Uneaten holiday leftovers equals money in the trash, wasted opportunity to help fight climate change

Meat, dairy have the biggest climate impact

ByGinger Zee KFSN logo
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Uneaten holiday leftovers equals money in the trash, wasted opportunity to help fight climate change
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Save money while fighting climate change this holiday season by prepping ahead and eating all your leftovers.

For many Americans the holidays represent a season of plenty, with big meals for friends and family and lots of extra treats. But this time of year also come with a lot of uneaten leftovers which is both money in thet rash and a wasted opportunity to help fight climate change.

ReFED is a national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the U.S. food system by advancing data-driven solutions.

During the holiday season, ReFED found about $400 billion worth of food goes unsold or uneaten. That represents $1,800 per household of four.

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"Across the country about 35% of all our food goes unsold or uneaten," said Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED.

According to ReFED, 14% of food produced around the world is wasted before it is harvested and another 17% is thrown out after it reaches stores and the U.S. This amount could feed 1.26 billion people a year and generates 8 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

"When food goes into the landfill it produces methane when it rots, and that is a powerful greenhouse gas. All of the resources it takes to grow, cool, cook, store, transport your food, have a climate footprint, a large one," said Gunders.

While produce and leftovers are the most tossed items, Gunders said meat and dairy products have the biggest climate impact.

But as the New Year approaches, experts say there are some simple tips to keep in mind to reduce food waste.

Freezing more food, planning meals in advance and storing produce properly can all help reduce the amount of food that is thrown away.