Consider making less food this Thanksgiving and composting leftovers: NPR

A prep chef at MoMo’s San Francisco restaurant dumps apple peels into a food scrap recycling container in 2009. Composting, a process that turns organic materials into nutrient-rich soil, can help reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills.

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A prep chef at MoMo’s San Francisco restaurant dumps apple peels into a food scrap recycling container in 2009. Composting, a process that turns organic materials into nutrient-rich soil, can help reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Environmentalists are urging people to think twice about how much food they’re making and how to handle leftovers this Thanksgiving.

New York City, said to be the most wasteful city in the world, generated 5% more trash the week after Thanksgiving last year than in a normal week, according to the city’s Department of Sanitation.

By composting leftovers, a process that converts organic materials into nutrient-rich soil, people can help reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills, environmentalists say.

“More than 70 billion pounds of food waste reaches our landfills each year, contributing to methane emissions and wasted energy and resources throughout the food supply chain,” Andrew Wheeler, then-administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in a statement on Wednesday. the day before Thanksgiving in 2020 “This holiday season, we should all do our part to help people and the environment by preparing only what we need, reducing our food waste, and sharing or donating what we can to feed others. “

Some cities in the US have set up roadside composting, allowing residents to leave food waste in labeled bins for collection. Those who don’t live in neighborhoods with this service can take leftover food to a composting point or community garden.

The New York City Department of Sanitation is piloting “smart bins” composting for easy food scrap disposal. People can access these bins, located throughout Lower Manhattan, via an app and return organic waste, which is then taken to local and regional composting facilities.

Experts also advise Americans to freeze extra food to eat later, donate excess shelf-stable food to local charities and consider making less food.

Composting food has increased slightly over the last decade, but it has not become a mainstream way of controlling food waste. From 2010 to 2018, the US saw a 23% increase in the amount of municipal solid waste composted. But only 4.1% of wasted food and other organic solid waste was composted in 2018.

Food contributes more to landfills than any other material, making up 24% of solid city waste. Landfills are the country’s largest source of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and is emitted when organic waste, such as food, decomposes.

“Preventing food from being wasted is one of the easiest and most powerful measures you can take to save money and reduce your carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources,” said EPA spokesman Robert Daguillard.

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