The most anticipated meal for many is right around the corner … Thanksgiving. For those who are trying to cut back on their food waste, the holiday’s can be an anxiety-riddled time of year. In fact, the average American citizen throws out roughly 20 pounds of food per month. And around the holidays, food waste becomes even more prominent of an issue.

That’s why the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Save the Food‘s public service campaign launched the “Guest-imator,” a new digital calculator, designed to eliminate unnecessary over-purchasing. To use it, you plug in the number of guests, select the type of dishes you plan to prepare, as well as the number of leftover meals desired and the “Guest-imator” calculates the amount of food you should prepare.


“Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, yet it’s often unintentionally wasteful as well. Hosts can have the best intentions, but planning a meal for a large group is still tricky,” NRDC senior scientist Dana Gunders said in a press release

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in 2016, six million turkeys ended up in the trash. All of those discarded turkeys required an estimated 100 billion gallons of water (enough to supply New York City for 100 days) to produce. Not only that, but all of those wasted turkeys produce the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving a car across the country 800,000 times.

If you’re interested in using the “Guest-imator” this holiday season, visit Save The Food’s website. Of course, to further reduce your food waste, as well as the impact on the planet, eating a plant-based Thanksgiving is not only kind to animals but can reduce your food waste significantly, since everything can be easily composted.

It’s certainly time we talk about the problem of food waste and not just around the holidays. Food waste is actually the second largest component of our waste stream, just behind paper, and encompasses 18 percent of the material handled by our waste management system every year. As food waste decays in a landfill, methane gas is released in the process. The methane escapes and enters the atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas.


If food waste wasn’t bad enough, the production of food is also wrecking havoc on the planet. Our current global food system is pushing the planet to its absolute limit and as it stands, we are running out of land and water to provide for the massive livestock system. With the animal agriculture industry being responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined, we need to start taking a look at our food choices and act now to save the planet. By simply choosing more plant-based foods – like in the case of a mostly (or completely) plant-based Thanksgiving – you can dramatically reduce your personal footprint on the environment. (Want to see just how many acres of forest, gallons of water, greenhouse gas emissions and animals you can save by choosing veggies over meat and dairy – check out this cool app.) To learn more about the impact of your food choices and how you can start healing the plant, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

Image Source: Save the Food