Waste Free Holiday Food Tips 



Contact: Kelly Bell, Lane County Master Recycler Program, 541-682-2059 or


According to the most recent statewide waste characterization study performed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, more than 450,000 tons of food waste enters Oregon landfills and incinerators each year – 10 percent of which goes straight to Short Mountain Landfill in Lane County. Here are some tips you can use to eliminate unnecessary food waste.

Carefully Calculate

With so many guests and so many items to serve, sometimes it's difficult to determine how much food you should prepare for your holiday feast. Whole Foods Market has developed a Servings Calculator to help ensure you offer plenty of food without being left with too much. Go to: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/servings-calculator to use the online calculator or download the pdf version.

Freeze Freely
Before you begin cooking for Thanksgiving, make room in your freezer. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cooked turkey lasts four months in the freezer – plenty of time to use up your leftovers without eating turkey for every meal.

Package Meals
Take the work out of eating leftovers by storing a little of everything in several meal-sized containers. Then when you want a quick meal, grab one of the containers from the refrigerator or freezer and heat it in the microwave.

Reuse Cleverly
After gorging yourself on a Thanksgiving meal, you and your family may want a little time away from the leftovers. Try spicing them up by using them to make other meals – use ham to make split pea soup; or mix your ham and potatoes with eggs, bell peppers, and onion for a breakfast frittata. You can use turkey to make comforting homemade turkey-and-noodle soup or turkey potpies. For more clever leftover recipes, visit cdkitchen.com.

Send Goodies with Guests
How better to handle leftovers than to give them to your Thanksgiving guests? Divide and conquer storage of your extra food by sending some home with friends and family. More tips can be found at The Home Know-It-All

Compost the Rest

Purchase and cook less. Compost the rest. Repeat! Home composting can significantly reduce the amount material you put out on trash day. By composting food scraps and food soiled paper you may even be able to reduce you trash can size or reduce the frequency of trash pick-ups. Go to: www.lanecounty.org/compostathome for more information about the benefits of home composting and learn how to get started.

Cooking for Compost

This webpage features delicious recipes that are designed with composting in mind. Go to: http://earth911.com/news/2010/11/15/cooking-for-compost-thanksgiving-edition/

Out to Dinner?

If you eat out this holiday season look for restaurants the display the Love Food Not Waste decal. These Eugene businesses are committed to diverting food waste for composting. Go to: http://www.eugene-or.gov/index.aspx?NID=759   for more information.

Remember to Donate

Eugene Mission 541-344-3251

Food for Lane County 541-343-2822

Need Extra Dishes for your Party?

Borrow from friends and neighbors or Lane County Waste Management Division can loan you a Waste Free Picnic set (inspired by Master Recyclers). Go to: www.lanecounty.org/EventRecyclingbinsanddurables to learn more or contact Kelly Bell at kelly.bell@co.lane.or.us or call 541-682-2059 to make a reservation.


These tips provided by the Waste Free Holidays campaign in partnership with the Lane County Master Recycler Program, BRING Recycling, NextStep Recycling and St Vincent de Paul.

Waste Free Holidays Campaign

Each year at this time Master Recyclers invite community members to celebrate the season of giving by reducing, reusing and recycling waste that is typically generated at the holidays. The Waste Free Holidays Campaign highlights several fun, low cost and simple waste prevention strategies families can use from Thanksgiving through the New Year - or any time of year! Visit www.lanecounty.org/lessisbest to view Waste Free Holiday tips and resources you can use to help create a truly enjoyable season. New items are added throughout the season so check back periodically for inspiration and announcements of waste free events in our area.

Lane County Master Recycler Program

Master Recyclers bridge the gap between awareness and action by motivating people to reduce solid waste at home, work, and play. Lane County Master Recycler Volunteers provide more than 2000 hours of waste prevention education to residents, businesses and events each year.

Go to: www.lanecounty.org/masterrecyclers to learn more.