Waste-free holiday: Lane County Master Recyclers offer tips to make good use of leftover holiday food

Waste-free holiday: Lane County Master Recyclers offer tips to make good use of leftover holiday food
Posted on 11/21/2017

Food waste represents the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching American landfills and incinerators. According to a statewide waste composition study performed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2009, more than 450,000 TONS of food waste enter Oregon landfills and incinerators each year – nearly 10 percent of that goes straight to Short Mountain Landfill right here in Lane County!


Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, the United States will waste about five million tons of food. This is not only a waste of all that turkey, pie and mashed potatoes, but also a waste of all the resources that went into growing, processing, shipping, cooling and cooking that food. This holiday season, consider these tips to help reduce food waste at home while also helping save time, money and the planet.


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 handy calculator to help ensure you offer plenty of food without being left with too much. Visit http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/servings-calculator to view the Whole Foods Market Holiday Entertaining Servings Calculator.


Freeze Freely
Before you begin cooking, make room in your freezer. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 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 holiday 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 turn mashed potatoes into dumplings. 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
What better way to handle leftovers than to give them to your guests? Divide and conquer your extra food by sending some home with friends and family in reusable containers.


Compost the Rest

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

Cook 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. Visit www.eugenerecycles.org for more information. For an up-to-date list of participating businesses, visit https://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/View/36680.


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). Visit www.lanecouny.org/eventrecycling to learn more or contact Kelly Bell at kelly.bell@co.lane.or.us or 541-682-2059 to make a reservation.

Waste-Free Holidays Campaign

Lane County 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 New Year’s Day – or any time of year! Visit www.lanecounty.org/wastefreeholidays to view tips and resources to help create a truly enjoyable season. New items are added throughout the season so check back periodically for inspiration.


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 3,000 hours of waste prevention education to residents, businesses and events each year. Visit www.lanecounty.org/masterrecyclers to learn more.


Please note that the external links included in this release are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Lane County of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. Lane County bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.