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Simple ways to reduce holiday food waste


During the holiday season, we spend hours of time prepping our holiday dinners, but Jenna Dyckman, Utah State Extension assistant professor, said we often over prepare.

“During the holidays people they're cooking more for, not just themselves, but you know, for that gathering,” Dyckman said.


The Ecology Center said waste increases by 25% in the United States between Thanksgiving and New Years. That’s 1 million extra tons of waste, and 21% of that is food. Waste Less Solutions president Dana Williamson said we waste more because we don’t think about it.


“It's easy transportation to the store for most people,” Williamson said. “And I really do think that has played into it is that we've lost the sense of where our food comes from.”


The good news is, there are simple solutions you can do now to reduce the food you waste not only around the holidays but year round. Shopping from what you have in the fridge is a good start.


“We're all guilty of running to the grocery store and saying, hmm do I have lettuce or not? I better buy it just in case,” Williamson said.


Or even asking if you’re not sure how much food to make.


“If this is the first time you're hosting a party and maybe asking other people who have hosted more parties to see how much food you would need,” Dyckman said.


Freezing or being more creative with leftovers might combat the familiar feeling of getting sick of turkey sandwiches. Thanksgiving may be over, but the season of giving is just getting started.


“It's just good,” Dyckman said. “Take anything that you have that is either unopened or you haven't used and donate it to your local food pantry.”

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.