Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a time to eat delicious traditional food, surround yourself with family and friends, and be grateful for what you have. Whether it’s the history, the food or the being grateful, this can be considered the best US holiday.
Unfortunately, it is also a pretty wasteful one. After the friends have gone and the food is too much to eat, a lot of turkey meat ends up in the garbage. In fact, 35% of the holiday turkey, valued at more than $282 million, is wasted per year. On top of the nutritional and financial losses, it also leads to environmental ones.
Organic matter that decomposes in landfills anaerobically (without oxygen), produces methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 21 times more potent at trapping heat inside the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Besides that, it wastes all resources that went into growing the food. For instance, one pound of turkey requires 468 gallons of water to produce, and releases 12 pounds of CO2 emissions. With many US families producing more than one pound of wasted meat, it’s obvious that Americans need to be more grateful and less wasteful.
The Environmental Working Group says that wasting the meat is like driving the car for 11 miles or taking a 94-minute shower. Swapping the turkey waste for a real adventure or a long warm bath sounds like a better option. The choice of which a family can afford depends on the leftovers they produce. Looking at the millions of wasted dollars, Americans can save a lot more at home than through sales on Black Friday.
Let’s eat well, do well and be thankful!