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A spirit that is not afraid

EDITORIAL | Reduce food waste this holiday season

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it is timely to remember that reducing food waste is extremely important.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the United States wastes up to 40% of its food each year. 

On Thanksgiving Day alone, this means that 172 million pounds of turkey, 14 million pounds of dinner rolls and 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes are wasted, resulting in 225 gallons of water per person being wasted and 476,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide being emitted nationally.

The impact of waste is staggering, but there are many ways you can help combat it. 

First and foremost, be mindful of what groceries you choose to buy over the holidays. Shop with a plan, and only purchase the food items you know will be consumed. A great way to hold yourself accountable before grocery shopping is to make a list. 

While grocery shopping, it’s also important to remember that just because certain vegetables and fruits aren’t the most vibrant and crisp doesn’t mean they can’t be used to make a delicious dish. 

Your apple pie will be just as delicious whether that apple you decided to keep instead of throw away had a brown spot or not.

Once you’re home and preparing dishes, make sure to save your scraps. Many items such as vegetable peelings and meat trimmings can be used in an array of dishes. Have fun and be creative. You can always freeze your extra food or combine it to create new recipes.

Another thing to be mindful of is leftovers. It is important to not let the extra food left after meals sit in the fridge and go bad. 

If you are a host, encourage your guests to choose their favorite leftover items to take home with them. If you are a guest, take your host up on any offers to make to-go plates.

You can also reduce food waste and give back to the environment by composting. Most cities have composting sites available for locals to take advantage of. If you aren’t able to have your own compost, research locations in your area where you can drop off your scraps. 

Finally, remember that even if you take all the precautions necessary to make good use of your resources, some waste is inevitable. This is when it’s important to be aware of the locations of your local food pantries, soup kitchens and food banks. 

It might seem like donation centers would be well-stocked and full of extra items this time of the year, but that is often not the case. Don’t refrain from dropping off the food items you feel you might waste. 

Even if your donations mean a few shelves might overflow, it's entirely better—especially during the holidays—for food banks to have too much food rather than too little. 

Reducing food waste requires preparation, mindfulness, sacrifice and creativity, but even if takes a little more time and thought, it is entirely worth it. This holiday season, don’t let your laziness and complacency result in unnecessary food waste.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Plainsman's editorial board and do not necessarily represent that of the entire newsroom. 

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Editorial Board | Fall 2022

Editorials represent the majority view of The Plainsman's editorial board and do not necessarily represent that of the entire newsroom. 

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