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A Zero-Waste Thanksgiving with Kathryn Kellogg


It has been estimated that $277 million worth of uneaten food will be prepared this Thanksgiving. All that butter, hard work, and more butter – just tossed out!

We know that many of you will be smashing your leftovers between two slices of bread before hitting the trail on Black Friday (#OptOutside). And although that turkey, gravy, green bean casserole, and macaroni sandwich is a delicious way to fight food waste on the day after Thanksgiving, it might be less tempting the 5th time around. So, we wanted to give you some tips on having a little less waste this year.

We spoke with Kathryn Kellogg, from the blog Going Zero Waste, to get some expert advice on how to have a waste-free Thanksgiving.


So Kathryn, where does a zero-waste Thanksgiving start?

For me, it always starts at the farmer’s market! I think there’s a huge misconception that shopping at the farmers market is more expensive. I bought 95% of all of my thanksgiving meal at the farmers market for $25.

How can you minimize waste while grocery shopping for thanksgiving?

I always come prepared with my own produce bags or own containers. If you’re throwing a really big spread for a party head on down to the local grocery shop with your own containers. I love to make charcuterie boards for parties. You can make a huge one that will satisfy a vegan, veggie, and omnivore. I buy cheese and meats in my own container from the deli. I stock up on nuts and legumes in my own bags from the bulk bins. I make a big batch of hummus and black bean dip. I fill up on olives from the salad bar in my own container, and then I build a gorgeous crudite from all of that farmers market goodness!

Do you have any tips on estimating how much food you need to make to keep your guests full?

I am from the South and having someone leave your house hungry is a mortal sin. I ALWAYS over purchase food, and then wind up with a ton of leftovers. I’ve started pretending like 20% of my party isn’t coming. So, lets say I have a dinner party for 10 people. I buy like I’m cooking for 8. (I still wind up with leftovers, but not as much.)

What can you do with all of the leftover scraps from your big meal?

I still buy things in glass jars. I can’t buy everything in bulk all the time. My nearest bulk store with a decent selection (beyond nuts, chocolate, and granola) is about an hour and a half away. I save the glass jars from those products to prepare for people coming over to parties to send home with them! 

I also love to make vegetable stock out of scraps. You can get my guide on how to do that here:

How can you avoid food waste in your everyday life?

My biggest tip is to make sure you’re storing your food correctly. Store your food in clear containers. I like glass snapware and mason jars. You can clearly see what’s leftover so it gets eaten. Also make sure you’re storing your produce properly. You can get my full guide for that here:


As edible upcyclers, we strive to fight food waste. Join us by making a difference where it matters most – with the people you love. We encourage you to be a food waste ambassador this holiday season, and start the conversation around your Thanksgiving table.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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