Thankful You're Thinking About Food Waste

Thankful You're Thinking About Food Waste

Written by: Shawn Shepherd

November 23, 2021

We are just few days away from one of the biggest holidays of the year – Thanksgiving. It's a special time built around the tradition of sharing food with family and friends. 

At ReFED, our work to fight the loss and waste of food becomes especially important on Thanksgiving and throughout the entire holiday season. ReFED is the national leader in addressing food waste, and our data-driven approach helps businesses, innovators, policymakers, and more make the right decisions to eliminate waste from the farm to the fork. And Thanksgiving offers a real moment to think about just how much food is going to waste across the country.

For the big Turkey Day dinner...

  • 10 people gathering for the meal will waste approximately 10 pounds of food.
  • In the U.S., we'll throw away 305 million pounds of food on Thanksgiving Day alone. That's the same weight as 11,500 school buses
  • Just the food we're wasting on Thanksgiving Day could provide six meals to each of the 38.3 million Americans who are food insecure. 
  • In other words, the food we throw away on Thanksgiving Day could feed people in need for an entire weekend

You can learn more about Thanksgiving and food waste here

How can you make a difference? By being thoughtful about what you’re doing on Thanksgiving. Our Executive Director, Dana Gunders, has a few suggestions we hope you’ll incorporate into your planning:

  • Calculate how much you'll need to serve to each person attending and purchase food accordingly. Use a tool like the "Save the Food" Guest-imator to tell you how much to make while accounting for all your side dishes and different appetite levels.
  • Develop a leftovers strategy. Check with your guests beforehand to see if they'd like to take leftovers home with them, and cook to that amount. Make sure you have plenty of containers, aluminum foil, and other storage items to pack everything up.
  • Clean out your freezer to make room for everything you're saving. Your freezer is a magic "pause" button for your food – if stored in proper containers, you can safely freeze Thanksgiving leftovers for months.

You can also make a difference by personally supporting the work of ReFED. We are a nonprofit organization, and your financial gifts are an important part of making what we do possible. What’s even more exciting is that―for the first time in our history!―we will be accepting online donations beginning on Giving Tuesday (November 30).

In the meantime, fight food waste this Thanksgiving―and every day!

ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. ReFED’s goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow.

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