29 Ways to Minimize Food Waste This Holiday Season

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

The holiday season is like the Superbowl for plants. It’s their time to shine as decorations, garnishes, gifts, and of course delicious meals of all kinds. It can also put a spotlight on one of the world’s greatest environmental issues - food waste.

  • Globally 1.3 billion tons of edible food is wasted each year. In 2017, the U.S. alone generated 40.7 million tons of food waste.

  • This food waste has a carbon footprint equivalent to 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere every year.

  • Globally the direct economic consequences of food waste (excluding fish and seafood) is $750 billion annually (1). In the U.S. a single person can save an estimated $370 per year by reducing food waste (2).

Imagine what an extra $370 worth of plants would look like in your home!

Reducing food waste is a simple way to save money, reduce your environmental footprint, and even green your home. Here are a 'few' ideas to get you started.


1. Enough is as good as a feast!

Very likely you plan more for holiday meals than you do in a regular week which is great. Power-up your planning. Go a step beyond simply making a grocery list based on a recipe. Think carefully about the number of people you are feeding and serving sizes. Plan to have 3-5 extra portions; not 10.

2. Evolve family traditions.

If it is a tradition to have a certain dish (aka a giant turkey at Thanksgiving or a casserole from a particular relative) but in reality you throw half of it away two days later - it’s likely time to evolve that tradition. If people in your family really don’t like a dish or only eat a small portion for the sake of tradition - try a slow but intentional evolution.

(a) Make a smaller portion than normal (roast turkey legs instead of a whole turkey).

(b) Try a competition. Host a competition to see who can make the best new version of a family staple. (Make sure the prize is something very embarrassing they will have to take many photos with for enjoyment at future gatherings).