Reduce Your Food Waste This Holiday Season

Holiday table with food

Did you know an average American throws away a pound of food daily? 1 On top of that, Americans generate 43% more household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, 53% of which is food waste.2

Read more about holiday food waste impacts at the ReFed site.

To bring you tips on how to reduce your food waste this holiday season, we compiled a few tips to help your household have a happy and low-waste holiday season.

1. Strategically plan your meals to save time and fuel from taking extra trips to the grocery store. Plan to use your leftovers for lunch later in the week or to be frozen for use in a few weeks. When planning, consider buying in bulk, but only if the food is something you will actually use or can safely store for future use.  Store any unused food in clear, labeled containers to eliminate accidental waste in the future.

2. Traditionally, holiday meals are bountiful. This year, save energy and food by making smaller servings of the dishes that are most perishable – produce and dairy. To reduce the amount of unwanted food left on guests’ plates, encourage loved ones to serve themselves smaller first servings, then come back for a second serving if they will eat more.

3. For your next party, ask your guests to bring reusable containers and send them home with leftovers. You may also want to share your leftovers with a neighbor who might enjoy a home-cooked meal.

4. Did you know that 40 percent of San Diego’s landfill consists of organic material? Make a difference and start composting at home. Composting is our way of mimicking and optimizing the natural decomposition process while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfilled food waste.

5. Reduce food waste in San Diego by getting involved. Solana Center offers free workshops and volunteer opportunities throughout the county and welcomes visitors to stop by on Tuesdays and Thursdays to purchase subsidized compost bins, composting tools and supplies from our store. You can also check out the demonstration garden, worm bins, rain barrels, and recycle tricky items such as electronics, lightbulbs, batteries, and plastic bags.

6. Finally, if you have too much food – donate! You can bring food such as unopened, shelf-stable and non-cooked, perishable food items to your local food bank such as a Feeding America distribution center. For recommendations on what you can donate, the U.S. EPA published a Food Recovery Hierarchy with helpful information. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Feeding San Diego team at 858.452.3663 or

Thank you for reducing food waste this holiday season and all year long! Please contact our team with any questions.

  1. Troitino, Christina. “Americans Waste About A Pound Of Food A Day, USDA Study Finds.” Forbes. 2018.
  2. Melore, Chris. “STUDY: Americans amass nearly 30 pounds of extra trash during holiday weeks.” ABC News 10. 2021.