Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, family gatherings, and of course, plenty of delicious food. However, it’s also a time when a significant amount of food goes to waste. In fact, food is the number one item that Americans throw away every year. This Thanksgiving, let’s make an effort to reduce food waste and make a positive impact in our communities.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) is leading the Don’t Waste Food SC education campaign, aimed at diverting food waste away from landfills and towards those who need it most – food-insecure families. DHEC, in collaboration with the S.C. Department of Commerce and ambassadors from across the state, is encouraging South Carolinians to play their part in tackling this issue.
Instead of letting leftovers go to waste, consider donating extra, unneeded food to a local food pantry. The simple act of sharing can make a world of difference for the one in ten South Carolinians, including over 140,000 children, who face hunger. To find food donation programs in your community, visit the Don’t Waste Food SC webpage.
Here are some other effective ways to cut back on food waste during the Thanksgiving holiday:
1. Meal planning: Plan your meals and buy only the amount of ingredients you need for each dish. This simple step can help minimize food waste significantly.
2. Do a head count: Knowing how many people to prepare food for can prevent over-preparation and reduce the amount of leftovers that may go uneaten.
3. Reusable containers for leftovers: Opt for reusable containers instead of single-use materials like plastic wrap. Sending leftovers home with your guests helps prevent food waste and unnecessary spoilage.
4. Composting: If you cannot donate or reuse your leftovers, consider composting them. Composting food waste can improve soil health, conserve water, support native plants, and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
In addition to reducing food waste, it’s important to handle food properly to prevent foodborne illnesses. Remember these essential tips:
– Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat.
– Cook your turkey to a safe internal temperature of 165°F.
– Avoid putting a frozen turkey in a deep fryer.
– Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or colder within two hours of serving.
Let’s make this Thanksgiving a time of gratitude not just for what we have, but for what we can give to others. By reducing food waste and practicing proper food handling techniques, we can make a positive impact on both our environment and the lives of those in need.
Q: What is the Don’t Waste Food SC education campaign?
A: The Don’t Waste Food SC education campaign aims to divert food waste away from landfills and towards food-insecure families in South Carolina.
Q: How can I donate extra food?
A: To find food donation programs in your community, visit the Don’t Waste Food SC webpage.
Q: How can I reduce food waste during Thanksgiving?
A: Some effective strategies include meal planning, doing a head count to determine the amount of food needed, using reusable containers for leftovers, and considering composting for any food waste.
Q: How can I handle food properly to prevent foodborne illnesses?
A: Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, cook meat to the recommended internal temperature, and refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving.
Q: How can I properly dispose of cooking oil?
A: It is best to recycle cooking oil. Check scdhec.gov/recycleheresc for a list of local oil recycling drop-off sites.