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Environmentalists are urging people to think twice about how much food they prepare and how to handle leftovers this Thanksgiving.
New York City, which would be the city of the world most wasteful citylast year produced 5% more trash the week after Thanksgiving than during a typical week, according to the city sanitation department.
By composting leftovers, a treat that converts organic matter 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 wasting energy and resources throughout the food supply chain,” said Andrew Wheeler, then administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in a statement the day before Thanksgiving in 2020. “This holiday season, we all need to do our part to help people and the environment by cooking only what we need, reducing our food waste, and sharing or donating what we need. we can to feed others.”
Some American cities have implemented curbside composting which allows residents to leave food waste in labeled bins for collection. Those who don’t live in neighborhoods where this service can take leftover food to a compost drop-off point or community garden.
The New York City Department of Sanitation is conducting a pilot program of smart bin composting to easily dispose of food waste. People can open these trash cans, scattered around Lower Manhattan, via an app and drop off the organic waste, which will then be taken to local and regional composting facilities.
Experts too advise Americans to freeze extra food to eat later, donate excess non-perishable food to local charities, and consider producing less food.
Food composting has increased slightly over the past decade, but has not become a widespread way to manage food waste. From 2010 to 2018, the United States experienced a 23% increase the amount of municipal solid waste composted. But only 4.1% food waste and other organic solid waste was composted in 2018.
Food contributes more to landfills than any other material, accounting for 24% of the city’s solid waste. Landfills are the nation largest source of methanea greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and is emitted during the decomposition of organic waste such as food.
“Preventing food from going to waste is one of the simplest and most powerful steps you can take to save money and reduce your climate footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving natural resources,” said EPA spokesman Robert Daguillard.