WasteWise Holidays: Food waste

WasteWise Holidays: Food waste
Posted on 11/15/2021

According to a statewide food waste study performed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2019, Oregon households throw away 6.3 pounds of wasted food per household per week. Of the food waste that Oregonians threw away, 71 percent could have been eaten by humans.  


“We have had to get creative in our celebrations over the last two years,” said Lane County’s Master Recycler Program Coordinator Kelly Bell. “We should all keep finding creative ways to celebrate holidays and milestones that put an emphasis on spending time with loved ones over large meals that often go uneaten.”


This holiday season, simplify your celebrations and reduce food waste:

  • Plan your menu ahead of time so you can reduce last-minute grocery store runs and help reduce waste.
  • Feature local foods on your menu. Local food has not been transported as far and has a lower carbon footprint that foods transported from other states.
  • Celebrate with appetizers or dessert instead of serving a full meal.
  • Encourage guests to bring reusable containers to take home leftovers.
  • Make sure guests know what can be recycled and composted.


“It’s not only the food that gets thrown out that drains our resources,” said Bell. “It’s all the water, fuel and transportation that it takes to grow the food. One quarter of our fresh water goes to grow food that will never be eaten. We can have wonderful holiday celebrations and be smart about reducing food waste at the same time.”


WasteWise Lane County

WasteWise Lane County offers education, tools and resources that residents, schools, and businesses can use to reduce waste, conserve resources and live more sustainably. To learn how to Eat Smart, Waste Less visit eatsmartwasteless.tips