Skip to content

Minimizing Your Food Waste This Holiday Season

As the holidays are fully in season, family gatherings and community events are centered around good company and good food.

Patti Toews is a provider of sustainability and waste management solutions for our local and state government clients. She focuses on new and existing regulatory challenges and issues. The State of Washington is leading the charge to reduce the use of single-use plastics by implementing the 2021 Plastic Laws. On June 1, Washington State began enforcing the ban on packing peanuts made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), better known by its trademarked name Styrofoam™, from sale and/or distribution.THIS WEEK’S CONTRIBUTOR:
Patti Toews, Sustainability and Waste Minimization Business Leader
APTIM | Environment and Sustainability
Patti Toews is a provider of sustainability and waste management solutions for APTIM’s local and state government clients. She focuses on new and existing regulatory challenges and issues. Learn more about Patti here.



Minimizing Your Food Waste This Holiday Season

Across this great nation, we grapple with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and an exponential food waste crisis, which becomes especially evident around this time of year. However, by cutting food waste from the holidays (and year-round), we can support healthy practices to address poverty and hunger while also reducing and/or removing GHG emissions.

What is the Big Deal?

Downstream Impacts. According to the United Nations, 1.3 billon tons of food is lost or wasted globally each year. This equates to one-third of all food produced for human consumption, with a staggering 45 percent of all waste being fruits and vegetables.

Upstream Impacts. We now know that food packaging contributes to roughly 5.4 percent of the global food-system emissions, more than any other supply-chain factor, including transporting food. Although, these upstream emissions are often left out of the equation this addition makes food waste even more detrimental than once thought.

What Can You Do to Help?

The solution to food waste in America is plain and simple: minimize upstream packaging and downstream food waste, paying particular attention to its negative social and climatic impacts. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take as an individual to make a difference.

Consumer waste is often caused by poor purchasing and meal planning, excess buying (influenced by large portioning and package sizes), confusion over labels (e.g., “best before” and “use by”), and poor in-home storing practices. Here are eight solutions you can implement in your home to make the holidays a little less wasteful.

  1. Ask for smaller portions. Start small. You can always go back for more if you are still hungry.
  2. Love your leftovers. Repurpose everything for tomorrow’s meal (and maybe a few meals after that). Food often tastes even better the next day!
  3. Shop smart. Like hibernators, we often buy more than we can eat this time of year. Plan ahead, make a list, and never shop on an empty stomach!
  4. Buy “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Many stores now offer “ugly” fruits and vegetable sections, so be sure to shop those bins first.
  5. Practices FIFO: First in, first out! Rotate, rotate, rotate. Food that can be stored the longest should be placed toward the back of the refrigerator and food with a shorter storage life up front.
  6. Understand the dates on your food. “Use by” and “best before” should not be confused with “throw away instantly.” Plan to use your ingredients sooner rather than later, but try to avoid just tossing items on the specified date.
  7. Donate. If you cannot eat it and it is still edible, donate it. Peruse the internet for food donation options in your community.
  8. Divert it. At all costs, divert organics from your landfill bin and into a composting system, whether that is in your backyard compost, local community garden, or formal composting program.

What Can APTIM Do to Help?

Remember, it is better to be part of the solution instead of adding to pollution.

If you are a business handling food and/or food waste, we are here to help you. Whether you are looking to diversion for regulatory compliance (e.g., Senate Bill 1383) or simply to do your part for the planet, APTIM’s Waste Minimization team has you covered.

APTIM. In Pursuit of Better.

Connect with APTIM

Learn more about our full suite of sustainability and waste minimization solutions.

    Subscribe to the APTIM Xchange Newsletter

    APTIM's newsletter, The APTIM Xchange, provides industry news flashes, regulatory updates, service spotlights, and topical columns from our subject matter experts.