November 15, 2022

As Thanksgiving approaches, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) is encouraging families to reduce food waste by offering tools for planning ahead and repurposing leftovers.

“An inordinate amount of food is wasted around the Thanksgiving holiday — some 200 million pounds of turkey, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes and 30 million pounds of stuffing will end up in trash cans across the nation,” said Joe Lombardi, SWACO’s Executive Director. “With a little preparation and planning, this waste can be drastically reduced.”

In Central Ohio, food waste accounts for the single largest source of landfill material (by weight) and is equivalent to residents and businesses throwing away nearly one million pounds of food daily.

“When the food from our dinner plates is wasted, so are all of the resources that went into producing it and the thousands of dollars that families spend to purchase food that is thrown away,” continued Lombardi.

SWACO’s Save More Than Food website offers tips for Central Ohioans this holiday season to help them prevent food waste, saving money and protecting the environment:

  • Plan your meal with the Guestimator, a dinner party calculator that estimates how much food you need to keep your guests full and happy.
  • Store food properly with the Storage Guide. Learn how to properly store food so it remains fresh for as long as possible.
  • Reimagine holiday leftovers with Organic Valley Recipes featuring tips and creative recipes for making holiday leftovers into new dishes.
  • Donate leftovers to food rescue organizations like Food Rescue US – Columbus who brings together grocers, restaurants and other food donors with soup kitchens and shelters to create access to healthy, edible food for food insecure residents.

“Our Save More Than Food website offers a ‘Holiday Hub’ which provides our residents with simple ideas to reduce food waste throughout the holidays,” said Lombardi. “Our research shows that Central Ohioans are very concerned about food waste. By simply tweaking a few things in our routines, we can all work together to make powerful progress in lessening food waste in our homes this holiday season as well as all year long.”

Overall, the Save More Than Food campaign is working towards a goal to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. In one of its pilot program communities where food waste drop-off sites and educational outreach has been shared and waste generation monitored, there has been a 20% reduction in household food waste.

Residents and businesses can visit for information to help reduce food waste on Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

About Save More Than Food:

Save More Than Food was developed in 2019, following several months of collaboration among more than 100 partners in the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative collective. Initiative members created the Central Ohio Food Waste Action Plan which includes 20 solutions for reducing food waste, including the creation of a consumer action and education campaign. The Plan also established a goal to cut the amount of food waste being created in Central Ohio by 50% by 2030.

About SWACO:

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) serves Franklin County and neighboring areas with solutions for solid waste. We are one of 52 solid waste districts created by the Ohio General Assembly in 1989. These districts were established with the mission of reducing reliance on landfills. Acting upon that mission, SWACO provides consumers with recycling and waste diversion opportunities throughout Franklin County.