What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Food Scraps?

We love Thanksgiving. It is the best time to connect with family and enjoy tasty food, but it also creates food waste. Of course, we are team turkey but wanted to share some sustainable ways to enjoy Thanksgiving and protect our planet at the same time. 

Let’s Talk About Food Waste

Did you know that there are about 108 billion lbs of food waste in the US every year? While throwing away food might not seem like a huge deal at first, this action has a big impact on the environment. Food waste that ends up in our landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas that heats up our earth’s atmosphere and directly impacts climate change. The good news is, there are many ways to responsibly dispose of food or even donate it, without harming our planet. 

How To Reduce Thanksgiving Food Waste

Now you know why food waste is such a problem, but there are many ways you can enjoy Thanksgiving without contributing to food waste. 

Save A Plate For a Neighbor or Friend

Send over a plate (or two) of leftovers to your neighbors or friends. Maybe it’s an elderly neighbor who can’t cook or a friend who had to work the holiday. 

Plan For Guests

Meal prepping is a great way to avoid food waste. By planning for guests and food quantity, you can reduce the chance of food waste and send your guests home with tasty leftovers.  Everyone loves those next-day turkey sandwiches and that saves our landfills from filling up with food scraps.


Local organizations like  Black Earth Compost include curbside pickup for your food scraps. This saves you time and of course, is a great way to avoid food waste in our landfills. You can also check with local community gardens to see if they could use your food scraps for compost. Or, give your own garden some love and improve your soil and plants.In just a few months you can reap the benefits of your turkey dinner in your garden as finished compost! 

Common Thanksgiving Food Scraps that can be composted:

  • All your vegetable and fruit wastes (peels, edges, ends, tips, rinds, cores, etc)
  • Potato peels
  • Eggshells
  • Uneaten food
  • Old bread, crackers, crust
  • Grains, rice, barley
  • Coffee grounds, tea leaves
  • Fruit or vegetable pulp
  • Bones
  • Turkey carcass
  • Corn cobs and husks (cobs breakdown very slowly)
  • Butter and dairy products

We hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that these tips will help you create less food waste this holiday season. Want more tips? Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter!