waste. An NRDC Expert Blog post, by Dana Gunders on Nov. 13, 2012, states that 35 percent of turkey meat purchased for Thanksgiving ends up going to waste, thus more than a third of the edible, fully cooked meat that Americans prepare on Thanksgiving is thrown out, and feeds no one.
Despite the trend in America toward large amounts of wasted food, there are various methods which can be used to decrease one’s Thanksgiving food waste.
A wastedfood.com blog post titled “Be Thankful, Not Wasteful,” by Jonathan Bloom on Nov. 24, 2010, suggests that planning how leftovers will be used before preparing one’s Thanksgiving dinner and encouraging holiday guests to bring along their own preserving containers in which to take food home will make for a cleaner and lighter Thanksgiving conscience. The article also states that bacteria can take hold when food sits at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and that ensuring food is quickly preserved will effectively counter this pervasive issue.